Well, that was a wild ride. Following the long-awaited release of The Day Before, which saw the suspiciously ambitious open-world survival game mocked universally for how buggy it was, the developer promptly disappeared from the internet and closed down its operations. That’s right – Fntastic has published a statement saying The Day Before was a financial failure and vanished into the night – four days after the game was released.
From the moment The Day Before surfaced, millions were sceptical about the game’s existence. It looked too good to be true and with absolutely no tangible updates to go on, many branded the project a scam from the get-go.
Folks, that’s what we call ‘intuition’.
Every Red Flag From The Day Before
There were countless red flags along the development path for The Day Before, starting very early on. With more than 200,000 copies sold in a matter of days, something was done right by Fntastic, even if almost 50% of those sales were refunded almost instantly. It was capable of kickstarting a volatile hype train, but the sustainability of said train just wasn’t there, and of course, Fntastic imploded, shutting up shop without any prior warning.
Rug pull? Perhaps.
Here are all the red flags that surfaced around The Day Before since its reveal back in 2021.
Gameplay Videos Were Scripted
The Day Before was reviewed by developers in videos uploaded to YouTube, and they stressed how the ‘gameplay videos’ that were surfacing looked scripted, AI-generated, and representative of ‘vertical slices’. This is where a fully developed portion of a game is shown when the rest of the game doesn’t exist, giving the impression that the title is much more developed than it is. In other words, the gameplay we were seeing wasn’t gameplay.
Unpaid Volunteers Were Pulled Into The Studio
Fntastic started using unpaid volunteers to create The Day Before, and when challenged on this topic, the studio published a strange statement filled with philosophical ramblings, stressing that every volunteer made their own choices to be there. Be that as it may, they weren’t paying people for working on their game, likely because they had no money in the first place.
Fntastic’s First Game Was a Similar Story
The Wild Eight was Fntastic’s first game, and it was backed for $60,000 on Kickstarter. Well, guess what? It was released in a remarkably buggy state, plagued by poor reviews, and was promptly abandoned by Fntastic not long after release.
The Studio Changed Direction Remarkably Fast
From being stood up in 2015 by students (the Gotovtsev brothers) and making some half-hearted, mediocre indie games, Fntastic pivoted in a short period and opted to ‘create’ one of the most ambitious, impressive open-world MMOs the world had ever seen. That’s a red flag.
No Gameplay Was Shown – Almost Ever
Despite The Day Before having been in production since 2020, no gameplay was revealed until late 2023, weeks before the game was due to launch. We’d seen some snippets, screenshots, and conceptual imagery, but gameplay was being sorely missed from any updates provided by Fntastic. Even when that gameplay did surface, it represented a bland, empty world with generic characters, mechanics, and no real substance.
The Game Wasn’t Even Trademarked
What defined The Day Before was the legal battle that Fntastic went through to secure the name. Midway through the game’s development, it was revealed that an app creator had built an application with the same name before the Govovtsev brothers had started building their game. Thus, a legal battle ensued – but who doesn’t trademark their game before they start developing it?
It Was Delayed Over and Over Again
Now, I can fully appreciate that games get delayed – look at Skull & Bones, for instance. The difference is that Skull & Bones is backed by Ubisoft and is constantly updated with gameplay streams, trailers, and dev blogs. Fntastic kept pushing back The Day Before without showing anything tangible to prove that the game even existed, constantly farming impressions and building hype and a sense of mystery around the title.
It Looked Like One Huge Asset Flip
One of the first things people said when they saw the trailers and gameplay for The Day Before – or even imagery of thegame was, ‘Oh, that looks like The Division’, or ‘Wow, that looks like The Last of Us’. On the surface, so many elements were peeled from other games, and when you dig a little deeper, it looks as though most of The Day Before was built on the back of flipped assets.
And just think… People decided to pay full price for this game. That was the final red flag – this early access game that had barely been revealed and was built by a developer who had no real legs in this business was being sold for $40.