Following his announcement that Facepunch Studios sold more than 1 million copies of Rust within two months of its Early Access release, creator Garry Newman told Polygon they "would have never have dared even dream" about hitting the milestone, especially so early in development.
"Saying we're surprised is a total understatement," Newman told Polygon. "We never expected Rust to ever sell over a million copies, to sell over a million within a couple of months while still in really early development is insane to us."
Since its alpha and Early Access releases, the open-world survival game evolved overtime from a DayZ clone into "more of a STALKER kind of world" where players could construct their own buildings. Writing last year that while threats "like mutants, wolves and whatever" were more interesting than the undead, Newman said a player's "biggest enemy is always going to be other players."
The game recently underwent a major modification, receiving an update that replaced zombies with red bears and wolves, which are "just plugging a gap for now." At the time developer Maurino Berry wrote that "the longer we keep zombies in — the more complaints we'd get about removing them." Rust's creator believes that while the extra money may give them extra wiggle room to experiment, the popularity brings increased pressure to evolve the game in-line with the player expectations.
"Selling this many copies isn't without worries," Newman said. "Will these millions of people expect us to evolve the game in the ways we're going to evolve it? Will we be able to make them happy? The tens of millions of dollars [may] take the edge off slightly, but we still have these worries."
The milestone comes just after Newman's announcement late last month that Rust generated 40 percent of the nine-year sales total of Garry's Mod over a five week period. Garry's Mod, Facepunch Studios' physics sandbox game, made approximately $22 million dollars since its release in 2006. Newman said that, as "a bit of a pessimist at heart," he is wary of Rust's success.
"If something good like this happens, I'm expecting it all to turn to shit at any minute," he said. "Like the good things that happen are just the set up to a punch line of massive failure. So we're trying not to take anything for granted."
It was revealed last month that Bohemia Interactive sold more than one million copies of DayZ within four weeks of its Early Access release. Creator Dean Hall said at the time that the achievement was proof against those in the traditional publishing model that games like DayZ and Rust, and their publishing models, could find commercial success.