Last Monday (11), developer Fntastic announced that it is closing its doors and ending development of The Day Before. With that, she put an end to a saga full of twists and turns that has spanned the last two years and was marred by misleading trailers, accusations of plagiarism, and copyright disputes.
For those who are outside the controversies, the Voxel prepared a trip to the past to remember the announcement of the title, its promises and the stumbles that hinted at its premature end. It all starts in January 2021, when small studio Fntastic decides it’s going to exit the indie space to test the waters of the triple-A market for the first time.
The Day Before got off to an overwhelming start
In its advertisements, The Day Before brought several elements that helped create great expectations among the public from day to night. Although it used well-established ideas such as abandoned cities, zombies and the search for safety, the game promised to raise the level of the genre to a new level. All of this wrapped in eye-popping visuals.
Fntastic also managed to attract attention by promising an experience that would have the scope of a full MMO. In addition to exploring large cities in search of supplies, players could also test their luck in rural areas, forests and several other interconnected locations.
The game’s marketing campaign was helped both by exposure in major international vehicles and by partnerships with NVIDIA. One of the game’s first promotional videos showed how much the ray tracing provided by the GeForce RTX line would help to enrich its presentation.
All of this helped the game become a true phenomenon on Steam. The promise of a universe full of zombies with interactive environments and various creation possibilities attracted a large part of the public and elevated the product to the top of the most desired on the platform.
The first signs of trouble
Given that Fntastic has always promoted itself as a small team, it was no surprise that the company went months after the game’s announcement without sharing much news. However, the company surprised when it postponed the launch a few days before the original date.
At the time, the company stated that made the decision for The Day Before to be adapted for Unreal Engine 5. This was not uncommon in early 2022, and even recent games continue to follow similar paths — often after their release.
The Day Before promised stunning visualsSource: Disclosure/Mytona Fntastic
In June of the same year, the first complaints against Fntastic began to emerge. Job vacancies revealed that she depended heavily on the “volunteer work” of people, who were divided between those who received money and those who “worked to enrich their portfolios”.
Despite being serious, the accusations did not gain traction, especially given the fact that the studio was not taking advantage of anyone. At the same time, the fact that the company continued to release other games — such as Propnight — showed that it was working normally and had nothing to worry about.
2023: The Day Before controversies intensify
Fntastic would again attract attention during CES 2023. At the electronics fair, the company launched a new trailer for The Day Before, which ended up not being very convincing. In response, the company promised that it would soon release a “rawer” video of the game that would manage to silence critics.
On January 25th, the title had its page removed from Steam due to a copyright dispute with the owner of a calendar app. The company took the opportunity to announce that, because of this, it would postpone the game until the end of the year. A few days later, she revealed that the delay was always in her plans and was not directly related to the legal fight.
The Day Before promised a gigantic zombie MMOSource: Disclosure/Mytona Fntastic
At this time, complaints against The Day Before began to gain strength. A trailer released on February 2nd was accused of plagiarizing takes from a promotional video for Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold Warfrom 2020. Furthermore, promotional photos showed “inspiration” from games like The Last of Us and The Division in their settings and framing.
The company responded by saying it was the victim of a defamation campaign and that it would prove it was telling the truth. In the following months, she revealed renewed visuals, new mechanics and details about the game’s character creator, which would have a new job system in its debut.
In November, the game received its last postponement, this time to December 7th. The studio revealed for the first time that the game would debut in Early Access on Steam, and only later reach the table consoles. Furthermore, the long-promised Beta would now be something exclusive to its volunteer workers.
The launch and the end
When it was finally released, The Day Before arrived very different from what was promised. Instead of a zombie MMO with multiple possibilities, Fntastic delivered a shooter with extraction elements, bringing very limited scenarios and very limited interactions.
The Day Before went very wrongSource: Disclosure/Mytona Fntastic
The title also had a generous amount of bugs and optimization problems that made it difficult to run even on the most powerful hardware. As predicted, Steam was unforgiving: in less than 24 hours, the title already had more than 8 thousand negative reviews with harsh criticism of the developer.
Although the game received a patch on the 8th, the company would only speak to the public again last Monday (11th), announcing its end. Fntastic stated that it took a bigger step than expected, and that all the money obtained would be used to pay off debts with partners and suppliers.
A few hours later, publisher Mytona ended sales of the game and revealed that it will reimburse everyone who invested in it. The company states that it will not receive anything for the project and that it is talking to Fntastic to decide the future of The Day Before — which could end up being nothing more than oblivion.