The Day Before, previously Steam's second most-wishlisted game, has been relatively quiet since it was brought low by a trademark dispute from a calendar app called, well, TheDayBefore. The dispute saw its Steam page delisted, its YouTube videos taken down, and its developer, Fntastic, put out a series of strange and ill-judged comments that had fans wondering if the entire game's development was some kind of elaborate hoax.
But Fntastic co-founders Eduard and Aisen Gotovtsev have now shed a bit more light on what's going in during an interview with WellPlayed, where they addressed the ongoing trademark problems, the studio's use of volunteer labour, and dropped a new trailer that once again succeeded in conveying very little information at all.
Asked about the game's legal situation and the status of its Steam release, Fntastic (or one of its co-founders, but which one is unclear) said that it believes that "power is in the truth," and that it was an "indisputable fact" that the studio was "the first to start using this name related to the video game". I suspect TheDayBefore (the calendar app) might have something to say about that, though, given its maker's insistence that it has, in fact, been using the name since the app was first distributed in 2010.
The Gotovtsevs aren't letting that get to them, though. They went on to reassure everyone that The Day Before's "Steam page will be reinstated soon". "We’ll be back at the top of the wishlists," they asserted. I don't know about you, but I'm not exactly encouraged. Fntastic's public communications have always felt like the studio is operating on some kind of separate plane of reality, and this doesn't seem any different.
Whatever the studio says, TheDayBefore (again, the calendar app, god this is confusing) has been around for a while, and it does seem to have the rights to some relevant trademarks. I don't think it'll be quite so easy for Fntastic to sort out, but I suppose I'm not an intellectual property lawyer. Neither are the Gotovtsevs, which is probably why they say that trademark issues are now being handled by a "newly-formed New Zealand joint venture with our publisher Mytona, aptly named MytonaFntastic".
Fntastic has also drawn fire for its use of volunteer labour on games like Propnight and The Day Before, and WellPlayed asked the co-founders about that too. This prompted the pair to boast about Fntastic's "innovative work culture, based on the philosophy of volunteerism," which has seen "more than 300 volunteers representing 30 nationalities" sign up to do "activities they genuinely enjoy".
The co-founders said that volunteers are working on "creating easter eggs" and that the "range and volume of tasks will expand" as the game's release date of November 10 approaches.
Not a great answer, if you ask me. I get the distinct impression that Fntastic's co-founders genuinely don't understand that there might be a problem with using unpaid labour for a game they intend to make buckets of cash on at all. Instead, they think of it as a bold and innovative new idea, one quality among many that "underscores our distinction from soulless corporations".
WellPlayed also quizzed the pair at length about what kind of game The Day Before will be when and if it eventually comes out, and I encourage you to read the full interview if you want to know more about what this thing actually is. For now, here's a new trailer that Fntastic put out alongside the interview's publication. At time of writing, the top-rated comment on its YouTube page says "This game has the talent of looking completely different every time they show it". Yeah.