Most of the time, people love hearing that one of their favorite developers is working on a new game. But what if that studio hasn’t fully released a game that you already bought?
That’s exactly the situation Garry’s Mod and Rust developer Facepunch Studios is in now. Rust is an survival-based game available on Steam’s Early Access program. That means that you can still buy and play Rust, but it’s technically in a prerelease state. This enables Facepunch to make money on sales of a title that isn’t even officially done.
It’s a newer concept in the world of gaming, but most fans seem fine with it. In fact, Rust has already sold over a million copies. However, Facepunch revealed a new game, Riftlight, last Friday. The studio is working on the arcade shooter concurrently with Rust, a move that has angered fans who feel that Facepunch is using the money they spent on Rust for development on another game.
“We are spending money Rust and Garry’s Mod make to do this,” Facepunch founder Gary Newman said in a blog post defending his company. “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. Keep in mind that we spent money Garry’s Mod made to develop Rust — and that turned out pretty good, right?”
Newman also pointed out that it is not unusual for a studio to work on more than one game at a time. “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 wrote in the same blog post. “The only thing that makes our situation remarkable is that we’re willing to talk about our process and show our experiments.”
Facepunch might be right. It certainly isn’t unusual for a studio to work on more than one game at a time. However, in this new era of crowd-funding and early access, this won’t be the last time confused funders and buyers get irked by the decisions of a development world that they know little about.