Rust, the open-world survival game developed & published by Facepunch Studios, will be leaving Steam Early Access on February 8, 2018, according to a blog post on the game's official website.
The game has been in Early Access for a bit over four years now. Rust stood out a bit in the gaming world (even more so in the survival game genre) for tearing everything down and starting over from scratch after it had already been released to the public as a testable alpha. After a switch from a static map to a procedurally-generated world, the game regressed in gameplay features for a short period as the new systems needed to catch up to the capabilities of the legacy edition. It's since surpassed the features of the original version with a lot of new additions including hostile NPC vehicles, new weapons, and a variety of different wildlife for players to contend with.
This doesn't mean that development of the game will end. However, the schedule for development updates will be changing. The developers will be transitioning from a weekly update schedule to a monthly update schedule. The game will further be split into two branches: the Main Branch and the Staging Branch. The Main Branch will consist of the aforementioned monthly updates with the occasional hotfix. The Staging Branch will feature "bleeding edge" daily updates, likely as a venue for experimenting with new features.
In addition to the change in development schedule, the price of Rust will be increasing from $19.99 to $34.99. A price increase upon exiting Early Access had been in the plans, and now the time has come. While they have no special plans or fanfare for the transition out of Early Access, the developers also wanted to make sure that players looking to get the game weren't blindsided by the jump in price with a sudden release. If you don't yet already own the game and you'd like to pick it up before the price jump, you can get it for $19.99 or your regional equivalent on Steam. Rust exits Steam Early Access on February 8, 2018.