What Is It About Rust?

Steve Anderson : End Game
Steve Anderson
The Video Store Guy
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What Is It About Rust?

I've been hearing quite a bit about the game known as “Rust” lately, and this little game—which recently started making sales—is actually landing on the market in high style. It's been showing up in webcomics, it's been talked about all over, and a whole lot of people are playing this. So what is it that's driving the interest? It's a question worth asking, especially considering how big the user base is.

“Rust” is, essentially, a kind of refined version of “Minecraft” that has much better graphics and some increased emphasis on multiplayer. That's a very simplistic expression, of course, as there's a lot more than that going on here including the ability to build a variety of tools and weapons, and of course, survive a zombie outbreak, bouts of radiation, and similar matters. The game is currently in Alpha on Steam, and users can get in to build things, fight things, or turn bandit and go after other players. Part survival game, part building game, and part action game, there's a little something here for everybody and that may be a contributing factor of its impressive success.

How impressive a success, you might ask? It's already made sufficient sales to realize 40 percent of the total that the company behind it—Facepunch Studios—has already realized from the nine year sales run of it's previous title: “Garry's Mod.” Yes, you read that right: “Rust” has earned in five weeks nearly half of what “Garry's Mod” made in nine years. Of course, there are some differences between the two titles in terms of price and royalty structure and all like that, but in purest terms, it's still a downright staggering achievement. “Garry's Mod,” after all, was no small feat in gaming, so to see “Rust” do so well is a major thing.

So much as the headline asked, what is the deal? Is it the coverage that the title's had? I've seen this come up on both “Penny Arcade” and “Critical Miss” over at The Escapist, so that's certainly a possibility. Those control some fairly large crowds, and might well have drawn a few players in. Perhaps it's the gameplay; reminiscent of “Minecraft” but with better graphics and more violence, it could have got some interest going that way. Maybe it's the zombies. Maybe it's the fortress building and resource management. There are plenty of possibilities, but maybe the ultimate answer is just a little less simple; maybe it's all of these. 

Publicity plus exciting concept plus interesting gameplay goes a long way toward a successful game. In marketing terms, the sizzle is in play, and so is the steak. One has not been sacrificed to power another, and both sides of the equation are running well. It's a great recipe for success, and one that “Rust” may well be able to follow all the way to long-term success in the gaming arena..
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