If you follow gaming, especially MMOs, or zombie games, you will know about The Day Before. It has been the second most wish-listed game on Steam since it was first announced almost three years ago.
Countless delays, a huge trademark dispute over the name, and increasing skepticism turned The Day Before into a meme. It was the game that was never coming out. Gamers accused it of being a scam. The excitement that surrounded those early trailers and gameplay footage waned and most people forgot about it.
That was until about a fortnight ago when suddenly publishers Fntastic announced it was releasing, albeit in Early Access, on 7th December – the day the world would be watching Baldur’s Gate 3 win the Game of the Year. Huge electronic billboards appeared in Times Square and everybody remembered how much they wanted the game two years ago and got excited again – although in the minds of many, something didn’t feel quite right.
Gone were the mentions of partnering with Nvidia. The minimum specs for the game, instead of being in raytraced glory, suggested you only needed an older GPU to play the game and there wasn’t really any new gameplay footage showing the open world and zombies. Raids on other players encampments seem to have gone and concerns were high that we might not be going to get what was promised.
IGN charted The Day Before’s chequered history ahead of launch and highlighted some of the issues the title has had getting to market.
And then yesterday The Day Before released. Streamers jumped on board with live plays and people bought the game. And that seems to be where the issues start.
Besides inevitable complaints of connection and server errors that happen with any major game release – and this was the second most wish-listed game remember – people struggled to get in. When they did they were met with bugs such as falling through the terrain and random instant death but, more damningly a reported lack of actual content and gameplay.
At the time of writing Steam’s user reviews – which, it must be said, can be unreliable once people start jumping on a bandwagon, rank The Day Before at Overwhelmingly Negative from over 10,000 entries.
Examples of some of the more publishable comments are below:
“This is not an Open World MMO, This Is a small area extraction shooter. The devs deleted all the old videos showing the open-world elements. The city is dead and there are barley (sic) any open buildings. There are no survival elements in the game because it’s based on being an extraction-based shooter game like Tarkov.”
“Turns out it is a real game. Kind of wish it wasn’t.”
“This game is a scam. No open-world survival elements, it’s just an extraction shooter and a bad one at that. Combat is terrible, I went into a ‘raid’ and fought a player, it was laggy and completely unsatisfying. The zombies are dumb as bricks, stand on a car and you are invincible.”
Others tried to make light of the matter – “The Day Before Refund”, “The Day Before is when they started making the game” and so on.
Games have recovered from disastrous starts before and it is important to remember that The Day Before is still Early Access. Take Cyberpunk 2077 and No Man’s Sky – both universally ridiculed at launch but are now great games.
What usually follows is an apology from the developers and a promise to do better – but after so many delays – is there the goodwill in the gaming community to believe it?
Images courtesy: Mytona Fntastic / Steam