Just 4 days after The Day Before's disastrous launch, the studio has abruptly closed: 'We miscalculated our capabilities'

Just four days after the ugly launch of not-quite-a-survival-MMO The Day Before on Steam, developer Fntastic says it is closing its doors because the game flopped. A few hours after the studio announced its closure, sales of The Day Before on Steam were halted. 

"The Day Before has failed financially, and we lack the funds to continue," the studio said in a statement posted to Twitter. "All income received is being used to pay off debts to our partners.

"We invested all our efforts, resources, and man-hours into the development of The Day Before, which was our first huge game. We really wanted to release new patches to reveal the full potential of the game, but unfortunately, we don't have the funding to continue the work."

Fntastic said in the closure message that it has taken no money from the public during the development of The Day Before, adding that there were no crowdfunding or preorder campaigns prior to release.

(Image credit: Fntastic (Twitter))

In a later tweet, the studio said that it has not received any income from Steam sales yet and won't in the future, and that it's working with Valve to offer refunds regardless of playtime.

@FntasticHQ: #thedaybefore #fntastic #mytona Answer to those who ask for a refund. Mytona and we're currently working with Steam to allow refunds for any player who chooses to request one, regardless of game time. Fntastic received $0 and will receive nothing from The Day Before sales.

(Image credit: Fntastic)

After an extended period of hype, controversy, and deep skepticism surrounding The Day Before that saw it temporarily removed from Steam over a trademark dispute, it finally launched on Steam on December 7 and immediately ran into trouble. Server issues were widespread, but players were also surprised to discover that it wasn't quite the zombie-infested survival MMO they were expecting.

Instead, it bore a number of characteristics of an extraction shooter, similar to Escape From Tarkov except not very good. The reaction was immediate and intense. The Steam rating crashed to "mostly negative" and the official Day Before Discord was temporarily locked down as moderators struggled to keep a lid on the upset.

There was a presumption that patches would be forthcoming to smooth out at least some of the roughest bits, but that's apparently now off the table. Predictably, users on The Day Before Discord server are once again enthusiastically venting their frustrations, accusing Fntastic of perpetrating a scam right from the start, and this time there's no mod team to put a stop to it.

In the short time since Fntastic announced the studio's closure, most of The Day Before's official Discord server has evaporated. Every text and voice channel except the general chatroom has been deleted, and the server-news channel Fntastic used to keep communicate progress on the game has been scrubbed of every message. All content on Fntastic's YouTube channel has also been deleted. The final message to be posted in that channel was a goodbye from Discord moderator Levitate, but even that's gone now. 

(Image credit: Levitate (Discord))

"A last goodbye and thank you from myself and the rest of your moderation team and volunteers," Levitate wrote. "We appreciated all the fun we've had over the time we spent here. We had our community ups and downs! The kind words today were appreciated from the mods. [Fntastic] fumbled and tried to use us as a scapegoat. One day, someone will make the game we all desire."

The state of The Day Before led to widespread interest in refunds—one message posted in The Day Before subreddit said Steam was accepting refund requests even from players who had gone beyond the standard two-hour playtime limit. A message being shared on Russian social media networks including VK and posted to Twitter by Simon Carless, purportedly from Fntastic CEO Eduard Gotovtsev, claimed a whopping 46% of the copies sold in Steam had been refunded.

(Image credit: hypewave (VK))

A translated version of the message posted to Reddit says The Day Before sold 109,382 copies globally (after refunds), but fell out of the top sellers chart on Steam almost immediately after launch. 

In a message posted to Twitter several hours after Fntastic announced its closure, publisher Mytona said it's working to get refunds to all owners who want one, and hinted that this might not be the final end of the game.

"As the investor of The Day Before we would like to provide some updates on the current situation around the game," Mytona wrote. "We are sorry for the fact that the game didn't meet the expectations of the majority of the players. Today we will work with Steam to open up refunds for any players who choose to make a refund.

"We are in contact with Fntastic regarding the future of the game."

(Image credit: Mytona (Twitter))

Mytona confirmed in a statement sent to PC Gamer that it is "now working with Steam to make refunds to players."

Even for a game that's followed a path as convoluted as that taken by The Day Before, this is a bizarre and entirely unexpected outcome. Fntastic said The Day Before servers will continue to operate, so for now at least it will remain playable, but what happens next is anyone's guess. I've reached out to Fntastic for more information and will update if I receive a reply.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.

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