This Game Is Forcing Some Players to Be Women, And They're Freaking Out

Rust is randomly giving some players female avatars, and a few of them are being dicks about it.

Leif Johnson

Leif Johnson

Image: Rust.

It's been several months since we wrote about how Steam survival hit Rust would soon be implementing a feature that randomly (and permanently) makes your character a man or a woman, and now that feature is here. Players have generally loved the way the game randomizes features for your permanent character like skin color, limb length, and (yes) penis size, but that was all back when every player avatar in the game was a male. With the latest update, though, everyone got a new model, and for some players, the possibility of playing as a woman is a little too much to bear. Take a moment to bask in the agony on Steam and Reddit:

Some, players at least, can address their frustration with a degree of level-headedness, but they seem few and far between.

Others have taken to pointing out a Medium post about game analytics from data tracker Sergey Galyonkin claiming that 95 percent of Steam users are male.

To their credit, Rust developers Garry Newman and Taylor Reynolds have long expected this backlash. They acknowledged as much in their dev blog announcing the change.

"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," they said. "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."

The sad thing is that I'm not even seeing the worst of the outrage comments. By the time I looked into the controversy, the moderators of the Games subreddit addressing the change have been taking down offensive posts by the dozen.

"The reason why we've removed so many comments in this thread is because certain users don't know to have a civil discussion without resorting to threats, harassment and insults," said moderator Foamed. "We've also removed a bunch of totally irrelevant (off-topic) and extremely low effort comments. Mainly racist jokes and comments like 'muh misogyny' or 'inb4 feminazis.'"

As we mentioned before, Newman tried to stave off some of the criticisms by pointing out the oddities of hearing little kids speaking as adult avatars with the game's voice chat.

"A man's voice coming out of a woman's body is no more weird than an 8 year-old boy's voice coming out of a man's body," Newman said.

But even that bit of logic isn't going over very well:

Most of the community seems fine with the change, particularity if one judges it by the silent language of upvotes rather than by typo-riddled, bite-sized rants. Take this post (which itself runs the danger of stepping on some toes):

What's more, when I checked in on it this morning, a full 48,038 people were currently in the game, so there's clearly not a mass exodus to penis-only pastures. A huge chunk of the populace actually appears fine with the change, in fact—they just hate that all the female models currently have no hair for some reason, just like the men.