Fntastic, maker of the comprehensively disastrous The Day Before, has released a statement to combat “misinformation” circulating online about the game and the circumstances of its collapse.
If you’ve forgotten, The Day Before was, once upon a time, the most wishlisted game on Steam. It was a zombie survival game that played Pied Piper to hungry fans before the entire thing collapsed under scrutiny, entailing a bizarre marketing campaign, numerous baffling public statements, a fight with a Korean calendar app, and the withdrawal of the game from sale four days after it finally released.
The game’s rocky road led plenty of onlookers to declare the entire project a scam of some sort, a claim that Fntastic has always strongly rejected. Now, it’s come out once again to push back on claims that it deceived people, attributing its short, strange life to a “hate campaign” orchestrated by “bloggers.”
Posted to Twitter, Fntastic’s statement claims that “certain bloggers made huge money by creating false content with huge titles from the very beginning,” creating “a gold rush among content creators” as others leapt aboard the bandwagon to bash the game.
“Remember the experiment where you’re asked to count pink objects in a room and then recall the blue ones?” continues the statement, “You won’t remember any. It’s all about focus.” In essence, that means that “The negative bias instilled by certain bloggers making money on hate affected perceptions of the game,” and Fntastic encourages readers to “Look at unbiased gameplay like Dr Disrespect’s stream at release,” noting that “despite the initial bugs and server issues, he liked the game.”
Alas, Dr Disrespect didn’t turn the game’s fortunes around, because—says Fntastic—”the hate campaign had already inflicted significant damage” (it’s worth noting that the Russian version of the statement goes even harder here, claiming that “hate had already destroyed the game”).
This is, to put it delicately, a revisionist reading of The Day Before’s history. While it’s true that online sentiment surrounding the game was deeply sceptical for months leading up to release, that’s largely down to Fntastic’s own actions.
Its trailers were deeply generic to the point that people accused them of straight-up copying other games, its long dispute with a calendar app made it subject to poorly explained last-minute delays, and when it finally did launch, Steam users instantly booted it into “Overwhelmingly negative” user review territory, and I don’t think you can plausibly claim that all of them were under the sway of a blogger-led hate campaign.
Fntastic writes that “after sales closed, many people wrote to us that bloggers had deceived them and they liked the game, and they asked for access” as evidence that people actually liked the game. It also points to the fact that codes for The Day Before are going for hundreds of dollars “on the black market” as an indication that the game is beloved in some quarters. To be frank, though, I’m fairly certain that’s a product of people wanting to experience the disaster for themselves.
The statement isn’t all about perfidious bloggers. Fntastic also addresses claims that it “deceived players,” writing “We didn’t take a penny from users, didn’t use crowdfunding, and didn’t offer pre-orders,” and that it “returned money to all players, including forcibly issuing refunds to those who did not request them,” in the aftermath of the game’s shutdown. “How many companies return money like that?” goes the statement.
Fntastic also says it still has a “great relationship” with The Day Before’s publisher Mytona, and denies “different stories about the development” told by people claiming to be former studio employees. “We’re unsure whether these employees are real or not, but we had an excellent relationship with our team.”
The studio concludes—and, perhaps, exits the stage of videogame history—with one last paragraph. “We are grateful to all the senders of mails who expressed support… Finally, we encourage you to subscribe to our social networks to know what will happen next.” Fntastic closed its doors four days after The Day Before released.
⚡Recently, a lot of misinformation has emerged on the Internet from supposedly anonymous sources. Fntastic provides an official response to these statements.#fntastic #thedaybefore pic.twitter.com/zRKWQ1nfmrJanuary 24, 2024