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The Day Before developer shuts down, days after game’s release

Fntastic says its ‘zombie MMO’ has ‘failed financially’

Artwork of The Day Before, showing a Black man in survival gear wearing winter clothing Image: Fntastic/Mytona
Michael McWhertor is a journalist with more than 17 years of experience covering video games, technology, movies, TV, and entertainment.

Last Thursday, the studio behind “post-apocalyptic open-world MMO survival” game The Day Before launched the game that had become Steam’s most-wishlisted title based on a splashy reveal trailer. On Monday, the studio said it was shutting down and that no more updates will be released for The Day Before.

Developer Fntastic announced its closure on X in a statement that read, “The Day Before has failed financially, and we lack the funds to continue. All income received is being used to pay off debts to our partners.”

The Day Before launched in a rough, early access state on Steam, without the gameplay or features that players expected based on a series of trailers released by Fntastic. What was pitched as an open-world MMO set in a world of zombies was more like an extraction shooter, critics of the game said. Early reviews from players were harsh and unforgiving. On Steam, The Day Before now has more than 18,000 reviews skewing “overwhelmingly negative.” It’s now one of the lowest rated Steam games of all time.

Fntastic was suspiciously quiet as negative player response rolled it. After launching The Day Before, the studio posted just twice on X, saying that its North American servers were working but filling too quickly, and that a “huge update, including server and AI fixes” was coming the day after launch. After peaking with a little over 30,000 concurrent players on launch day, The Day Before active player counts dipped to less than 3,000, according to Steam Charts.

Fntastic said it doesn’t know what the future of The Day Before — or its other game on Steam, Propnight — will be, “but the servers will remain operational” for now.

In its announcement on X, Fntastic offered an apology for not delivering on expectations after defending its work on The Day Before.

We invested all our efforts, resources, and man-hours into the development of The Day Before, which was our first huge game. We really wanted to release new patches to reveal the full potential of the game, but unfortunately, we don’t have the funding to continue the work.

It’s important to note that we didn’t take any money from the public during the development of The Day Before; there were no pre-order or crowdfunding campaigns. We worked tirelessly for five years, pouring our blood, sweat, and tears into the game.

At the moment, the future of The Day Before and Propnight is unknown, but the servers will remain operational.

We apologize if we didn’t meet your expectations. We did everything within our power, but unfortunately, we miscalculated our capabilities. Creating games is an incredibly challenging endeavor.

The Day Before was announced in 2021, with a launch originally planned for the following year. The game’s first teaser quickly drew interest, with comparisons to The Last of Us and Tom Clancy’s The Division; the game’s setting and artwork seemed to borrow heavily from those post-apocalyptic games. Some viewers of the game’s debut trailer expressed skepticism, however, that The Day Before was real and would deliver on its promises — in part because Fntastic was a relatively unknown developer who had primarily worked on indie games of much smaller scope.

Fntastic delayed The Day Before multiple times. The studio said it 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 on its now defunct website 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.

Update: Hours after announcing the studio’s closure, The Day Before has been removed from sale on Steam.

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