Facepunch Studios is as bold and decisive as its name would lead you to believe. Over the weekend, the developer of the popular PC game Rust sent a snarky “screw off” message to cheaters and rolled out an unforgiving anti-cheat program.

The studio announced its custom software, Cheatpunch, at the same time it claimed to have already banned 4,621 players. According to the message on the game’s website, Facepunch made the cheater-catching program just last week. In comments on video game forum NeoGAF and the official Cheatpunch web page, many Rust players expressed gratitude and relief that their sessions would no longer be ruined by hackers. At the same time, many others were skeptical about the reliability of the automatic bans. Some were angry, claiming that they’d been banned unfairly because of a glitch or excessive lag. One commenter, “Barracuda (ooo00)”, said he is refusing to play Rust until he is sure the system won’t accidentally ban him.

Rust is a multiplayer survival simulator which starts players with nothing and tasks them with gathering resources and defending themselves. It is has been in alpha testing since Dec. 11 but has already sold over one million copies via the Steam Early Access digital-distribution platform. Hackers killing other players in ridiculous, normally impossible ways has become a major problem on Rust’s servers.

The reason gamers like Barracuda are so concerned is because of Facepunch founder Garry Newman’s zero-tolerance message. The statement on its website is so abrasive that a large portion of it is worth quoting here: “If you get . . . banned then you have been caught. You’re a naughty boy. You know what you have done. You won’t get unbanned. We know it was your 9-year-old cousin. We know your computer got hijacked. We know that the CIA is getting you banned from all your games on Steam, so you will join them in the hunt for aliens.”

Farther along in the message, Newman wrote, “We fully expect cheats to be touted as ‘CheatPunch proof’ quite soon. That’s cool. We’re never going to be finished fighting.”

It sounds like he is really declaring war on cheaters. It’s impossible to know if people claiming they were unjustly banned are telling the truth. The number of commenters claiming this, though, is rather high. The only recourse for Rust players is that Newman said those who were accidentally booted will be allowed to come back. Hopefully, Facepunch can tell the difference; based on the message quoted above, once the developer thinks you’re a cheater, you’re probably out of luck.


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