The Day Before controversies continue as former employee says it was never an MMO

The Day Before controversies continue as former employee says it was never an MMO

The strange situation that is The Day Before keeps getting stranger.

Following the news that developer Fntastic was closing down with immediate effect, a former employee has shed more insight onto the studio and The Day Before’s development.

Speaking with DualShockers, the anonymous source said The Day Before was never intended to be an MMO, despite its marketing stating otherwise. It was actually meant to be inspired by “a mix of Rust, DayZ and Escape from Tarkov,” they said.

“No one from our team knows why they called it an MMO,” the former developer explained. “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.”

Later in the conversation, the source elaborated on this point further. “Technically speaking, there were no RPG mechanics implemented,” they said. “There was no possible way to put a lot of people in the world or make the world bigger. From the beginning, the idea was that servers would be under 100 people – that is not an MMO. No clans, no raids, closed hubs. It’s been that way for over two years.”

When the source was asked about the direction the marketing side of The Day Before took compared to the actual product, they said “no one could explain that”. The source added there was a lack of communication between the wider team and Fntastic’s founders Eduard and Aisen Gotovtsev. Reportedly, the founders “made every gameplay and design decision” and anyone who disagreed with them risked losing their job.

“A lot of good ideas from our team were disregarded because [the Gotovtsev’s] didn’t approve them,” the source said, highlighting voice chat as an example.

“Anyone who complained too much was kicked off the team. A lot of stupid ideas were implemented, removed and re-implemented because the brothers thought they knew better than us about what people wanted. A huge amount of time and work was wasted because jobs had to be done and re-done,” they went on.

“Disagreeing with the founders’ opinions, even if it seemed obvious, risked you being fired. When it came to heated disputes, contracts were usually terminated. Employees often avoided direct conflict with them because they were afraid of losing their jobs.”

The former developer said The Day Before’s team had no further information on why the studio closed beyond some purchasing statistics and the game being “financially unsuccessful”. They suggested the ultimate decision to close came from publisher Mytona, stating they “didn’t think the CEOs got any money from sales” of The Day Before.

The source did, however, confirm earlier reports from reddit that around 200k copies of The Day Before were sold. Of those, around 90k have been refunded so far.

Screenshot of The Day Before from the game's Steam page.

Image credit: Fntastic

Meanwhile, according to financial records which were filed with Singapore authorities (where Fntastic’s office was ‘based’ – more on that in a moment), the studio made S$3.4m in revenue last year. As shared by Yahoo Gaming SEA, the studio was left with roughly S$840k after taxes and various other expenses. Both of its founders were paid a total of S$200k and around S$308k was used for travel expenses. It does not seem that any Singapore-based employees were paid for.

Yahoo Gaming SEA reports both Eduard and Aisen Gotovtsev invested S$50k each as capital, but what this money was put towards is unclear. As Yahoo Gaming SEA noted, it could have been for work or residency purposes. Fntastic did not receive grants for its projects in Singapore.

Then there is the office space itself. According to Yahoo Gaming SEA, Fntastic’s office was a co-op working space in Balestier. The co-op’s centre manager told Yahoo Gaming SEA Fntastic only really used this location as a virtual office space.

Earlier this week, publisher Mytona apologised for The Day Before and said it will work with Steam to open refunds.

Our Ed played The Day Before, and was left unimpressed by the whole thing. “I quickly switched it off,” he wrote. “It’s clear this is an incredibly basic game with little to it and, as the Steam reviews suggest, does not live up to the expectations set by Fntastic.”

For more on the game, be sure to check out Eurogamer’s TikTok all about The Day Before.

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