There has been a bit of a storm brewing around Rust recently. The game has made the change that gender and race would be assigned to an account randomly, with no way to change. This has annoyed a lot of people. The developer has contended it is about identification in game, while groups on both the right and left have said that forcing a player to identify as something they are not is unfair.
Lead developer Garry Newman has penned a letter at The Guardian, explaining his reasoning, while also recognizing concerns. There is lots to parse in there. Essentially he says that they no longer wanted just a white bald man for everyone, but also that “A survivor shouldn’t be able to attack another then come back later with a different gender or race and befriend the same player.”
He did however say he acknowledges the problem this can have for those who vehemently don’t want to play as woman or a certain race, while also recognizes concerns from transgendered players. He said:
It’s maybe understandable why some male gamers wouldn’t want to play as women. They’re just not used to being forced to. You could probably count on your fingers the number of major, big-budget games where you have no choice but to play as a woman, never mind having no choice but to play as a black woman. Female gamers are obviously more forgiving – they’ve been playing games as men for most of their lives.
I understand the arguments from transgender players – well, as much as a straight man can. But it feels to me like the same response stands. We’re assigning gender randomly in game – not in real life.
I’m not sure quite where I land on this one. It’s certainly an extremely bold move by the team, and one that is pretty fascinating at the very least. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter much what anyone says though, it’s their game and they can do what they want I suppose. It’s up to each individual player if they want to stop playing.