Rust Fans Angry Over Dev's New Project; Dev Says Rust Continuing as Planned
Gamers angry at Facepunch for announcing new game before Rust is finished, but founder says, "Should HBO make one TV show at a time?"
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Rust developer Facepunch Studios announced a new project last week, the twin-stick shooter Riftlight. Some fans immediately rallied against this announcement, expressing their anger over the fact that the studio--founded by Garry Newman--is working on a new title before Rust is even finished. Now, Newman has responded, writing a blog post today explaining that it's not out of the ordinary for a studio--even a small studio like Facepunch--to have multiple games in development simultaneously. He also makes it clear that development on Rust is continuing.
"Are we crazy? Are we doing it wrong? Should every person in the company be working on the same thing?" Newman said. "Should HBO make one TV show at a time? Should Warner Brothers make one movie at a time?"
"I think a good company develops continually, and the more things we're working on the better. I think this strategy is working out for us so far" -- Garry Newman
Newman went on to say Riftlight is not the only new game Facepunch has in development alongside Rust. The studio is also working on three other prototypes, he said. "And guess what, we haven't finished Rust, and we haven't finished Riftlight, and we haven't finished those three other prototypes," he said. "And we want to hire more programmers to start even more prototypes."
He also pointed out that Facepunch is not launching a Kickstarter for Riftlight or the studio's other in-development prototypes. All of the funds for production and hiring are coming from the studio's own coffers. "We are spending money [from] Rust and Garry's Mod to do this. Arguing that we should be re-investing that money back into only those games is like telling apple they can't spend the money they made from iPhone and Macs to fund the development of the iPad," Newman said. "Keep in mind that we spent money Garry's Mod made to develop Rust--and that turned out pretty good, right?"
"I think a good company develops continually, and the more things we're working on the better," he added. "I think this strategy is working out for us so far."
Newman also took a moment to clear up some misconceptions about Rust. He said it's not true that Facepunch has abandoned the game. The game is getting updates "very regularly," he said, going to on note that Facepunch even created a special Twitter account to keep people in the loop. "I fully accept that this is our fault for not communicating the experimental branch properly, but it hurts when we're working all week on it and people don't acknowledge that," he said.
He also addressed the issue of funding for Rust, which is available for $20 as an unfinished game through Steam Early Access. He said some people have claimed that they "funded" Rust and now Facepunch is running away with that money to work on new projects. But it's not true.
"We funded Rust for 1-2 years before it eventually became what it is. You bought early access to it," he said. "When you buy a pizza you aren't funding Domino's, you're just buying a pizza. It's true that the sales of Rust have been insane and we have stepped up development to suit, and I think you only have to compare the experimental version to the live version to see that."
Another piece of the puzzle that Newman hopes people will understand is that the developers working on Rust right now are not working on Facepunch's other various prototypes. "That should be very obvious by the dev-blogs we post every Friday," Newman said.
Finally, Newman said community anger about Facepunch working on multiple games at once is a result of the developer's decision to be transparent about how it operates. He estimates that many other studios--big and small--are working on more than one game at a time, even if they don't tell you. "I am guessing that a lot of game developers bigger and smaller than us have multiple prototypes in the works, but they aren't showing them to you," Newman said. "The only thing that makes our situation remarkable is that we're willing to talk about our process and show our experiments."
Megapublisher Electronic Arts is taking a similar approach. The company announced recently that, in an effort to become more "player-first," the studio will reveal--and in some cases make playable through betas--new games earlier in the development process.