Well the “The Day Before isn’t a scam” crowd is not looking too hot today. Four days after launch, when The Day Before attracted half a million viewers on Steam after selling early access for $40, its developer Fntastic is shutting down completely, according to a new statement.
The just-released announcement says that The Day Before “failed financially” and that the income that was brought in is being used to pay off debts. They say they cannot afford to patch the extremely broken game, which launched in an entirely different genre than was originally promised, an extraction shooter rather than a survival MMO.
The message goes on to say that The Day Before did not take any crowdfunding development and they worked hard for five years to get the game out. But of course they did take the $40 of everyone who paid for the game in these last four days of launch.
They say “at the moment” The Day Before’s servers will remain operational, where somehow, there are still 4,400 concurrent players with a 7,600 peak the last 24 hours. Its all-time high was 38,000 concurrents on Steam.
This whole thing was just an utter nightmare. Incredibly misleading trailers showing a game that simply did not exist, where I am guessing a significant amount of money was invested in making those spots look genuine. And even if they’re saying that revenue is going toward paying their debts, any non-refunded cash was essentially just thrown away by players. I would venture a guess that there were a colossal amount of refunds that decimated any income they did receive, once players realized what it was they actually bought.
The final product was a bizarre, broken mess. A Division-like city using bought assets that featured maybe 3-4 zombies in an hour play session. Player versus player battles were glitched and wrecked by server issues. Occasionally players would lose their entire inventory and need to start over. It was both A) nothing that was promised and B) released utterly broken.
In a year when there have been thousands of layoffs in the gaming industry, it’s theoretically tough to see a studio shut down. But Fntastic? It’s a bit of a different case, and I don’t know what they were doing the last five years but they repeatedly lied about what the game was and charged players $40 for a completely different, broken product. Now, four days later, they are taking the money and running, no matter if they’re spending it on “debts” or not. This was a scam. Maybe the game did “exist,” but it was a scam all the same. Even the studios website has been completely erased and replaced by the shutdown message. They have also scrubbed their entire YouTube channel.
This always smelled rotten from the start, and while smaller dev teams should often be supported in their endeavors, I think players have to realize AAA-level promises among studios of this size and a totally unknown reputation cannot be trusted. Really do not want to see this happen again.