Although 2023 is saturated with top-notch releases like Alan Wake 2, Baldur’s Gate 3, and Starfield, there has been no shortage of terrible games. The likes of Lord of the Rings: Gollum were considered the worst games of 2023 after poor reviews, but The Day Before has left everyone behind.
Continuing a streak of bad games, developer Fntastic added its early-access MMO to the bunch. The game, initially marketed as a new beginning for open-world survival MMOs, failed spectacularly by every stretch of the imagination.
With many claiming this release was nothing more than an elaborate scam, the Steam launch hardly tries to prove otherwise.
The scam began with a clearly false marketing push.
An appealing teaser in 2021 showcased an impressive survival MMO with visuals rivaling AAA games. This left many scratching their heads after they learned that Fntastic, a relatively new and small team, was leading the project.
Following teasers would gain more recognition, increasing the anticipation for this project. However, one red flag showed up when fans spotted plagiarism in the marketing, with a voiceover oddly reminiscent of other trailers.
Comparing the recently released early access build to the initial trailer shows just how much has changed in the years leading up to the release.
In addition to downgraded visuals, The Day Before lacks major animations in the early access build.
Simple movement options like vaulting over objects appear non-existent despite being showcased in gameplay demos. Survival mechanics like looting cash registers for items are also missing from this build.
A threatening world filled with zombies was a big part of The Day Before’s appeal. With zombies seemingly lurking around every corner, players would be encouraged to carefully navigate the environment for supplies and maximum chances of survival.
However, I have found next to no zombies in the game. While one or two might show up now and then, a massive part of the game has somehow disappeared without any mention.
The developer also acknowledged its overambitious marketing. One day before the launch, Fntastic said:
“Please forgive us for not doing the best marketing and teasers.”
While this may not have meant what I think it did, it definitely reveals a lot in hindsight.
An Asset Flip To Rival AAA Games
The team at Fntastic claimed to have spent five years working on The Day Before. However, as users on Reddit have spotted, nearly the entire game has been made up of reused assets publicly available on Unreal Engine.
From core assets like vehicles to more complex parts like animations and voice chat, almost every part of the game was taken from readily available resources. Therefore, I am left wondering how a game like this could possibly take up five years of development.
There is nothing inherently wrong with working with existing assets. In fact, this practice is encouraged for smaller developers, but The Day Before was marketed as a massive game.
Interestingly, the Redditor also spotted that many of these assets were introduced to the engine last year. Therefore, Fntastic likely may have lied about five years of development as well.
They Almost Got Away With It Too
As per Gamalytic’s statistics, Fntastic generated around $4 million in revenue. According to internal leaks, the game sold as many as 200K copies, but many players were wise enough to refund the game.
Still, this left the team with 100K net sales after the refunds. Adding to the frustration, Fntastic hired unpaid developers, citing a volunteering culture and getting defensive about the act once questions were raised.
With the early access title’s scam out in the public, Fntastic’s CEO has disappeared from Twitter, and all videos have been removed from the official YouTube channel. If this isn’t enough proof, Valve stopped selling the MMO on Steam.
I find this situation quite pathetic and frustrating.
A scam, built up for over two years, nearly robbed thousands of their hard-earned cash. Thankfully, audiences were clever enough to catch on to the red flags early on, going into this game with suspicion from the beginning.
Bawal is an MBBS student by day and a gaming journalist by night. He has been gaming since childhood, growing fond of the creativity and innovation of the industry. His career as a gaming journalist started one year ago, and his journey has allowed him to write reviews, previews, and features for various sites. Bawal has also been cited in reputed websites such as Screenrant, PCGamesN, WCCFTech, GamesRadar, and more.