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More Details on The Day's Before Collapse Emerge, And They Aren't Pretty

The information surrounding developer Fntastic’s December game release, The Day Before, just got a lot worse, according to reports from German game outlets
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The two sites published their findings from investigations today, explaining that they spoke with 16 former employees from the studio as well as one
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and seven employees from publisher Mytona to get to the bottom of what happened behind the scenes to result in last year’s disastrous release.

According to the reports, The Day Before wasn’t always the highly ambitious game that had been pitched to players for years. It had humble beginnings, with 10 members of a 20-person team originally told that they would be working on a top-secret but small-scale survival game with a wintery aesthetic and cartoonish visuals. These early details promised a game with a short story, but the changes that soon followed eventually snowballed into the project that would become The Day Before.

Alterations demanding switches to more realistic visuals and larger areas reportedly came on suddenly, with the sites’ sources saying that much of the development team was “disappointed” by the changes because they were happy with the original plan. As the public caught wind of this ambitious new project, management at Fntastic leaned in on chasing industry trends.

On-the-fly changes coincided with other game releases as The Day Before developers were told to imitate features such as the character creator from popular titles like Baldur’s Gate 3, Grand Theft Auto Online, and Hogwarts Legacy. Changes were so frequent that there were essentially three versions of The Day Before during its development that were all completely different.

Unrealistic deadlines, overpromises, and unreasonable demands are said to all stem from Fntastic founders and brothers Eduard and Aisen Gotovtsev. Some sources say the two company heads would refer to the entire team as a “big family” just to turn around and put pressure on staff with spontaneous firings. These events were often used as a means to “motivate” the team, with one of the team’s five testers fired one week before after one of the brothers found a bug.

IGN has reached out to Fntastic for comment.

A team member’s removal was allegedly attributed to their “lack of will,” but simple mistakes reportedly came with a completely different threat: fines. Sources report instances of fines being handed out for small errors, such as when two individuals were asked to pay $1,930 for turning in “low quality” voice recordings. These practices persisted under relentless periods of crunch, with one employee saying that they never worked less than 16 hours a day: “Over the last year and a half, I haven't had a Saturday off, and for the last two months I haven't had a day off at all.”

Drastically extended workdays and zero off days for months seem to be common occurrences among the Fntastic staff, with one source saying they found themselves “begging for a few hours break just to find time for a shower or a meal.”

The Day Before finally came to the world on December 7, 2023 and was quickly followed by wave after wave of controversy.
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has since
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, declaring the project a financial failure. The studio then promised buyers refunds while
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: “This was our first big experience. Shit happens.”

It wasn’t long before the announcement came that the
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, with the game’s
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on January 22. In our
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, we said, “The Day Before is easily one of the worst games I’ve ever played, to the point where I’m afraid to continue running it on my PC – and if you didn’t manage to try it, you can count yourself as one of the lucky ones.”

Michael Cripe is a freelance contributor with IGN. He started writing in the industry in 2017 and is best known for his work at outlets such as The Pitch, The Escapist, OnlySP, and Gameranx.

Be sure to give him a follow on Twitter @MikeCripe.

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