Leaving Early Access

What leaving Early Access means to us and how it's going to affect the game.

22 January 2018 by Garry Newman (84 Comments)

After over four long years, Rust is leaving Early Access. We started creating Rust in 2013, releasing it for testing originally as a browser game. After a few months, in December 2013 we released on Steam in Early Access.

We plan to leave Early Access on the 8th February 2018. We're not planning any big reveals, launch parties, around the world tours or cash prize giveaways for this event. We're not going to move staff onto other projects. It's very much going to happen without much fuss. It's business as usual.

Early Access differs for each game. For Rust, we hadn't decided the exact direction of the game, and we wanted to explore that with an active player base.

For example, when we first launched on Steam the game had zombies. Over the months we came to realise that the zombies were superfluous, so we removed them. That was a bold move that I don't think we'd have made if we weren't in Early Access.

Don't think of this as us claiming that the game is done. Think of this as us saying that if Early Access didn't exist we'd have released the game on Steam by now.

We're going to keep updating and improving the game.

Part of leaving Early Access is making the development more stable. That means that not rushing in features and fixes that end up breaking something else. For that reason we're going to be transitioning to monthly updates.

Obviously these updates aren't going to work unless people are playing them, so we're going to do what a lot of other games do and have another version of Rust that will sit alongside the "stable" version.

  • Main Branch - monthly tested updates with smaller irregular hotfixes between them
  • Staging Branch - bleeding edge, daily updates

You can have both versions installed at the same time, so our hope is that we'll get one or two servers on the staging version that are populated all the time and help test the updates that are coming to Main at the end of the month.

Please try not to compare the game to some other finished game or some idealised version you have in your head. Compare the game now to how it was when we entered Early Access. That's the delta that we feel qualifies us to leave Early Access.

Think of it more like we're leaving Prototyping and entering Alpha. Obviously we don't consider that we're actually entering Alpha, this is an example. We're entering a more stable version of what we have been doing.

We feel like if Early Access didn't exist and we had been making the game in secret, we'd be happy to put it on Steam now.

Yes. The price will be increasing from its current $19.99 to $34.99.

It sucks, it's going to cost more, but this was always the deal. And it's not like we're increasing the price to $60 without any warning. This is one of the main reasons we've decided to post this blog rather than quietly slipping out of Early Access, we felt like this is something you'll all want to be warned about.

Finally, a big thank you from the whole team to everyone that helped us out during Early Access.

Thanks to all the people that have reported and patiently helped us reproduce bugs. All the people that have made gameplay suggestions, spotted imbalances and expressed their opinions. Thanks to all the people that have reported cheaters, given us access to private cheats or pointed out exploits in our code. Thanks to all the people that have made new skins and gamemodes for the game, allowing other players to enjoy the game even more. Thanks to all the server admins that have spent their money and time to rent and administrate servers for the benefit of other players. Thanks to all the youtubers, streamers and comic makers, who have entertained millions of players outside of the game.

Thanks to everyone that took the risk by buying our Early Access game. It hasn't always been the most stable, optimized, balanced experience - but we hope you don't feel like we've let you down.

Thank you for making our game better.

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