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The Day Before's Development Just Keeps Getting Stranger

The development cycle for upcoming open-word MMO survival game "The Day Before" has certainly been a strange one. It has been turning heads ever since an announcement trailer was revealed in January 2021, which showcased some pretty impressive graphics. The title is being put out by Russian developer Fntastic and Singaporean publisher MyTona, both of which have a relative lack of experience in putting out a major release of this scope. This fact has led many fans to worry that the gameplay displayed in the trailer may not actually be a legitimate representation of the game that will eventually find its way into the hands of players. 

Things got even stranger when "The Day Before" approached its initial release date. Fntastic originally intended for the game to come out in June 2022, but only one month before it was set to be released, the company announced that the game would be delayed until March 1, 2023.

All of this has certainly raised some eyebrows, but none of it has stopped "The Day Before" from becoming the most wishlisted game on Steam. Now it seems that there is a new wrinkle in the game's development, however: Fntastic has been recruiting unpaid volunteers to help complete the game, which has raised more than a few questions from the gaming community. The request for volunteers on Fntastic's website states, "Fntastic's culture is based on the idea of volunteering. This means that every member of Fntastic is a volunteer." It seems that there are two different categories of volunteers, however. There are a limited number of "Full-time Volunteers" who are paid a salary. In spite of the name, these seem to be the company's primary employees who are responsible for the bulk of the game's development.

Volunteer culture and The Day Before

Fntastic also utilizes "Part-time Volunteers." These are unpaid positions that can be performed without the need for education or prior experience. "Anyone can be a part-time volunteer to contribute to the Fntastic community and get cool rewards, participation certificates, and free codes," the post states. "Part-time volunteering at Fntastic includes various activities ranging from translating to community moderating. Part-time volunteers also can offer their unique skills to improve our projects or create new special features." 

Following questions about this program, a Fntastic representative made a comment to Well Played, clarifying that what these unpaid volunteers do "doesn't relate to code writing, or development itself though, but other important things such as moderation, localization, or simply rooting for us and cheering us up." While it sounds like Fntastic is trying to downplay the importance of these roles, they seem to be heavy tasks to be left in the hands of essentially unpaid amateurs.

The Day Before has fans concerned

In a video attached Fntastic's website, Fntastic founders Eduard and Aisen Gotovtsev talked about why the company utilizes this structure. They described volunteering as an act of willful participation, claiming that volunteering brings "a certain pleasantness" to every action taken.

Some members of the gaming community were not thrilled to learn about this business model, however. One Twitter user wrote, "Unpaid work at a AAA studio to create a MMO on [Unreal Engine 5] in 2022? How about Fntastic pays its workers that are helping deliver a massive project?" Another stated, "This has screamed scam from the very beginning. Studio with ZERO pedigree for AAA games all of a sudden comes outta nowhere with an insanely ambitious open world online survival horror game... ya, take this one off the wishlist people."

Gamers won't know for certain whether "The Day Before" will live up to what viewers saw in its trailer until it releases next year, but right now, the studio seems to be losing fans fast.

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