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Interview

Fntastic Talks The Day Before’s Gameplay Vision, Studio Culture, And The Trademark Dispute

We speak exclusively with Fntastic about The Day Before

The Day Before is one of the most intriguing video game projects in recent memory. Bursting onto the scene with a stunning announcement trailer in January 2021, the MMO survival game developed by Fntastic and published by Mytona was seemingly the game that many players had been waiting forever for, even topping Steam’s Wishlist charts for months on end. However, The Day Before hasn’t been without its controversies – multiple delays, Fntastic’s volunteer culture, and a trademark dispute over the game’s name which lead to its removal from Steam all resulting in questions of legitimacy and claims that Fntastic has had to dispute.

However, much like the infected that roam The Day Before’s world looking for flesh to feast on, interested players have been hungry for more information on the upcoming survival game. Recently, Fntastic co-founders Eduard and Aisen Gotovtsev spoke exclusively with WellPlayed about what players can expect from The Day Before’s gameplay, the ongoing legal battle over the name, the studio’s unique approach to game design, and shared a new teaser trailer and screenshots for fans to enjoy.

WellPlayed: Are you able to give us an update on the game’s legal situation and when it will return to Steam? Is there any chance you’ll change the name?

Fntastic: We believe that power is in the truth. We were the first to start using this name related to the video game. This is an indisputable fact. Rooted in our belief in justice, we are optimistic about regaining our name through legal proceedings as swiftly as possible.

We want to reassure our community that our Steam page will be reinstated soon. We’ll be back at the top of the wishlists.

Currently, our primary focus remains on the development of the game itself. Trademark-related matters are being managed by our newly-formed New Zealand joint venture with our publisher Mytona, aptly named MytonaFntastic.

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WP: The Day Before looks like it’s been heavily inspired by games such as The Last of Us and The Division. Was it a deliberate design choice to blend elements from games that inspired you into one unique experience? Are there any other games that have influenced The Day Before?

FN: Our inspirations are drawn from industry champions. Games such as The Last of Us and The Division have undoubtedly elevated the quality standards in gaming to unprecedented levels, and their creative teams deserve immense admiration for their accomplishments. At Fntastic, we regard these teams as our mentors and their achievements as benchmarks to strive towards.

While we find inspiration in numerous AAA games, we believe life itself is our greatest muse. By simply observing our surroundings, engaging in introspection, and understanding the intricacies of human experiences, we often uncover the most profound inspirations. This unique blend of drawing from life and top-tier gaming helps shape our creative process, allowing us to craft unique and innovative experiences for our players.

WP: The Day Before is easily the biggest project Fntastic has worked on. Are you confident you can deliver your vision for the game? What has the studio done to be able to develop a game of this scale?

FN: The Day Before is indeed the most ambitious and biggest challenge we at Fntastic have taken on, and we’re incredibly excited about it. We are confident in our ability to realize our vision for the game, thanks to the unique blend of our team’s hunger, our work culture, our publisher Mytona, and the support of our external volunteers.

Breakthrough limitations and overcome challenges. These words are the spirit of our organization. We are here for the long haul and we want to change the game industry. We want to show other ordinary people like ourselves that anything is possible in this life.

The Day Before will feature various types of infected

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We want to reassure our community that our Steam page will be reinstated soon. We’ll be back at the top of the wishlists.

WP: Fntastic’s approach to volunteering has raised concerns from several people. How much involvement in the development of the game do unpaid volunteers have?

FN: While we have paid employee-volunteers, we also have unpaid external volunteers. External volunteers offer their time and skills voluntarily without remuneration, engaging in activities they genuinely enjoy. We propose various tasks and invite interested volunteers to undertake them.

Our external volunteers have significantly contributed to our other game Propnight, assisting with game balance and text translations. While there are fewer tasks for The Day Before, volunteers actively contribute to creating easter eggs. As the release of the game approaches, the range and volume of tasks will expand.

Our innovative work culture, based on the philosophy of volunteerism, has proven attractive to people worldwide. Today we have more than 300 volunteers representing 30 nationalities, and our doors are always open to anyone who aligns with our culture.

Fntastic has been a people’s organization from day one. Even the birth of Fntastic, through Kickstarter and our debut game, The Wild Eight, underscores our distinction from soulless corporations.

WP: Are you able to share some details about how the core gameplay will work? Will there be story missions/objectives (like in The Division)? Or will players simply venture out into the open world? Have you made a decision on how many players will populate a server?

FN: The Day Before is an open-world, post-apocalyptic sandbox. Here, players will have the opportunity to fully immerse themselves in this new world, exploring a huge skyscraper city called New Fortune City, purchasing houses and vehicles, and creating unique, personal narratives along the way. While our game predominantly leans towards player-versus-player engagements, we will also incorporate quests centered around the restoration of society. In The Day Before, the fate of humanity truly rests in your hands.

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We cannot provide specifics regarding player population per server at this stage as we are currently in the testing phase. We are committed to striking the perfect balance between a dynamic, populated world and optimal gameplay performance.

Our primary aim is to provide the most thrilling survival experience of the year to a wide array of player preferences and playstyles.

WP: Will there be various types of enemies/zombies, some more difficult to take down than others (similar to The Last of Us with runners and bloaters)? 

FN: Within the boundaries of realism, we’ve designed various types of infected to add to the complexity and thrill of the game. However, it’s essential to note that the core focus of the game isn’t solely on zombies. Instead, the heart of our game lies within the interactions and experiences of the players themselves as they navigate and inhabit this post-apocalyptic world.

New Fortune City

While our game predominantly leans towards player-versus-player engagements, we will also incorporate quests centered around the restoration of society

WP: The Woodberry Survivor Colony is where players can come together, relax, trade items and give each other tasks. Can you explain how this works? What tasks can players give one another?

FN: Woodberry serves as a central hub in our game – a safe zone where players can interact, form alliances, engage in trade, and undertake quests aimed at societal restoration. An exciting yet undisclosed feature we’re introducing is the opportunity for players to seek employment within Woodberry. These in-game jobs range across various professions – from manual labor as a loader to showcasing artistic talent as a musician. These jobs will add another layer of realism and immersion to the game.

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Beyond these activities, we’ve also introduced immersive relaxation elements to enrich the player experience. As previously showcased, we offer a sauna where players can unwind and enjoy memorable interactions with other players. Additionally, they can hang out in the bar for casual conversations or hit the gym to work on their in-game fitness. These features add to the depth of our game world, reinforcing the sense of a lived-in, vibrant community even amidst the post-apocalyptic setting.

WP: The game will also feature base-building. Will bases be a safe haven for players or can other players attack whenever?

FN: A key feature of our game will be the ability for players to purchase their own in-game houses. These properties can be completely personalized, furnished to reflect the owner’s tastes, and serve as a gathering point for friends within the game. Importantly, these homes will offer a respite from the surrounding chaos; they are designed to be safe havens, immune to player attacks. In essence, they are players’ personal sanctuaries within the game world.

WP: One of the trailers mentions something called the Azure Initiative, can you give us any detail on what that is?

FN: The role of Azure Initiative is integral to our game’s universe. Azure is responsible for the operation of the city’s electricity in the aftermath of the post-apocalyptic environment, showcasing their pervasive influence. This mega-corporation has infiltrated every aspect of daily life and monopolized numerous sectors.

Through this, we aim to illustrate the potential danger of unchecked corporate power. The rise of such dominant mega-corporations can pose a significant threat to individual lives and societal stability, potentially even precipitating major disasters. Azure Initiative serves as a narrative symbol of these substantial risks in our game’s universe.

Survive the apocalypse with speed

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WP: The Day Before is set to release on November 10, are you able to confirm if it will launch on PC and consoles on that date? If not, can you give us an indication of when you’re aiming to bring the game to consoles? Have you considered releasing in Early Access?

FN: We are excited to confirm that The Day Before will launch first on PC, slated for November 10. Immediately following this release, we will be sharing a roadmap of forthcoming updates to keep our players engaged and excited. This roadmap will include new features and content additions, emphasizing our commitment to continuous game development.

Our initial focus is on the PC platform, but rest assured, console versions are next in line. The release dates for console versions will be announced soon after our PC launch, so stay tuned for updates.

While we aren’t considering an Early Access release, we are planning to conduct a closed beta phase prior to the game’s launch.

WP: Thanks so much for your time.

FN: Thank you! With November 10 just around the corner, we encourage you to rally your companions and prepare for the most thrilling survival experience of the year.

The Day Before will release on PC on November 10, 2023. For more information check out The Day Before website.

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Written By Zach Jackson

Despite a childhood playing survival horrors, point and clicks and beat ’em ups, these days Zach tries to convince people that Homefront: The Revolution is a good game while pining for a sequel to The Order: 1886 and a live-action Treasure Planet film. Carlton, Burnley FC & SJ Sharks fan. Get around him on Twitter @tightinthejorts

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