Until recently every character in Early Access hit Rust was white. Now, they come in an assortment of colours, but the mixed race implementation has upset parts of the game’s user base.
Kotaku reports that a recent update to the title means that a user’s character is randomised at the point of creation. Furthermore, once a skin tone has been selected for a player, there is no changing it.
Among the complaints is some unrest at the limited number of currently available skin colour options.
"We wanted a way to recognise people beyond their names, kind of a fingerprint," game creator Gary Newman said. "We already kind of have this; players recognise each other via their voice, and that’s pretty interesting. So we wanted to push it further.
"There’s a lot of skin colours in the world, and it’s really easy to appear racially insensitive when doing this. This is compounded by the fact that everyone is really used to seeing this guy as a white guy, so when you see him as a black guy it feels like he’s just ‘blacked up.’ So we’re spending a lot of time trying to lessen that effect.
"It’s going to be an ongoing effort. Our ideal scenario is one in which no two players look the same, so you’ll recognize someone in game by their face to the extent that nametags will be redundant."
Sadly, there has of course been another consequence – anger from those who for reasons unknown are uncomfortable with the new ethnic mix.
"It makes me wish I’d set up some analytics to record how many times the n-word was used before and after the update," he added. "It was used quite a bit from what I’ve seen.
"We debated internally whether to start censoring it, whether as the curators of the game we should be stepping in. What we found was that when someone was being racist they were always in the minority and more often than not the other members of the server stepped in and took action (i.e. they all worked together to hunt him)."