The Day Before - How did we get here?

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The recent events surrounding The Day Before have ended up being just as confusing as the game’s entire journey over the last two years. These years may have felt like they have dragged on for players that were fans of The Day Before, but they have been full of interesting twists and turns. Let's dive into the unpredictable journey that ended as abruptly as it started.
 

January 29th 2021

The Day Before crashed on to the gaming scene two years ago with a promising announcement trailer on IGN’s Youtube channel. The video was met with the healthy mix of skepticism and optimism that is common with most early game announcements. The game developers had previously released a legitimate game with mixed reviews called Propnight, and as The Day Before had a legitimate publisher, Mytona, there seemed to be nothing out of the ordinary so far. The game even went on to become the #1 most wishlisted game on Steam.
 


February 27th 2021

Perhaps motivated by the many inquiries to “see it to believe it,” and just in time for IGN Fan Fest 2021, a new trailer was released with 13 minutes of gameplay. IGN covered and published the video in this article. The interview featured commentary from each of the developers, and dove into more features of the game. Base building was promised, “"In The Day Before, we have the concept of a base different from other MMO survival games. As a hint - we really like the concept in that cute game where there is a greedy raccoon boss,"” as well as finishing moves, high-quality surround sound, and a choice of things to do once you’ve taken a player down like tying them up and letting them attract zombies.
 

October 15th 2021

Fntastic announced that the game would be released on June 21st 2022 with a release date trailer that featured some spiffy visuals, a peek into base building, weapon customization, some vehicle driving footage, and minimal real gameplay. 
 

May 5th 2022

The Day Before was delayed to 1 March 2023 citing the transition to Unreal Engine 5 as the culprit for the delay.
 

June 27th 2022

An update to Fntastic’s website noted that the team was made up of “paid” and “unpaid” volunteers. Meaning some people working on the game are getting paid for their expertise and work, and some are receiving some sort of codes or certificates for their work. The following part of a statement was released from one of the founders, “Volunteering at Fntastic means that a person works willingly for a common cause. We consider all team members, including employees, volunteers." This whole thing might have not seemed so fishy if they had led with this, and featured more of their “volunteers” publicly, but it all seemed too strange to ignore after the previous delays and lack of real gameplay.


January 25th 2023

After promises of additional game footage and an update on progress, The Day Before was pulled from the Steam store citing that there had been “trademark issues” with the name. That the game would be delayed until November 10th 2023 and any trailer would not be shown. While it looked like the an elaborate ploy to avoid having to post evidence of progress of the game, it did check out that they had not secured the trademark for the name and there were legal proceedings in the works led by Mytona. While there had been musings of the game being a “scam” before, the online community had now had enough of the shady excuses and the general audience now began to question it’s legitimacy. The developers addressed these rumors by saying, "we didn't take a penny from people: no crowdfunding, no pre-orders, no donations.” That would have to be enough proof for now.
 

The In-Between 

A journalist that had been reaching out to Fntastic to get any kind of conversation going finally received communication back that the team would do an interview with the stipulation that the journalist also asked questions about Fntatic’s new app, Continent. But what’s that? Apparently, while the studio was working on The Day Before they were also making the Continent app, which was a “war on offices!” and was similar to Microsoft teams. In 2012, Fantastic had secured a domain and put up a simple website for Continent. Nothing further was updated until January 2023 when the website got a modern overhaul. Accompanying this update was a marketing video that showed a little bit of behind the scenes content and subtly featured Continent. A “soft launch” if you will. The video was taken down by the company, but it was reposted later by another channel.

Soon, rumors that The Day Before was all an elaborate ploy to funnel attention onto Continent circled the internet. However, apart from adding voice chat the following month, every bit of content involving Continent was scrubbed from Fntastic’s digital footprint soon after updating the website. And just like that, Continent was no more.
 


 

February 2nd, 2023

Gameplay footage was finally released, only to be taken down due to copyright claims made by a calendar app called “TheDayBefore.” Apparently, the game was announced when the Copyright had not been claimed for the name, but had later been secured by someone else. Gamers were quick to point out how huge of a mistake this was, especially since the game had garnered so much attention online, and how odd it seemed that the developers had neglected it. The chief moderator on the game’s Discord, Wholf, had come out saying that they had actually not seen any gameplay themselves, “Those who wonder, if the game is real, I’m wondering the same right now as well.”
 

Later that February

After receiving a lot of criticism, the developers released that 10 minute trailer of gameplay footage. The footage was underwhelming to fans, with most of it featuring the main character just running around the map and doing very little fighting. It didn’t look terrible visually, but certainly was not as stunning as the trailers that had preceded it. After a few days, videos comparing the similarities between this new trailer and other game trailers began to surface. 


October 2023

No further game footage was release, but the developers announced that players would be able to have a “job” within the game. Fantastic thought that this would make the game more immersive, but players were still wondering if there would ever be a game at all. 
 

A Few Weeks Later

Just before the game was slated to release, Fantastic announced another delay until December 7th. They also snuck in the detail that this was going to be released as an Early Access title, something which had never been mentioned previously. 


August 2023

 Mytona and Fntastic had filed a trademark registration for the new title Dayworld. 
 

A Few Weeks Before Launch 

Name Secured.


1 Day to Launch

 Hours before the game was set to release, Fntastic deleted almost all of their older videos from their YouTube channel. Although they never released a statement on why they did this, it’s suggested that they might have been trying to stop people from comparing the launched game to the first trailers. Fntastic then also release a JPG image asking fans not to accuse the game of being an asset flip or a scam, as it had taken 5 years to make The Day Before. 


December 7th - Launch

The moment had finally arrived. The game did launch on Steam for $40 and hit a peak player count of 40,000. Players were incredibly underwhelmed. Servers where overloaded, crashing and leaving players on loading screens for hours. Bugs riddles the game, some comical. But most just downright disappointing. Those who were able to get in to play the game noted that there was a suspicious lack of enemies, with some players finishing entire missions without having to fight anything. When the zombies did show up, their AI was so simple, it was painfully easy to defeat them. Dying in the game would rob you of your entire inventory, which might not have been the end of the world in another game, but in The Day Before players would sometimes have to loot for the better part of an hour to discover a weapon. What about just melee-ing instead? Nope, not an option that was available on launch. At the end of the first day, reviews on Steam had reached Overwhelmingly Negative on Steam. 


Days 1-3 After Launch 

Developers then snuck in to remove the “MMO” and “Open World” tags from the Steam listing. These two tags had been on the game since the very beginning, and it did not go unnoticed. 

Steam reviews hit 20,000+, making it one of the lowest rated games in Steam’s history

Due to a leak, we can see that the game sold just over 200k copies, half of which were refunded 
Players active of Reddit dove into the game and revealed that a majority of the assets were purchased and flipped from the asset store. With most of the city coming from the American City Packs bundle, available on the Unreal store for $399.99. 


Day 4 After Launch 

Before the dust had even settled, Fntastic released a statement that the studio was closing it’s doors with another JPG statement. 


The announcement left more unanswered questions than it had ever answered. What had they been working on for five years if most of the assets are from the asset store? Why not try to patch the game? Why not take pre-orders to have the resources to make the game you set out to make? 

The two brothers that made up Fntastic were hard at work scrubbing the rest of their presence from the internet. They deleted all social media including their LinkedIn and YouTube channel, and took down their website as if they wanted to pretend like none of this had ever happened. 

The good news is Fntastic and publisher Mytona put out a statement to say that they were working with Steam to provide refunds to everyone. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like those refunds will be automatic, and that might leave some money in the account after all. 

When it comes to Mytona, Fntastic had reported that the publisher had been constantly checking on their progress throughout development. It’s hard not to wonder if Mytona has been aware of the impending disaster launch, or if they were as equally let down on that fateful day. 


Post Studio Closing 

With his interest peaked with the whole situation, Aloysius Low, a Contributing Editor of Yahoo! News set out to try and visit the headquarters of Fntastic. As he wrote in his article here.

Low arrived at his destination expecting to find a studio, but instead found a “co-op working space” within a larger mixed retail space. The center manager stated that “Fntastic merely used the co-op’s address as a virtual office space.” Hmm… Low also went on to try and track down their building according to Google Maps, but the reported destination showed that the address was actually that of a management consultancy.

Low then goes on to lay out the financial situation, check out his article for the documents, but the main takeaway is that in 2022  “Fntastic filed S$3.4m in 2022 revenue, paid both directors S$200,000, spent S$308,000 for travel.” It’s unlikely they will see much, if any, of the profits from the game on Steam, but that does still leave them with the profit made from the last year, suspected to have come from Mytona.
 

While this may have not been an entire exhaustive history, that about sums it up! As more comes to light in the next few months, it’ll be interesting to see what both players and developers take away from this very public blunder. 

Replies • 30

I saw this on game news things are wild , like what a joke , launched then closed and backed out like its cursed or smthin very weird lol


Galactic

The saga of how such an empty scam somehow managed to survive and lead people on for *five years*, led by an established publisher with real games under their belt, is more entertaining than any "survival MMO zombie shooter" could ever be, anyway. :P


Interstellar

I'll tell you how we got here.

We got here because of actively witnessing unapologetic laziness, dishonesty and incompetence by the game's creators. It was blatantly overplayed and advertised to be groundbreaking and failed because they decided to make it online-only in Early Access that was compiled with bugs, broken mechanics, and underutilized potential.

But that's not the worst part. They also demanded people to pay for an unfinished online-only game in Early Access, decided to shut everything down after the mess was made, and changed their studio's name. They knew how much they'd earn and attempted to scam everyone before it was too late.

Thankfully these inconsiderate buffoons didn't manage to succeed stealing everyone's money and will be forced to accept numerous consequences. This is textbook failure for game development and I hope they'll never recover from this buffoonery.



Interstellar

The end result wasn't a surprise - except maybe for how quickly it went from game launch to complete studio closure.  But overly ambitious games - especially in the survival and/or PvP genres - from outright sketchy developers or untested newcomers (that are often just one-person or very small teams) with neither the skills nor the resources to deliver on their hype are almost as common as weird anime sex games on Steam.  Sadly, it's one of the reasons I'm loath to buy Early Access games; I love the survival genre, but I've seen so many of them pop up on Steam, full of promise and potential, but then get promptly abandoned by the developer.

The thing that continues to baffle me, though, is that none of the bigger publishers or developer studios out there looked at the hype for The Day Before and thought, "Why don't we make something like that?"  Especially when you consider how many of them seem desperate to create a live service game they can milk for the next decade or better.  And jumping on hype trains and hot trends is kind of a time-tested approach in the industry - just look at how many people/studios started developing battle royale games once PUBG hit it big, or all the extraction shooters that have followed in the wake of Escape From Tarkov.  And you can trace it even further back to games desperately trying to be the "Halo killer" or chasing after being the next World of Warcraft.  Yet, the game that seemed most poised to potentially compete in the space, Naughty Dog's The Last of Us Online, has been shuttered.  I don't know what that game would've been, but it seems like it would've shared some strong similarities with The Day Before: zombies, scavenging for supplies, open world PvP, and possibly a home base hub.  There's a pretty obvious interest in that sort of game...and nobody with the financial resources and the skilled personnel to make it happen are working on one?  Madness!

I will say, one of my favorite things to come from this whole debacle?  Seeing people on Reddit and gray market sites trying to sell The Day Before keys for $100+.  That gave me a genuine belly laugh.  (Though, I feel bad for anyone who doesn't know better and actually buys one.)


Lunar

The hype was so high, sad they didn't finish the game and they sold it for profits 


Galactic

Interesting read.

Volunteers were probably going to use game as a showcase for their skills/portfolio.  But now everything has/still being scrubbed from existence they don’t have that.