Rust Adds Female Model, Randomly Assigned To Players

The nude murderisland of Rust [official site] has welcomed women to its bloody shores, adding a female player model in last week’s update. Yes, they too are beautiful slapheads. It’s not a choice, mind. As Rust did before with penis length and race, each player’s in-game sex is decided randomly – and permanently. Some players are not too thrilled with this, but developers Facepunch say they won’t make it optional. Part of their plan to make individual players recognisable, see.

Female model has been coming since last year, so Facepunch have thought about this a fair bit. They said in last week’s dev update:

“We understand this is a sore subject for a lot of people. We understand that you may now be a gender that you don’t identify with in real-life. We understand this causes you distress and makes you not want to play the game anymore. Technically nothing has changed, since half the population was already living with those feelings. The only difference is that whether you feel like this is now decided by your SteamID instead of your real life gender.”

Today, Eurogamer got Facepunch head honch Garry Newman in a headlock and ground their knuckles into his scalp until he answered their questions. He explained, between swatting at their arm, that they wanted to have players be recognisable in a way that “would be consistent and follow them around permanently” but didn’t want to obsess over character customisation or add something clunky like hovering names.

People being recognisable seems important and nice in a persistent online world, especially a post-apocalyptic island where someone might murder you for your t-shirt.

“We landed on randomising player’s appearance and locking them to it, then working on a bunch of different heads and customisation attributes that would make players more and more unique,” Newman told EG. “We’re still fighting our way towards that,” he added, “but that’s why it is like it is.”

The system’s set up to give a 50/50 split of men and women across players, and players have no say in it. Attributes are decided for a player based on a player’s Steam ID, an immutable number tied to their account – it’s a handy seed.

“You are who you are. Before we added different races and genders you played as a bald white guy – you never had a choice. So we’re not taking a choice away from the player, we’re just adding more variety to the player models.”

It sounds like a future Channel 5 reality TV show to me. Chris Eubank, H From Steps (that is his legal name), Vanessa Feltz, Fearne Cotton, Frankie Dettori, Jade Thirlwall, Tila Tequila, and George Galloway have their DNA scrambled and their bodies randomly reshaped. How will they find life in their new bodies? And who will be first to smash another contestant’s head in with a rock?

[Disclosure: Facepunch blogsmith Craig Pearson used to be a frequent guest in the RPS treehouse writing room, until he decided SOMEONE had a better stationery cupboard.]

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114 Comments

  1. bduddy says:

    We understand that you may now be a gender that you don’t identify with in real-life.

    And before…?

    • Tiax says:

      Read the next sentence maybe?

      • bduddy says:

        Wow, I read that block like 3 times and somehow my eyes just ignored it every time. I feel stupid now.

      • cpy says:

        Are they trying to say that rust player base is 50/50 men/women?

    • Yglorba says:

      Oh! *forehead-slap*

      I misunderstood the sentence after that. That’s what they meant by “Technically nothing has changed, since half the population was already living with those feelings.”

    • Metalfish says:

      I read an interesting (and entirely civilised and respectful on both side) chat on twitter earlier between the creator and someone who passionately felt that this design choice was negative towards transgender people as it reinforced a born-like-this-deal-with-it view of gender.

      I think my own knee-jerk thought processes about this are less interesting than the absence of a compromise that wouldn’t destroy the original intentions behind the design.

      • MrFinnishDude says:

        That is just a thinly weiled assault by some pissy manchild. On the internet if you want to attack something you must invent controversy, it has nothing to do with actual trans rights.

        • Phasma Felis says:

          I try to give people who have been subject to real abuse some leeway for being sensitive about that. E.G., I might laugh at some jokes about rape, but I’m not going to tell an actual rape victim that they need to lighten up and agree that it’s funny, because that would make me an asshole.

          I think there should definitely be a place in gaming for people to choose the body that suits them best. And there is. Lots of games do that. So I don’t have a problem with Rust choosing to offer a disempowerment fantasy, instead–variety is the spice of life!

          But I do think it was very classy of the dev to be civil to a person who has really bad associations with that sort of thing. I’m glad they were both able to have a civil discussion.

        • Premium User Badge

          Oakreef says:

          I think there’s a bit of both – actual trans people not liking this too much and petulant arses co-opting trans people’s grievances to give an air of authenticity to their own outrage.

      • FurryLippedSquid says:

        “someone who passionately felt that this design choice was negative towards transgender people as it reinforced a born-like-this-deal-with-it view of gender”

        Yup. It’s also offensive to people who hate persistence, the human form, and Rust.

        *sigh*

        • batraz says:

          Guess I could enjoy being a transgender rabbit in this game.. No offence, rabbits.

      • LennyLeonardo says:

        Seems like maybe they could include an extremely ‘expensive’ crafting recipe that lets you switch. That way some dumb guy might spend a huge amount of time and resources trying to get back to his ‘correct’ sex, and possibly maybe he might gain some understanding of folks who go through all that for real.

      • Amake says:

        Well, there are massive amounts of games where you can be any shape, age, race or gender you want; I think there is room in the world for one where you can’t.

      • mishagale says:

        Maybe in a future update, Rust players will be able to craft crude flint scalpels and perform gender reassignment surgery on themselves.

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  2. Yglorba says:

    > We understand that you may now be a gender that you don’t identify with in real-life. We understand this causes you distress and makes you not want to play the game anymore. Technically nothing has changed, since half the population was already living with those feelings.

    Not half the population, surely?

    (I get what they meant to say there, but their wording seems to have gotten confused between “roughly half the population is female” and “gender dysphoria is a thing people grapple with in real life.” Both of these are true, but somehow they got mashed up into a wording that implies that half the population suffers from gender dysphoria!)

    • Yglorba says:

      …damn the lack of an edit button! Right after I posted that I saw the post above mine and understood what they meant. Half the population had that feeling playing the previous all-male game.

      • pepperfez says:

        I didn’t understand it even after the above thread, so thank you for spelling it out in even smaller words.

      • thenevernow says:

        I doubt half of Rust’s players are female. In any case, why should a game’s character match the player? I don’t identify in Ezio Auditore any more than I do in Lara Croft. Can you only watch and enjoy Pulp Fiction if you’re either a killer or a failed boxer?

        • Jason Moyer says:

          I identify with Pulp Fiction because I solve problems.

          • Dominare says:

            I identify with Pulp Fiction because the day that I bring an OD-ing bitch over to your house, then I give her the shot.

          • king0zymandias says:

            I identify with pulp fiction because I have a gimp in my basement.

          • Aerothorn says:

            I identify with Pulp Fiction because I store a watch in my anus.

          • Blastaz says:

            I identify with pulp fiction because it’s how I first pulled my wife.

          • Shiloh says:

            I identify with Pulp Fiction because Royale with cheese.

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            Dorga says:

            I pulp with fiction because I identify.

          • Unruly says:

            I identify with Pulp Fiction because Zed’s dead, baby. Zed’s dead.

        • Premium User Badge

          gritz says:

          “I doubt half of Rust’s players are female.”

          Congratulations, you discovered the point!

        • Yglorba says:

          They said “half the population”, so my reading is that they’re describing how the entire population of Earth would react to Rust if they looked at it. It is perhaps a slightly optimistic view of their potential player base, but they’re the ones who decide what audience they’re shooting for, after all.

  3. mrx says:

    your player gender isn’t random, its based on your steam ID, its just the way your player looks is random.

    Which imo is a cool thing, not everyone looks the same. not everyone is pretty or super wierd looking, it adds a cool element to the game.

    • Arkayjiya says:

      It is random. Random doesn’t necessarily mean non-deterministic.

      • 65 says:

        That’s exactly what randomness means. You’re looking for pseudorandomness.

        • Premium User Badge

          Godwhacker says:

          Surely that depends on whether the Steam ID itself is random

        • yusefsmith says:

          Random in vidya games and academia mean different things.

          It is absolutely correct to call this random.

        • Kitsunin says:

          Almost everything is pseudorandom, you’re being obtuse. It’s random enough that we can’t guess what we’ll get, and unless you’re a scientist, that’s more than enough to qualify as random.

    • Phasma Felis says:

      Gender and appearance are both randomly generated from a seed based on your Steam ID.

      • blchicken says:

        When you first create your Steam account you’re assigned a unique identifier that will always be attached to your account. From what I can gather Rust uses this Steam ID when generating your character. Randomly. Rust then associates the all the characteristics of your new avatar with that Steam ID as a Seed.

        In other words. When some else makes a new character the exact combination of characteristics for another avatar can never be repeated. This garantees that all avatars are utterly unique.

        At least. That’s my understanding of it.

  4. thenevernow says:

    I like RPS partly because it’s… unamerican. Why the pixelization? Just put it on Page Three! :P

    • Waltorious says:

      Alice’s alt-text on the image clarifies that she did not put the blurring in there, it was in the source image (and maybe in the in-game footage itself?).

  5. MultiVaC says:

    Should be fun. I ended up being switched, which is actually sort of cool, I think I might have been kind of disappointed if after all of the controversy I was still just the same white guy. It makes it a feel a little weirder that everyone is bald, though…

  6. Zankman says:

    I like it; As he said, the choice was never there in the first place.

    Now, there is more variety and uniqueness.

  7. MrFinnishDude says:

    I love how they handled that. I really genuinely do.
    They knew that a lot of players would get pissy about the changes, they knew they would cry out “Im a guy and I dont want to play as a girl not fair!”, they knew all that.
    So they just pointed out that girls had been forced to play guys the entire time, so shut up you big entitled manchildren.
    That makes me so happy oh my god.

    • mechanixis says:

      Yeah, seriously. I’ve never played Rust, but I kind of love how the devs have basically made a game that caters to assholes, herded in a big audience of them, and then sucker-punched them with teachable moments on race/gender representation and dysphoria.

      I know the lesson will fall on deaf ears for most players, but the devs’ confidence in this decision is really heartwarming.

    • Smoky_the_Bear says:

      It makes me laugh that this is the EXACT same argument the gaming feminists have used for years, that they can’t enjoy games when playing as a man because they can’t relate to the characters. When the genders are reversed though apparently it’s just “whining man children not getting their own way.hypocrisy much?

      • Premium User Badge

        keefybabe says:

        Yes, that’s exactly what it is…. It’s not in any way a, “see, look what we’ve had to eat for ages, now shut up and eat your gruel like we’ve had to for the last numerous decades”.

        It’s totally that it’s hypocrisy.

        No, you’re right….

        Really..

      • MrFinnishDude says:

        Oh curse those damn “gaming feminists™” and “SJWs™” and goddamn liberals™! They are behind everything!™

        No, but seriously. This has nothing to do with it. Developers of Rust wanted that some of the virtual people in their game would also be female. Players get pissy because something is changed, and then argue that this is bad, because it sexist, because now some men couldnt be men in the game.

        So, obviously the inclusion of females is against gender equality? As opposed to the complete exclusion?

        Doesnt make a lot of sense now does it? The devs just pointed out that all women who played rust had been forced to be men. And some men and women will still be forced to play the opposite sex because you never had any say what your character is anyway.
        So the argument was not really a sensible argument towards gender equality. Beacause A, demanding exclusion of women is not gender equality. And B, there never was any problem in the first place. It was all just angry players lashing out because something changed.

      • xalcupa says:

        Well, as a female gamer I want to play most my games as a male character preferably with a semi-attractive backside as it is this you are looking at 90% of the game. Looking at games such as Skyrim and certain MMOs where the majority of gamers (male?) enjoy voluptuous female player characters I am a bit surprised that there is even an outrage that there is a naked female player option in Rust.

    • Distec says:

      Simpler, realistic explanation: Gary Newman has never given fucks and is pursuing a controversial feature to further the game’s design goals. Not, y’know, schooling the “bros” on heteronormative privilege or whatever social/demographic ill is being complained about today.

      It’s irritating seeing choices like this discussed in terms of entitlement. It seems few people were expressing that males should be the only playable option in Rust. A lot of the teeth gnashing over this is likely due to the ingrained expectation that you can customize one’s character in online games, and it was believed that eventually people will be able to choose their gender and appearance – that this whole random appearance thing was a joke that would pass.

      Now, were these people wrong to have such expectations given Rust’s development and Gary’s statements? Oh, sure. To be fair to them, I’d bet a lot of its players aren’t sure if they’re being trolled half the time. Remember, this is a game that had zombies in it before being abruptly removed and never seen again. Point is, I would not be surprised if there’s still a small subset of players who think they’re coming back.

      There are very normal, mundane, boring reasons far removed from prejudicial or privileged thinking as to why things like this might rub somebody wrong the way. But of course, there’s a regular cadre of goofs who want to turn stuff like this into some social justice pissing match with opponents all too happy to oblige. These people might as well be walking around with a Buzzfeed headline tattooed to their heads saying shit like “WATCH THIS CLIP WHERE GARY NEWMAN PERFECTLY SHREDS GAMEBRO PRIVILEGE” when these occurrences arise.

      • MrFinnishDude says:

        I seem to have been misunderstood.
        I was implying that these complainers were “big entitled manchildren” because they were getting all up in arms because game developers just did what developers do.
        And also I was happy because the argument they had made (which was desingned to look as this would be an actual issue to make the developers look bad) was demolished by the developers with simple logic to begin with. Exposing that attempt at scandal as just people being whiny.

  8. Arkayjiya says:

    I have no problem with that. Most game set you up on a specific protagonist anyway, and no one complains about that. And like you can refuse to buy a game if the protagonist isn’t compelling to you or you don’t think you can relate, you can refuse to buy this game if the gender/appearance of the protagonist is important to you.

    • GepardenK says:

      I very much doubt anyone has a problem with that. Nobody complained when DayZ randomly assigned you a gender either. Outside of people who unrelated to gender just want more customisation options in their open-world game I think the only complaints you will find is from trolls who enjoy stirring up a controversey or people grabbing for points in a precieved gender war.

  9. gwathdring says:

    I think they’ve handled this rather well. They want a variety of characters to populate their world but wanted to avoid the headaches of player customization and the weird imbalances that creates based on audience preferences (things like men seemingly being more likely to gender-bend in MMOs than women, etc). They’re also slowly adding things to the game–people get attached to what their avatar looks like, so the tendency is going to be to not use the new tools except for new characters even if we set aside the annoyance of baking in an entire customization process.

    So they developed a method for continuing to expand the variety of characters in the game world retroactively. The downside is, of course, people get attached to how their characters look at this way, characters will change over time.

    Hopefully they’ll reach a point where they decide the original character pool is close enough that any further diversity can be locked in for users who start playing after a certain date. Otherwise, a nice approach to kick-start diverse appearances now becomes counter to the “people are recognizable” goal in the long run, even though in general the more diversity they can add to player models, the better that goal is served in general.

  10. OmNomNom says:

    I hope I randomly get breasts AND a penis. Otherwise I can’t identify.

  11. aozgolo says:

    *Logs into Rust hoping to see some big ass-tit-ays on my character*

    *sees tiny black wang instead*…

    Damn Murphy’s Law!

    • BobbyDylan says:

      You want to wash wang, or you want to watch wang wash wang?

  12. Flappybat says:

    This is just a news grab that taps into the MRA/Feminism fury to get lots of free PR and it works every time they do it.

  13. brucethemoose says:

    “Technically nothing has changed, since half the population was already living with those feelings. ”

    The Rust population? Based on other statistics I’ve seen, I’m not sure 50% of Rust players are female.

  14. PancakeWizard says:

    I approve of this. It needs to be said that not all games have you playing a character that is a substitute for the player. Rust is clearly one of these. It’s not YOU; It’s a character in a crazy murder-world. A disconnect must be maintained.

    Perhaps we’ll get less people complaining that they don’t ‘identify’ with male/female set protagonists or worse identify with characters they have no business projecting onto and getting offended at that character’s choices/narrative. I doubt it, though.

  15. SaintAn says:

    “Technically nothing has changed, since half the population was already living with those feelings. ”

    Half the population of the world is female. Half the population of gamers or of this game are not. Quit acting like they are.

    • Waltorious says:

      I wonder if the lower numbers of female players had anything to do with them being forced to play as a male character?

    • GWOP says:

      There is a large population of young female “core” gamers that you never hear because of toxic gaming communities.

      link to kotaku.com

      • GWOP says:

        I meant *whom* you never hear because they tend to keep their mics turned off.

        • GWOP says:

          *who

          Sorry, can’t brain today.

          • LennyLeonardo says:

            This is the reason I like the lack of an edit button: it has shown me I’m not the only one that has bad brain days.

          • king0zymandias says:

            “Whom” was correct though, I think.

          • Mr Coot says:

            Yer, I think ‘whom’ is correct too. Substitute ‘a large population of young female “core” gamers’ for ‘them’ = ‘whom’ is appropriate, whereas ‘they’ = ‘who’. Not that I would use ‘them’ in that way unless I was saying the Lord’s Prayer or sumfin.

      • PancakeWizard says:

        You looked at the Kotaku article and didn’t read the statistics themselves, did you? Oh, dear.

        • Smoky_the_Bear says:

          I wouldn’t trust any statistics Kotaku tried to highlight anyway, it would be weighted in some way to emphasize their point and they wouldn’t include any statistics that showed something which didn’t fit their agenda. They just aren’t trustworthy enough to believe tbh.

        • GWOP says:

          I did look at the statistics. What’s your issue with it?

    • ButteringSundays says:

      This is circular reasoning.

      The common ‘gamer’ argument goes:

      1. Women don’t play many games
      2. Therefore games shouldn’t appeal to women

      It doesn’t take much to work out that possibly:

      1. Make more games appeal to women
      2. More women will play games

      They wanted to create a game that appealed to its POTENTIAL audience. And why not?

      • anHorse says:

        I’m sure having a random chance to have a male avatar is really gonna bring the female gamers in

      • PancakeWizard says:

        Oh, you mean spurious logic arguments like this:

        1. Women and men play games on PC, console and mobile.

        2. 60% of women play games.

        3. Therefore 60% of gamers on PC and console must be women!

        • GWOP says:

          On my original post I said “There is a large portion of female “core” gamers”, not half of all gamers are women.

          Learn to read, then try your hand at two-premised arguments.

      • Smoky_the_Bear says:

        In an ideal world, sure. In reality you don’t throw lots of money into a project aimed at an audience that might not exist. You target an EXISTING demographic. Which is exactly what this game did. “hey this DayZ thing is popular, let’s make something like that”.

        • GWOP says:

          I’m sorry to hear that a game including female models is such an affront to your gaming masculinity.

  16. Synesthesia says:

    The way they handled this is nothing short of genius. Good for them. I might actually buy this. I honestly hope it will give some perspective to at least some… Fight Club fans.

    Is hacking stil rampant though? I hope they find a way around that.

    • Premium User Badge

      Ninja Dodo says:

      I hesitate to venture a “not all Fight Club fans”. I remember enjoying the film last I watched it, admittedly a while ago… but this trend of automatically equating liking a particular piece of media with adhering to certain garbage views might be unhelpful in the grand scheme of things.

      I mean, I don’t play this game, but I think this appearance experiment and the devs’ response to complaints is pretty great. Possibly would work better if a game was like that on release, but whatever, still interesting.

      • Synesthesia says:

        Ha! Yeah, I still like the movie. I read a fan theory a while ago that marla is another of tyler’s personalities.

        Still, it was the best euphemism I could conjure up to not summon the Ethicists.

        (pd. Palahniuk is still a shit writer, though.)

        • iainl says:

          Even Fincher has a problem with some fans taking Fight Club way too seriously, and usually in a way that demonstrates they Really Don’t Get It:

          link to variety.com

          “My daughter had a friend named Max. She told me ‘Fight Club’ is his favorite movie,” he said. “I told her never to talk to Max again.”

        • Premium User Badge

          Ninja Dodo says:

          I must admit to having never read the book, but I guess sometimes adaptations improve on the source material.

  17. Moonracer says:

    I like the idea of this mechanic and part of me wants to experience it. Unfortunately I don’t have a strong urge to experience any other part of Rust.

  18. Geewhizbatman says:

    FINALLY! The Maenad simulator I have been begging for has arrived.

  19. racccoon says:

    Wake Up! Garry Newman..Facepunch come’on they both say arrogance tot he tee! and they both have been bloody arrogant pigs since their birth! this game rust has done what it wants, when it wants, and has never given a shit about anyone, but its coffers. Your a complete mug to follow a guy who has a reputation in and out side gaming as a complete pig! who does not care about any one but himself. end of story.

  20. Premium User Badge

    Cvnk says:

    This kind of makes me want to play the game. Unfortunately just about everything else I’ve seen of the game makes me not want to play it.

  21. Tetrode says:

    I think more games should do this. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE a good character creator but I always seem to make the same looking person in every game and I can’t get out of that! It’s nice to have a unique looking character that’s different to everyone else in the game and that you didn’t have to make yourself sometimes. Plus I’m curious as to what monstrosity my steam ID would produce.

  22. Simon_Scott says:

    Damn it. Still a dude.

  23. phelix says:

    This reminds me of being randomly assigned a colour (of your text moniker) in an online group chat.
    In my experience, at worst one or two people get hysterical for a moment when a guy gets pink assigned to him, and then they move on with their life. If only it worked that way in real life.

  24. clive dunn says:

    In the early 80’s we were playing a D&D module where one of our party stepped through a misty archway and his big beefy level 10 fighter got magically gender swapped into a woman. Suffice to say my friend was inconsolable and after much raging went running home crying to his dad who came storming over wanting to know why his son was so upset. This was, of course, a time when role playing games were virtually unknown in the general population so we had to spend half an hour explaining what we were playing and what his sons character had done and how if he hadn’t freaked out so much and just stepped through another archway he had a chance of swapping his gender back.
    William, if you’re out there reading this, I hope you’ve gotten over the trauma.

    • gunny1993 says:

      That’s 10/10 roleplaying an insane person, this is the kind of dedication I demand from my players.

  25. kael13 says:

    Ahh, now this is the good kind of trolling. Never really understood the problem of playing a character of the other gender. If this makes a bunch of people butt-mad, then I’m all for it.

  26. Paladin says:

    So the same people who didn’t want to be a black guy or have a small penis now don’t want to be women? Shocking.

    High five Garry for his marketing skills, though.

    • klops says:

      By the way, are there (m)any other games with different penis sizes? This is the only one I can think of.

      • Premium User Badge

        Qazinsky says:

        Doesn’t Saints Row 3 and/or 4 have a slider for the bulge? I don’t know if you can have your character actually nude, but that’s the only one that came to mind.

        • MrFinnishDude says:

          There is. It’s the sex appeal slider and on the females it determines breast size. On men it does determine the bulge but when you get naked it all gets pixelated.

  27. Jay Load says:

    Kudos to the Devs on this. It’s a mature and sensible scheme well implemented and well communicated.

    I’m not tied to my real life maleness when playing games – I frequently play as women and to be honest couldn’t even tell you why. It would be interesting to try this to see how I’d be ‘born’ into the Rust gameworld.

  28. Carlos Danger says:

    Your betters have decided that choice is overrated. So shut up and get in the back of the bus.

    • Premium User Badge

      gritz says:

      Players actually have the exact same amount choice they had prior to this update.

      • Moogie says:

        By that logic, the game should never get any updates or bugfixes. Just different textures every now and then.

  29. Premium User Badge

    gritz says:

    Between this and the Dragonspear “controversy”, the last few weeks have been really fun to watch and ridicule.

  30. Xzi says:

    Wow, sacrificing game mechanics just to make a point nobody needed made for them. Game was already a hard pass for me anyway, seems to be another samey linear progression survival-builder lacking depth. Prefer the other titles by Facepunch.

  31. Kinrany says:

    Is there a way to look at my character without launching the game?