The editors of 3DNews decided to figure out what is happening with the promising MMO shooter in the open world The Day Before, which has been surrounded by solid negativity lately. To do this, we got in touch with several anonymous sources who wished to remain anonymous, who have information about the project itself and its production.
Recall that The Day Before is a game by the Yakut studio Fntastic and Mytona publishing house. At the announcement in 2021, she attracted attention with impressive trailers and for several months even topped the rating of the most desired on Steam, but over time, and due to the prolonged silence of the developers, she began to raise more and more questions.
Less than a month and a half before release, on January 25, Fntastic announces an 8-month postponement and loss of The Day Before from Steam due to strange trademark issues, but already on February 2 publishes a 10-minute gameplay video (due to copyright infringement). trademark blocked).
The video failed to impress the public and even made some question the existence of The Day Before as such. Later, suspicions of copying Call of Duty and The Last of Us trailers were added to this. The developers responded evasively to criticism: they promised to help small studios fight fakes.
Where is the truth? 3DNews informants tried to answer this question. Let’s start with how Fntastic itself works and treats its employees.
Life in plastic, it’s Fntastic
All three of our sources told us that before joining The Day Before, rookies go through «some manger» — this is how one of the informants described the work on the multiplayer hide-and-seek game Propnight, which Fntastic launched in December 2021.
Already at the introductory briefing, new employees are introduced to the concept of volunteering (read more about it here and here), which, according to our sources, in the understanding of Fntastic management means «free overtime». Working hours are not specified in the contract, so that later it would be impossible to make claims.
Overtime at Fntastic applies not only to ordinary employees, but also to department heads. On a rare weekend for ordinary employees (after a major update, Propnight was given a break for three days), for example, leading developers «still [трудились]» And «Crunched a lot more».
The authorities are aware of dissatisfaction and are generous with promises, but they always find a reason for processing: there is an emergency when all of a sudden «need everyone»a new sponsor appears, or an opportunity is unexpectedly announced for which you need to work a little more, seven days a week and late into the night.
At least when working on Propnight, if an employee stays up late (after 11:00 p.m.), they are allowed to come in later the next day. At the same time, Moscow workers are allowed to leave much («six o’clock») earlier than the same Yakut. Those who are not «volunteering»criticized behind the eyes and may even be fired.
One source claims that Fntastic staff turnover is high, layoffs (including scandalous ones) are tried to be hushed up instantly, and you can lose your place in the studio even for one «the idea of working on the side». The specialists preparing newcomers to work on The Day Before, passing «baton»quit «in sequence».
How is the development of The Day Before
Judging by reports from our sources, the mood in The Day Before team is not the most pleasant: «moral at zero», «There is an atmosphere of hopelessness and despair». Despite the fact that, until very recently, the release was announced for March 1, in the development of the game «still total chaos».
All three informants see the main problem in the lack of clear planning and incompetence of the top of Fntastic «in all aspects». The Day Before trademark confusion is not a cover for the transfer, but an example of inept management on the part of the studio’s management.
Fntastic co-founders Eduard and Aisen Gotovtsev make many key and minor decisions based solely on their own conclusions, and not on expert advice, analytics or specific indicators. Much in the development of The Day Before depends on «the mood of the brothers themselves».
“Decisions made yesterday can be canceled in the evening of the current day, and the whole course of development can turn around from this”, — one of our sources describes the Gotovtsevs’ technique. This also applies to the work done by specific employees, which the next day can go under the knife with the wording «yeah stupid».
The source gave the following example: less than two weeks before the release of a major build, the team was told to introduce new mechanics into the game, despite the fact that, due to the fragility of The Day Before code, this action threatened “break everything that was configured for the build” and to tear away some of the other employees from the pressing tasks.
Due to the whims of management, workers have to do things as soon as possible, and when the result does not suit the Gotovtsevs, they begin to get angry (raise their voice or use foul language), forgetting that they themselves instructed to do just that. First of all, ordinary employees suffer from all this.
As for recent borrowings from Call of Duty and The Last of Us, The Day Before is really created with an eye on Western blockbusters. «Do like them», is one of the most frequent requests of the Gotovtsevs to the team. The brothers agree to proposals from the outside only if there is supporting material in other AAA games.
The mouthpiece of the views of the Gotovtsevs in The Day Before team are game designers who combine their core duties with project management in their areas, control over ordinary employees (instead of answering their questions «Why do it?» refer to the decisions of the authorities) and testing the game.
In response to a question about how Fntastic got the money for such an ambitious game, a source told 3DNews that in addition to marketing partnerships (see NVIDIA) with funding for the development of The Day Before, the Gotovtsev brothers are being helped by their «Friends» and Mytona, which is also headed by two brothers from Yakutia.
By the way, Fntastic agreed with NVIDIA to hold an extremely important closed playtest for The Day Before on March 1, which will decide the future of cooperation. If successful, NVIDIA will help «restore reputation» games. No proper testing has been done so far.
Is there a game?
The good news from our conversation with sources is that at least the 40-second (attached above) and 10-minute videos of The Day Before published by Fntastic at the beginning of the month are quite real. Another thing is that they do not show anything significant.
According to informants, most of the elements and mechanics that were shown earlier were made specifically for trailers, and not the game itself, while the direct assembly of The Day Before into something solid started only at the end of 2021 (before the release of Propnight) or the beginning of 2022.
One of our informants reports that Fntastic management is not thinking about adding anything other than zombies, players and vendors to The Day Before. A hired screenwriter, for example, only dealt with lines for merchants. The quest system supposedly «once written»but there is not a single hint of it either in the code or in the game itself.
The whistleblower warns that Fntastic risks bringing even more negativity to The Day Before discussions. The studio wants to release the game in its raw form, and bring it to the proper level of quality with patches only after the release: «Strongly do not recommend buying this».
Announced at the end of January, the postponement of The Day Before to November 10, the source says, will not help matters. In its current form, when «everything works on crutches», the game will take about a year to develop all the necessary mechanics. About the same amount should be spent on polishing content and gameplay.
Time alone, however, cannot save The Day Before. Fntastic needs to change the whole system of work, «to shovel» all existing code (now it only complicates the life of the team), stop reworking (or at least start paying for overtime) and change the approach to management.
In other words, The Day Before still has a chance to become a really good game, but the efforts of ordinary employees are undermined by the Gotovtsev brothers, who lead the development ship from side to side and do not let it get on any particular course.
The Day Before is being created primarily for PC (due to trademark issues, the Steam page is still unavailable), which is expected on November 10 this year, as well as for PS5, Xbox Series X and S. Fntastic promises Unreal Engine graphics 5, ray-traced reflections and support for DLSS 3 scaling.
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