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Steam’s most-wishlisted game is finally out — and on fire

The Day Before isn’t the open-world zombie MMO that devs promised, players say

Armed players take aim at a horde of zombies heading toward them on a city street in a screenshot from The Day Before Image: Fntastic/Mytona
Michael McWhertor is a journalist with more than 17 years of experience covering video games, technology, movies, TV, and entertainment.

The Day Before, the open-world MMO zombie game that’s been at the top of Steam’s wishlist charts since developer Fntastic dropped a splashy reveal trailer two years ago, is finally out. But players of The Day Before say the game that launched in early access Thursday isn’t the game they were promised, and are flooding Steam with thousands of negative reviews.

Some of those negative reviews are slamming The Day Before for bugs, crashes, poor performance, and multiplayer server issues, which isn’t uncommon for a newly launched PC game — especially one released in an early access state.

Players seem more upset that The Day Before isn’t as open-world — “this ‘open world’ is smaller than a New York apartment,” one Steam review reads — or as massively multiplayer as the game’s early marketing lead them to believe. Players and streamers who are playing the game say it’s more of an extraction shooter, à la Tom Clancy’s The Division, without the balance or depth of similar shooters.

Other criticisms decry how there are no melee weapons in The Day Before, an unusual exclusion for a game where players are scavenging for resources, in which ammunition would conceivably be scarce. There’s also no vaulting over small objects or the ability to climb ladders, players have complained. An early trailer for The Day Before promised explorable buildings, but players have pointed out that very few of them can be entered. “It just seems kinda boring right now,” said YouTube streamer Force, who has been covering the game in depth for the past year, during a livestream of the game.

On X, developer Fntastic has at least acknowledged The Day Before’s server woes. “Overload on North American servers. The servers are working. Fills up too quickly,” the studio said in a post after the game launched on Steam. According to Steam’s most played stats, The Day Before peaked at over 38,000 players on Thursday.

The Day Before was revealed in 2021, with an original launch date planned for the following year. The original teaser for the game quickly drew interest and comparisons to The Last of Us and The Division, in part because the game’s title treatment and artwork seemed to borrow heavily from those post-apocalyptic games. Some viewers of the game’s first trailer expressed skepticism that the game was real or would ultimately deliver on its promises — in part because Fntastic was a relatively unknown developer who had primarily worked on much simpler-looking indie games.

Fntastic wound up delaying The Day Before multiple times. The studio also faced a trademark dispute over the game’s name — a dispute that resulted in the game being delisted from Steam briefly. Additionally, the developer raised eyebrows for what it described as its “workplace culture that relies on the philosophy of volunteering” — meaning that some developers who worked on The Day Before weren’t paid for their efforts.

But The Day Before is finally out, and it seems like it will continue to be a work in progress. Polygon has reached out to Fntastic for comment on the initial response to its game and will update when the studio responds.

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