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The Day Before – What the Hell is Going on with it?

by pfuwi
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It’s been a couple of years since MyTona and Fntastic announced The Day Beforeand the open world survival MMO has had plenty of eyes on it since then. With its debut trailer and the gameplay footage that’s been shown off afterwards, there’s no denying that the game has looked impressive- almost surprisingly so, in fact. With its mixture of elements from the likes of The Division and Resident Evil, The Day Before has generated enough hype to have topped Steam’s wishlist charts on a consistent basis.

And yet, in spite of all of that, as time has gone on, skepticism surrounding the game has continued to grow. There was a healthy dose of skepticism surrounding it even back when it was announced, not least because it was being billed as a massive AAA production from an unknown studio that has worked almost exclusively on subpar mobile games- but the few months have seen that skepticism grow by significant degrees.

There’s been a string of reasons for that, but the one that’s probably the biggest and most obvious in the current context is the game’s most recent delay. Previously set to launch on March 1, a little over a week ago, Fntastic made the announcement that it was delaying The Day Before to November 10. Now, delays are by no means uncommon in this industry, but the reasons given for The Day Before’s delay were… well, they weren’t convincing, to say the very least.

“Right before the release, Steam blocked our game page at the request of a private individual, because of the name The Day Before,” Fntastic said in a statement announcing the delay. “Our game was announced in January 2021. At the time of the announcement, The Day Before game trademark was available. After the announcement, the above-mentioned individual filled out an application before us to register the game trademark The Day Before in the United States. Previously, we were not aware of the existence of claims. We found out about this only on January 19, 2023, when we received a complaint from him and a request to contact him.”

That explanation, as you might imagine, instantly sent up quite a few red flags. From a trademark for the game’s name not having been registered until now (that’s something that tends to happen very early in a game’s development process) to why solving a trademark dispute would require a delay of a little north of eight months, several questions have been asked about Fntastic’s reasoning behind the game’s delay. Even if a trademark for The Day Before hadn’t been registered before the game was even announced – which is the standard way to go about things – it’s a bit baffling that something like that still hadn’t been done with less than two months left until the game’s announced release date.

Incidentally, just days before announcing the delay, Fntastic assured those looking forward to the game that raw gameplay footage would be showcased sometime in January, which came as a relief to many, given how long it had been since The Day Before had last been shown off, especially with its intended launch date drawing closer. While announcing the delay, however, the studio also revealed, much to the confusion of many, that it was postponing the gameplay reveal as well. It said, “We previously planned to post a lengthy gameplay video later this month, but we’ll have to sort this issue out first. We will post a video asap.”

Honestly, it’s hard to decide what about that is most confusing- the fact that the alleged trademark dispute shouldn’t logically clash with a planned gameplay showing in any way, or the fact that Fntastic gave no real reason for why it believed that it wouldn’t be able to show gameplay before having sorted out an issue that had nothing to do with a fresh (and long overdue) demonstration of the game.

Of course, the developer did very recently showcase an uncut 10-minute gameplay demonstration of the game, but sadly, it hasn’t done much to allay concerns. For starters, the downgrade in graphics and fidelity looks stark. On its own, the new gameplay footage looks decent enough, from a visuals perspective, but you only need to take one look at the reveal trailer to see just how steep the drop-off is. The lighting effects, the draw distances, the level of detail in the environment, the character models- all of it is looking decidedly worse. The Day Before is still in development, of course, which means Fntastic has several months to make sure that the final product is much more technically impressive, so here’s hoping significant improvements are made.

Even more concerning than the visual downgrade is just how dull The Day Before’s gameplay is looking. Since day one, Fntastic has been promising a vast, intricate MMO experience set in a detailed open world with tense combat against threatening zombie hordes, a variety of customization and progression systems, driving, and much more, but we’ve yet to see much evidence of most of that. The vast majority of the recent gameplay demonstration shows the player walking around empty environments and scavenging resources. There are a handful of zombies to shoot here and there, but the environments look empty and almost completely unpopulated by anything of note. There’s no sense of what the map will be structured like, or what the game’s quest structure will be, and where progression and customization are concerned, all we’ve seen are generic loot mechanics that make the game look like a run-off-the-mill The Division knockoff- and there’s no shortage of those as it is.

the day before

But that’s not where the concerns surrounding The Day Before end, because of course, this isn’t the first time the game has been delayed. Originally, it was set to launch to launch in June 2022, but much like its recent delay, a few weeks before that launch date, it was announced that the game was being pushed back to March 2023. At the time, Fntastic attributed the delay to the fact that it was shifting the entire game from Unreal Engine 4 over to Unreal Engine 5. Now, we don’t claim to be experts on game development by any means, but you don’t need to be one to know that switching engines isn’t a simple and straightforward process by any means. It’s complicated, it requires a lot of work, and above all else, it takes time- certainly more than a delay from June 2022 to March 2023 would have afforded.

Is it possible that issues arising out of that process have also contributed to The Day Before’s most recent delay? Logic would dictate that there’s a high chance that that is indeed the case, but if it is, Fntastic certainly didn’t make any mention of it in its announcement. The developer has, however, released another statement since then in which it has tried to offer more explanations. In a statement to IGN, the studio said that it had already decided to delay the game to November 10 before the trademark dispute had happened, and that it intended to make that announcement as part of the aforementioned gameplay showcase.

But that is inconsistent not only with basic logic, but also with so much of what Fntastic has said and done in the past. For starters, what stopped them? Why not make that announcement as part of a lengthy gameplay demonstration? In what universe would that not have been a significantly better way of handling the situation? Secondly, if the delay was something that the developer intended to announce before the trademark dispute arose, why didn’t Fntastic mention the actual reason for the delay in its statement? In fact, on the contrary, why did the studio’s statement make it explicitly seem like the trademark dispute was the primary reason behind the delay?

the day before

Clearly, there’s no shortage of reasons to be skeptical about The Day Before– and there’s plenty still that we haven’t touched upon here. It was only a few months ago, in fact, that the game was at the center of yet another controversy, thanks to Fntastic’s highly unusual practices relating to part-time volunteer work and unpaid contributions to the game’s development from non-employees. From Fntastic’s track record as a developer (which is minimal at best) to its behind the scenes practices, from its reticence to show new gameplay to the delays, from the studio’s spotty reasoning for those delays and more, there’s been a litany of things surrounding The Day Before over the last couple of years that seem to all be coming together to make it feel like fans are being strung along at this point.

Fntastic insists that that is not the case, that The Day Before is shaping up well, that development is proceeding at a good clip, and that when the game releases later this year, doubters will be proven wrong. We certainly hope that’s the case. We hope, for starters, that it does release this year, and more than that, we hope that it’s not a case of “too good to be true” as it has seemed from day one. We hope that The Day Before ends up doing justice to its initial promise- but right now, it’s hard to believe that it will. The one thing that is abundantly clear right now is that, when it comes to The Day Before, it’s best that we tread with caution.

Note: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, GamingBolt as an organization.

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