Rust Developer Facepunch Studios Announces New Game, Riftlight
Rust is still in Early Access, but developer Facepunch Studios is already working on other games, which has stirred up a bit of controversy – although doesn't everything on the Internet these days? Let's forget for a moment that money brought in from Rust Early Access sales is going to fund other games instead of only being used to improve Rust – Facepunch's new game, Riftlight, actually looks kind of cool.
Riftlight is an arcade twin-stick shooter with "light-RPG stuff" like loot, character levels, abilities, and talent trees. Developer Adam Woolridge created a developer blog entry for the game, explaining that he wants it to be "colorful and different" and that there will be three different ship classes to choose from: Ranged, Caster, and Melee. The Ranged class would play similarly to what we've come to expect from a traditional twin-stick shooter, while the Caster will be a glass cannon, equipped with "cool spells and area of effect damage." The one that truly goes against the norm is the Melee class, which will be equipped with a close-ranged energy beam (sword) and centered around getting in close.
Each class has its own unique talent tree, which allows you to choose new abilities every few character levels. Each ability uses energy, which regenerates quickly over time, and many have cooldown timers, but each ship also has a basic attack from the start that is free to use, though generally less effective. In addition, the game will feature plenty of loot with randomly generated stats (and names). Based on the "placeholder inventory and stats screen," there seem be slots for weapon, hull, engine, shields, and power, along with three unnamed slots – definitely a lot of room for customization. Not only are the items randomly generated, but so are the maps. The plan is it to not just be random layouts, but also include random missions.
If all that sounds cool, even cooler is that you'll be able to bring along a friend...or two...or three. Online co-op for up to four players "needs a lot of improvement and more work," but it's already playable in the current alpha build. There is no ETA for a release, but Woolridge "want[s] to get a super-early playable version out so people can try it out." That won't happen until he has some more levels and content to play, nor is it clear whether that would be a demo download for free or if it would be another Early Access program.
While there's been a lot of outrage about Facepunch diverting resources to a new project, founder Garry Newman released a statement, assuring fans that Rust's development will not be affected and that the studio continues to push out new content and updates frequently for Rust. He also added more fuel to the fire, explaining that the studio actualy has "three other prototypes being worked on by Facepunch staff." A lot of the community anger stems from the fact that money from Rust is being used on these new projects, but Newman says it's no different than Apple taking money made from iPhone sales and funding development of the iPad. I'm not sure that's the best analogy considering iPhones are complete, finalized products, while Rust is not, but nevertheless, it is what it is. For better or worse, this is why Steam Early Access is such a controversial program – but hey, nobody is forcing anyone to pay for these "unfinished" games.