Rust is a multiplayer-only survival video game developed and published by Facepunch Studios for Microsoft Windows and macOS. First released through Steam Early Access in 2013, the game saw a full release on February 8, 2018. During the course of its five year development, the game saw several major changes to the core gameplay and other elements, notably being ported to the Unity 5 engine to improve the graphics. Rust was initially created as a clone of DayZ, a popular mod for ARMA 2, with crafting elements akin to those in Minecraft.
The objective of Rust is to survive in the wilderness using gathered or stolen materials. Players must successfully manage their hunger, thirst, and health, or risk dying. Despite the looming threat of dangerous wildlife (initially zombies), the primary menace is other players due to the game being solely multiplayer. Combat is accomplished through firearms and primitive weapons, such as bows. In addition, vehicles controlled by non-player characters will occasionally roam, attacking heavily-armed players. These can be defeated with persistence. Rust features crafting, which was fundamentally modified throughout development, which is initially limited until the discovery of specific items in the game’s open world. To stay protected, players must build bases or join clans to improve their chance of survival. Raiding is a major aspect of Rust and is done more frequently by large clans. The game also includes predetermined, immutable character traits, including skin color and biological sex, which are permanently tied to players’ Steam account.
Rust received mixed reviews from critics in both early access and on release. Praise was directed towards the core gameplay, concept, player vs player combat, and survival aspects, while criticism was directed towards its steep learning curve and harsh beginner experience. Following its departure from early access, Facepunch continued to iterate upon the game, adding new materials and gameplay elements. By 2017, the game had amassed over five million players.