The Day Before was pitched as an open-world multiplayer survival game that looked to be part survival horror and part extraction shooter. However, after a short-lived stint in early access on Steam, the game and its developer disappeared.
For thousands of fans, The Day Before looked promising from the moment the game’s first trailer was revealed, let alone once it had moved into Unreal Engine 5. It showed a gritty post-apocalyptic world in which players would explore together or alone, competing with others to find the best loot possible and escape from the flesh-eating zombies roaming the city with it safely. Unfortunately, development was stopped after a few days in early access, and the developer has completely shut down.
Was the Day Before a Scam or Not?
It’s impossible to say whether The Day Before was a scam or not. At the time of writing, December 12, 2023, the game’s servers are still live, but no new players can purchase it. There are close to 20,000 negative Steam reviews for the title, giving it the Overwhelmingly Negative rating, and the developer has issued a statement explaining it is shutting down due to the game’s failure and a need to pay its debts.
The developer under the name Fntastic, along with its parent company Mytona, has issued a statement explaining how the pair are working to refund every player who purchased The Day Before. Shortly after those statements were made, YouTuber Bigfry noticed one of Fntastic’s games, The Wild Eight, had been moved to a new developer, Eight Points.
This should be taken with a pinch of salt though. It’s unclear if The Wild Eight was ever moved over to Fntastic, because Eight Points is the old name the developer operated under when it released this game. We’ve delved deeper into the details in the section at the bottom of this article.
However, none of this means the game was a scam. Gamepur has reached out to developer Fntastic and requested an interview, giving staff a chance to tell their side of the story. While we haven’t heard back from them, we’ll update this article with their response if we do.
We’ve explained the entire story of what happened to The Day Before in the section at the bottom of this article. Within that narrative are recent statements from the developer and its parent company showing good will to players wanting a refund, and we suggest everyone read those to get the full picture.
When Will The Day Before’s Servers Shut Down?
The Day Before’s servers will be shut down on January 22, 2024. This was announced in a post on Twitter through the game’s official account. At the time of writing, that leaves roughly one month for those who still have access to the game to record as much of it as possible for preservation purposes.
How to Get a Refund for The Day Before
To get a refund for The Day Before, players must request a refund under Steeam’s policy. This means the game must have been played for less than a total of two hours, and the request must be made within 14 days of purchase.
Both developer Fntastic and its parent company/investor have clarified on Twitter that they will work to get every player who wants a refund their money back. However, it’s not clear if this means the companies will work with Valve and abide by Steam’s refund policy or go beyond that and refund all players regardless of how long they’ve played the game.
A more recent post from the game’s official Twitter account claims that Steam should automatically refund all players before January 22, 2024 because that’s when the game’s servers will be shutting down forever.
We’ve included all statements and a full timeline of the events leading up to and after The Day Before’s release in the section at the bottom of this article.
Valve won’t have paid Fntastic for every purchase as soon as it was made, meaning the money is still held by Steam’s owner and creator. Given the circumstances surrounding this launch, a lot of fans and games journalists, including Second Wind’s Nick Calandra, believe players will be given their money back.
What Happened to The Day Before?
The Day Before was announced with a trailer via IGN’s YouTube channel in 2021. While some suggest Fntastic paid for IGN’s coverage, we don’t know the details, so we can’t confirm if that’s true. IGN has been the main source of information on the game from that initial point, though.
News posts about The Day Before were few and far between from 2021 to its launch on December 7, 2023. We covered most of the announcements related to the title, including its strange disappearance from Steam for a while due to a copyright claim. This caused one of several delays for the game, which was a warning sign to many fans that it might not live up to their expectations.
Around the start of November 2023, Fntastic began to ramp up for the game’s release in early access, which was the first time fans heard about the move to Steam’s early access platform. However, most people seemed willing to go along with this because it meant a cheaper buy-in price and continuous development until the 1.0 release.
When The Day Before was released, it received one of the most negative responses we’ve seen people give to a game they were looking forward to. It’s hard to say these responses were unjustified either, with regular crashes, an empty world, and zombies exploding in size and clipping through every piece of environment available. It looked like a mess.
The day after the game’s release, Fntastic explained an update was coming that would introduce server and AI fixes. We can’t see any evidence of this on The Day Before’s Steam page, but that doesn’t mean the update wasn’t deployed on the server side to address the same areas.
Then, on December 11, 2023, the official Fntastic Twitter account posted the statement shown at the top of this article stating that “The day Before has failed financially,” and that “we don’t have the funding to continue the work.” The statement adds that all income received is being used to pay off debt to the company’s partners, but it’s unclear whether that refers to Steam income from The Day Before or the company’s other titles.
Almost as soon as this statement was posted, the company’s CEO, Eduard Gotovtsev, deleted his Twitter and LinkedIn accounts, every channel apart from general in the official Discord disappeared, and a Medium post about being a volunteer at the company was deleted. Even the YouTube channel was wiped, despite videos of The Day Before existing elsewhere and documenting every glitch in the game.
Towards the end of the same day that Fntastic announced its closure, parent company and investor Mytona posted a statement on Twitter explaining how it would be working to refund players who choose to opt for a refund.
Some of the original posts have been deleted. Where possible we’ve tried to include new links to posts but many have simply been pulled from social media.
Fntastic added to this with another statement along the same lines. It seems as though the two companies are being transparent about the fact that Valve still holds all the money from sales. Therefore, it should be easy to process refunds for any players who want one.
Adjacent to this openness about refunds, Fntastic seems to be moving its games, which are listed in its original statement, to a new developer. As spotted by YouTuber Bigfy, The Wild Eight, which was released by Fntastic in 2017, is now on Steam under the developer Eight Points. This data comes directly from Steam DB, and can be verified on the game’s Steam page.
This new name isn’t actually anything new. Developer Fntastic was called Eight Points Digital in 2017 when it released The Wild Eight. The developer’s CEO explained the name change in a news post for The Wild Eight on January 26, 2017. Gotovtsev outlined how the name Fntastic means “breaking the boundaries and art of imagination.”
All of Fntastic’s other games remain under the same developer name, so Eurogamer reached out to The Wild Eight’s publisher, Hypetrain Digital, for clarification on what was happening. The outlet received confirmation that the name change was, in fact, something the publisher had done to try to distance the game from Fntastic in an effort to avoid needless negative reviews.
While Fntastic did developer and release The Wild Eight initially, it hasn’t been involved with the game for years since that 2017 launch. Hypetrain Digital has been running development of the game ever since it left early access. Fntastic has been keen to point this out on Twitter, referencing a GameRant article with the same information.
On December 12, 2023, PCGamesN published an interview with Wholf, the former volunteer community manager assistant and volunteer lead for The Day Before. They claim they worked incredibly hard and tried their best to bring on developers with the most skill for the game, but in the end, were fired quietly with little more than a “thank you.”
The most interesting part of the interview, which we recommend everyone reads all the way through, is the discussion about how development and attitudes would change around the time trailers were released for The Day Before. “For every trailer, gameplay, or video in general that was released, we all had our thoughts but nobody wanted to speak against them.” The section that hits home the most conveys the pain this person clearly feels about two years of their unpaid time feeling as though it was for nothing. “I hope everyone is receiving their money back. I also hope someone will file a lawsuit or something because of all these lies.”
Amid more news being published around The Day Before, the Lost Media Busters Twitter account made an interesting post, which it has now deleted, that indicated how the game could be desirable in one way. The post pointed out how the game now counts as lost media, so some internet archivists and preservationists may want to get their hands on the code to show to future generations. It would certainly make for a good story.
As we mentioned, the post has been deleted after a few hours of being live. While we didn’t see any negative comments, it’s possible that some negative replies were sent, and that could have been enough to justify deleting it to avoid creating too negative a space. It’s hard to argue that it doesn’t deserve preservation, though. Especially since the completely broken Atari version of ET, which was buried in a desert, was worthy of being rediscovered and preserved.
A second developer interview about The Day Before was published by Dualshockers on December 12, 2023. This interview reiterates a lot of what was said in PCGamesN’s, but the developer adds one key piece of information from their point of view that the game was never meant to be an MMO in the traditional sense.
They clarify this by explaining how servers were always going to be limited to 100 players, which they don’t class as the same level as an MMO. “No one from our team knows why they called it an MMO. It was always a third-person shooter with some co-op mechanics. Not one RPG mechanic was implemented — skills were an idea, and they were in the prototype stage, but nothing more.”
Dualshockers’ source adds that Escape from Tarkov, DayZ, and Rust are all inspirations for the game. While these games have live elements, we’d say it’s a stretch to call them MMOs in the same league as World of Warcraft and Destiny 2. We certainly couldn’t see events such as The Dawning appearing annually.
Following these interviews, Steam keys for The Day Before started to rise in price. The reason for this, we believe, is that YouTubers and other content creators wanted to capture as much footage of the game as possible before it disappeared. However, at over $400 on some websites, buying a key for a dying game is a tall order.
As mentioned above, the announcement of the closure of The Day Before’s servers came soon after this. What no one is talking about, though, is how the resale of keys is now scamming people for what many are calling a scam of a game. The person who purchased the key on Steam will get their money back automatically from Valve, but the person who buys that key from them for hundreds more dollars won’t ever have a penny refunded.
It’s never nice to see scalpers taking advantage, and this feels especially egregious because it’s around the holidays. Those who want to learn more about The Day Before can do so through the plethora of YouTube coverage that’s come from many outlets in the weeks following the game’s collapse.
On January 24, 2024, those following The Day Before’s server closure noticed a new statement posted on Fntastic’s website. It addresses a few of the developments that happened after the game’s release, such as alleged ex-employees speaking out. There was also a statement that insisted the game’s failure was down to poor public reception and a campaign against it, though that statement has been pulled.