Just four days after The Day Before's disastrous launch, the studio abruptly closed.
The Day Before has a bit of a weird history. We recently summarized it here, but the gist is that it's an open-world survival MMO—or at least, that's how its combative and zealous developer describes it—that has attracted both hype and skepticism since it was announced, with some questioning whether it even existed at one point. After a fairly long delay apparently related to a trademark dispute, The Day Before proved them wrong and finally launched in early access on Steam today as promised.
As suggested by the "Overwhelmingly Negative" Steam reviews, however, that launch is not going great.
Like most online games, The Day Before's most pressing problem is getting people into its servers without errors. But some of those who have gotten into the post-apocalyptic world—The Day Before has 32,000 concurrents at the time of writing, and it's currently the most viewed game on Twitch—are saying in the Steam reviews that it's not what they expected. Rather than an "open-world MMO" as it's described on the Steam page, they say it's an extraction shooter like Escape From Tarkov, and not a good one.
"No open-world survival elements, it's just an extraction shooter, and a bad one at that," wrote one Steam reviewer.
"This is not a Open World MMO, This Is a small area extraction shooter," wrote another.
Genres are tricky, and mean different things to different people. Destiny 2 didn't fall into the traditional MMO box when it launched, for example, but over time people started referring to it as one. So with the caveat that there is no consensus on what an MMO is or isn't, judging by what we're seeing on Twitch, The Day Before doesn't look like what we'd normally refer to as an open world MMO.
The way players drop into the map, loot, shoot each other, then extract to a hub with vendors and quests essentially describes an extraction shooter, with the key difference that The Day Before has no match timer, so you can stay out in the open world as long as you want.
On The Day Before's official Discord server, players are making the same complaint. "It's an extraction shooter," wrote one person, and "not open world" and "not MMO."
Shortly after The Day Before launched, developer Fntastic temporarily paused access to the Discord server. "We've made the decision to temporarily lock the channel for several reasons," wrote a mod. "Firstly, it's essential to let things calm down due to the overwhelming toxicity that we currently cannot manage effectively. Secondly, we need to channel all bug reports to the development team, and we can't accomplish this if we aren't allowed to share those reports."
Access was reopened after a couple hours, and for now at least it's possible to get in. Slowmode, which prevents Discord channels from being spammed—users can only post one message every two hours—remains in effect.
We're still struggling to just play The Day Before ourselves. Judging only by the menus we've browsed while trying to connect to a server, it doesn't seem like Fntastic was prepared for a sizable launch. There are a limited number of servers for North America, Europe, and Asia, and you can't see how many people are connected before joining—you can only see if a server has "high" population or if it's "full."
Trouble is, even the high population servers are too crammed to join at the moment. There's no server queue either, meaning the only option is to refresh and join repeatedly and hope you snag a spot.
We'll post our impressions of The Day Before as soon as we've actually been able to play it a bit.
It happens that another survival game launched today to millions of concurrent players, and it's free: Lego Fortnite is surprisingly deep for what's technically a mode within Fortnite, complete with 8-player co-op, a tech tree, and persistent servers.