The nasty, brutish and (often) short survival game Rust has finally crept out of its early access cave today and is sauntering around firing shotgun shells of joy into the sky and also into bodies of people it doesn’t know and doesn’t trust. That’s a simplistic reduction of a five-year process which has seen this Prometheus of the survival genre go from being a janky axe-flailer to a more polished gunslinger. How can we possibly chart all the small changes that shaped this game’s development? I know! By looking at its patch notes without context.
Alternatively, we could chat to its lead designer, Garry Newman, about the survival genre, battle royale games and how - when you think about - "release day" means nothing, since work on Rust is set to continue even after launch. But I already did all that. So to better illustrate the game's journey to completion, here are some cherry picked patchnote entries running the course of its creation. They are snapshots in time, and the benefit of these incremental changes is unquestionable.
Doors will no longer fly away
Grass looks way better
Fixed being killed by harvesting resources
Fixed players wearing a burlap shirt being unhittable
Corpses hang around for 30 minutes, instead of 2 minutes
Fixed black beenie skin not being black
Added sounds to the corpse fly swarms
Added comfort-giving bear
Better explosion sounds
Pumpkins can no longer be stacked
AI reacts to gun shots
AI eats corpses
Can pick up empty fridge
Slightly darker sky at midnight
AI can no longer ghost through barricades
We’ve been playing Rust for ages. Rich had a punt at its earliest incarnation, while Matt played a later version (he’s also working on our full review now). I once wandered about with its terrible people and Alec also thunk some time into it. If that's not enough, Dan Gril did some philosophising about it too. We've given quite a few words to this naked wanderer. But I suppose when you’ve been flouncing around with your willy out for this long, somebody is going to grab on.
Rust is on Steam for £27.79/€31.99/$34.99.