‘The Day Before’ has been billed as a massive online post-apocalypse zombie shooter. It is the second most wish-listed game on Steam and has lapped up serious levels of hype. There’s only one catch – nobody is sure if it actually exists.
When I mention video game disasters, what comes to mind?
Most of us would probably list buggy, unplayable games like Cyberpunk 2077 and Fallout 76 as the biggest examples, both of which were unacceptable messes at launch. Others like No Mans Sky were guilty of overpromising and underdelivering until they were salvaged by free, annual updates.
While these titles were indeed an initial car crash, they did all exist at the very least. Despite their shortcomings, all were made of unique assets and created by earnest developers. We knew all these titles were original and built from the ground up.
The same cannot be said for The Day Before, a supposed online post-apocalyptic shooter that was originally scheduled for release in June 2022. Until very recently, developers Fntastic had told us little about the title, despite considerable hype and consumer interest.
All we knew was that it was an apparently huge, multiplayer title with a focus on zombies and gunplay. Even a month before the intended launch date, we still had nothing in the way of details. Combat systems, pricing, mechanics, and everything else in between was ambiguous at best.
A lack of genuine information lead to a growing suspicion that The Day Before was not in fact a real product.
Speculation was so rampant that Fntastic released a ten minute ‘gameplay’ video last week to prove it was working on something tangible. However, a lack of an obvious HUD, quest information, story, characters, NPCs, and enemies has only further cemented the feeling that this game could be entirely fictitious.
So, is The Day Before real? Is it a product we will actually be able to play eventually? Or is this another case of effective internet marketing hype overriding substance?
What is ‘The Day Before’ and how much do we know about the game?
Before we descend further into the rabbit hole of developer madness, let’s run through everything we do know so far.
As mentioned, the title is being developed by Fntastic, an ‘all-remote’ company that has a focus on ‘volunteering as a main life philosophy’, at least according to its website. It has previously developed a handful of now-abandoned early access indie games, a mobile game, and a multiplayer horror title called Propnight that is currently available on Steam.
The Day Before is billed as a ‘open-world MMO survival set in a deadly, post-pandemic America’. It seems to feature walkable city streets and woodland areas, with many assets and areas heavily inspired by current gen survival games.
So far, the game has been delayed twice. It was originally supposed to launch in June last year, but was moved to March 1st, 2023. This has now been shifted again to November 10th, with Fntastic citing a copyright argument over the franchise name as the main reason.
For now, Steam has delisted the game as a result of the ongoing dispute. Fntastic says it is developing the open world in Unreal Engine 5, and is supposedly looking at Xbox Series S/X and PS5 releases after the primary PC version is shipped.
We have only been shown meaningful gameplay a few times. The first reveal was almost two years ago, where a character can be seen driving an off-road vehicle through muddy grassland, sweeping through cornfields, and breaking into abandoned homes. IGN described it as a ‘cross between The Last Of Us and The Division.’
This demonstration seemed to receive mostly positive feedback, though it has a similarly eerie and undercooked vibe as the most recent showcasing.
Criticism for the latest gameplay trailer has been more fierce, given growing scepticism toward the validity of The Day Before as an actual product. Assuming it is genuine, it seems players will have access to weapon modification, open-ended city exploration, and spend time looting cars and buildings.
Beyond these basic fundamentals, specifics on anything concrete are few and far between.