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Game studio shuts down just days after launching anticipated MMO

Game studio shuts down just days after launching anticipated MMO

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Declared a financial failure, the game studio Fntastic shut down four days after The Day Before’s early access launch.

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Screenshot from The Day Before featuring a woman standing in a place that looks like New York City’s Times Square with abandoned cars in the street and giant lit up billboards advertising rock concerts.
Image: Fntastic

The Day Before, an open-world zombie survival MMO, experienced a dramatic series of events resulting in its developer closing down four days after the game’s launch.

After a much-hyped trailer launch back in 2021, The Day Before became one of Steam’s most wishlisted games and, after a couple of delays, it launched in early access on December 7th.

Initial reviews were not great. Though billed as a survival MMO, players remarked that it was more like an extraction shooter but with mediocre loot. Players to team up with were sparse, enemies to shoot were even more sparse, and there were numerous complaints about bugs, crashes, and server issues.

On launch day, Fntastic, the game’s developer, posted on X (formerly Twitter) that the game’s North American servers were working but filling too quickly. The next day, Fntastic wrote that it was working on a “huge update” that would implement fixes before going radio silent for three days as negative reviews piled up.

However, it doesn’t seem like that fix ever went through because, on December 11th, the developers posted on X that The Day Before was a financial failure, and as a result, Fntastic would be closing down.

“Today, we announce the closure of Fntastic studio,” the message read. Fntastic acknowledged that players were unhappy with how The Day Before turned out. “We apologize if we did not meet your expectations. We did everything within our power, but unfortunately we miscalculated our capabilities.”

One frequent refrain in Steam reviews was that the game was a scam, with players theorizing Fntastic took the early access money, produced a low-quality asset flip, and was now closing down to pocket the funds. In its message, Fntastic pushed back against this narrative, saying that it took no money from preorders or crowdfunding, and any money it had received had been used to pay debts. Additionally, the game’s publisher, the New Zealand-based Mytona, posted that it was working with Steam to ensure players could receive refunds.

The Day Before’s page is still up on Steam, though you can no longer purchase the game. In its message, Fntastic said that its servers and the servers for another game it published, Propnight, would remain active for the time being. It’s easy to treat The Day Before as spectacle. But as Fntastic acknowledged in its message, game development is hard, and problems can spiral so out of control that it can lead to this kind of catastrophic failure despite a team’s best efforts.