The studio behind Rust has cancelled plans to meet with developers and fans near GDC.
A person standing in a forest looking up at a helicopter flying overhead.

Facepunch Studios says that due to an "IRL threat" they were cancelling a planned meetup set to take place next week. Facepunch took to the official Rust Twitter account to share this disturbing news with the community.

A small meet and greet was scheduled to take place at a small coffee shop in San Francisco next week. The meetup would take place near the Game Developers Conference and would allow for fans and other developers to meet the Rust team, share portfolios, and chat with one another.

The "IRL threat" in question was not specified in the Twitter thread, but a few additional details were shared by Facepunch Studios with PC Gamer. In an email exchange with PC Gamer, Rust producer Alistair McFarlane shared that receiving threats is rather common for developers working on the game. McFarlane shared that there were "threats to kill" which led to the cancellation of next week's meetup.

"Community facing staff see threats daily," he wrote, typically from players who "lash out on social media" over changes they don't like. McFarlane also pointed to cheat makers and users as a source of harassment and threats, saying that individuals from the "cheat community" will "often go to great efforts to target individual staff members."

In some instances, staff members and their families have had to "change personal details" due to doxxing, McFarlane said, which "often takes a heavy toll on their mental health."

The location of next week's event had been broadcast publicly, and following "threats to kill," the studio decided that holding it would present too great a safety risk and cause too much anxiety for staff.

"These threats are very concerning and must be taken seriously," said McFarlane.‚Äč
McFarlane notes that an "overwhelming majority of fans are respectful and supportive" but that there "is always going to be a small subset of individuals who engage in threatening and abusive behaviour."

Facepunch says that they will still be in attendance at GDC as initially planned. The developers suggest that those who had planned to attend the meetup should instead get in touch with them via email.

Facepunch Studios was founded in 2004 by Garry Newman. The studio is known for the development and release of such titles as the sandbox playground title Garry's Mod and the online multiplayer survival game Rust. The studio is currently working on Sandbox (stylized s&box), a spiritual successor to Garry's Mod. A release date for Sandbox has not yet been announced.

We wish nothing but the best for the employees at Facepunch Studios and to developers everywhere. Nobody deserves to be threatened or harassed like this, especially because of a video game.