Back in January 2021, FNTASTIC launched an announcement trailer for a project so ambitious it generated too much hype. It was for ‘The Day Before’ a survival zombie shooter game that’s also an MMO. The video showed open-world gameplay, cars, and many other desired features. It seems TOO polished for an announcement trailer, but that’s normal for marketing to be attractive.
Due to a trademark issue, The Day Before likely won’t be the game’s future name. However, it will be used in this article to refer to the game, as there aren’t any substitutes.
The zombie survival genre has been hungering for a game of this caliber, so it was natural that the game garnered attention. The Day Before rocketed to being the top wishlisted game on Steam and was second only to Hogwarts Legacy.
After two years of waiting, people discovered suspicious things about the game and its developers.
Red Flags That We Honestly Should’ve Seen
Highly Sus Developers
FNTASTIC is the main studio that’s working on The Day Before. They’ve made at least four other games before this, which is still nothing new. Their works stand out because they treat them as short-term goals.
The Wild Eight was a survival game set in Alaska. While it was still in early access, FNTASTIC sold its rights to the publisher, HypeTrain Digital. One of their games, Dead Dozen, was a good idea but poorly executed. It only had 81 players at launch, but if FNTASTIC had taken the time to polish it and provide ongoing support, it could’ve been a hit. Unfortunately, after a few months, they abandoned it.
Radiant One is a dreamy visual novel made for mobile devices, yet it was released on Steam. It’s more successful than the other two, but not by much. Their most successful game is Propnight, an asymmetrical PvP game of high-stakes hide-and-seek. Still, that didn’t save it from the cutting floor, as FNTASTIC no longer offers game support and bug fixes.
What does that mean for The Day Before? If it ever gets released, it’s likely to get the same treatment from its developers weeks or months afterward. You know that MMOs thrive on regular updates and maintenance. Would you trust a studio/company/team with a history of abandoning games to keep up a massive MMO?
Bait and Switch Marketing
On March 31, 2021, publisher Mytona posted an announcement for a special event concerning The Day Before. Fans were understandably hyped and eagerly awaited the appointed day. However, just the day before, FNTASTIC posted a postponement of the announcement, saying the game would come to IGN’s YT channel on April 6.
Okay, not too bad. Fans have been waiting, so they can wait another week. Come April 6, people tuned in to the livestream, glad to see the game’s logo on the screen. They settled down to wait. And wait. Why is the timer counting up? Shouldn’t it be counting down? They checked the official Twitter accounts. Okay, there are some technical difficulties. They’ll get it fixed soon. Two hours passed. Three.
FNTASTIC said to enjoy some lakeside radio and posted a link. Five hours passed, and nothing. There was nothing about the game for 9 whole hours. That’s when the stream got cut off, and the Twitter accounts announced another postponement with no defined date.
This raised so many questions. Why announce and go through a livestream when there was no content to show? Was there ever a gameplay trailer to show? The stream ran for 9 hours, and all fans got was, ‘Sorry, we’re postponing this release,’ with no explanation.
Still, FNTASTIC released a gameplay trailer on April 9. It was 13 minutes of ‘players’ driving, shooting up some zombies, looting, and encountering other players. Some bits felt scripted, but that’s to be expected in the industry. While veterans know that it would never compare to the finished product, it was par the norm. Marketing is made to sell, and this is no different.
From there, it gets progressively worse.
The developer and the publisher set up another livestream a few months later, in October. It promised The Day Before info and a special something after the stream. Fans were hyped, wondering if it was an alpha build to test on or at least some update on the development status.
They got a release date (June 21, 2022) and some videos of the game. However, the special something was an announcement for Propnight’s release. Of course, with The Day Before gathering the people’s attention, Propnight got a lot of exposure piggybacking from it. It was an okay game, so this moment was brushed off.
Still, Propnight’s popularity lasted only a short time, and FNTASTIC dropped support soon after. Despite being an okay game, many players felt cheated by how it was announced. They got baited by The Day Before into getting this game. They consoled themselves with a few months’ wait since they’re getting the real thing in June.
Later, they did this again with their video ‘Life at Fntastic.’ Upon closer inspection, it’s one long commercial for their video chat app, Continent. It was preceded by various posts on social media promising more information on The Day Before, which again drew many eyes toward the ‘vlog.’
For whatever reason, FNTASTIC employs volunteers in its roster. Fortunately, they’re not working on anything important like game coding and programming but in more external departments. Examples of that would be translation, localization, and community moderation. Still, it’s highly suspicious when more prominent game developers give those jobs paid positions.
Their explanation of why they do this also does not make sense. You need to be willing to volunteer in the first place, but a hired employee will be just as willing to do the job. It just reeks of something shady happening behind the scenes.
Missing Trademarks and Copying Other Game Trailers
Currently, the game and developers are facing a trademark crisis. A South Korean company had beaten them in claiming the name ‘The Day Before.’ This resulted in the game losing its listing on Steam and its videos being withdrawn from Youtube. What’s funny is that they announced the game in January 2021, but the Korean company filed their claim in May of the same year.
Whether it was due to genuine oversight or someone’s mistake, failing this first step should raise some eyebrows. The obvious solution is to change the game’s name, but they’re trying to hold on for some reason. It may be pragmatism with many of their materials marked with it. It’s a losing battle, though.
To show that the game exists and is in development, they released two videos. Eventually, those were revealed to be almost 1:1 copies of an old trailer of a Call of Duty game. While referencing another game is valid and sometimes fun, this blatant copying can’t be explained away with that reasoning. Due to the mentioned trademark issues, these videos can’t be found on Youtube.
The Game’s Ultimate Fate
In my opinion, FNTASTIC will release a zombie survival MMO game. However, the game they promised will remain only in our dreams. We’ll get a game that has only a fraction of what was advertised, is bug-infested, and won’t even come close to the trailers. I won’t be surprised if it’ll only have a few hundred players at launch and will be abandoned in a few months.
It’s unfortunate, but that’s how the pattern of the developer’s games has been going. It’s only a scam because players won’t be getting the product as advertised, but there will be one. The game’s release has been delayed twice, once to March 2023 and the second to November 2023. We’ll see then if FNTASTIC can deliver on its promises.