A naked gender ambiguous person running through grass near mountains.
  • Developer: Facepunch Studios
  • Publisher: Facepunch Studios
  • Year: 2013
  • Genre: Multiplayer Shooter
  • Platform/s: PC

Rust is a game filled with experimental features, such as a gender selector based on your Steam ID. Gender is randomly assigned to you when you begin playing (among other traits) and cannot be altered. This can lead to some distressing situations for some players, indicative of feelings some players have in real life. In fact, prior to the introduction of randomly-assigned genders, all women playing the game were forced to play as a gender they did not identify with, and this fueled the developers' response to the controversy:

We understand that you may now be a gender that you don’t identify with in real-life. We understand this causes you distress and makes you not want to play the game anymore. Technically nothing has changed, since half the population was already living with those feelings. The only difference is that whether you feel like this is now decided by your SteamID instead of your real life gender.

In forcing players to inhabit bodies that may not align with the gender they identify as, Rust is also forcing players to experience empathy for some aspects of transgender experiences. This is a topic Michelle Ehrhardt has explored on Kill Screen.