Fntastic’s ambitious open-world survival title, The Day Before, has become emblematic of a video game scam that has sent shockwaves through the gaming community. Released on December 7th, the game’s descent from anticipation to infamy has been rapid, culminating in the surprising announcement on December 11th that Fntastic would be closing its doors.
The Day Before, positioned as an open-world survival game akin to The Division, promised a dystopian world fraught with chaos and danger at every turn. However, its release on December 7th was met with near-universal criticism, with reviewers decrying the game for its poor quality, rampant bugs, and allegations of flipped assets. Just four days after its release, Fntastic dropped a bombshell, announcing the closure of their studio. In an official statement on Twitter, the studio admitted to the financial failure of “The Day Before” and revealed that the income generated would be used to settle outstanding debts. This raised questions about where the considerable revenue from over 18,000 game sales went, especially considering the game’s meager 20% approval rating on the Steam platform.
While unverified rumours hinted at over 200,000 initial sales, with 90,000 refunds issued, suspicions lingered about the possibility of a classic rug-pull style scam. The studio’s closure could potentially affect its obligation to honor Steam refunds. The situation was further complicated by rumors circulating before the game’s release that Fntastic was failing to pay its employees.
Despite Fntastic’s assurances that they were building a legitimate game, evidence suggests that The Day Before was, in fact, a scam. In the aftermath, the studio’s claim that the closure was due to financial failure rather than intentional deception adds another layer of complexity to an already convoluted narrative. Players who initially defended the game as not being a scam found themselves disillusioned as the truth unfolded. The game’s servers, still operational for the time being, continue to host a surprising number of players despite the broken promises and deceptive marketing. The final product, a far cry from what was promised, featured a city assembled with purchased assets, malfunctioning player-versus-player battles, and numerous technical issues.
Fntastic’s abrupt closure and the unraveling of The Day Before serve as a cautionary tale for gamers and industry observers alike. The deception, broken promises, and the financial fallout paint a grim picture of the challenges faced by smaller development teams. As the gaming industry navigates through troubled waters, vigilance and skepticism may become necessary tools to protect against future instances of deception and disappointment.