The Day Before's developers faced fines for small mistakes, says former employees
Following the disastrous launch and subsequent closure of survival "MMO" The Day Before last year, former developers claim that the project's direction changed numerous times, and measures were put in place to punish employees for minor mistakes at Fntastic.
Game Two and GameStar recently released a joint investigative report on The Day Before's development, speaking with 16 former Fntastic employees, a volunteer, and seven employees at publisher Mytona, revealing poor working conditions for its developers.
The Day Before was originally intended to be a small survival game with cartoon-style graphics and a short story. However, higher-ups at Fntastic, specifically founders Eduard and Aisen Gotovtsev, pushed for a shift to realistic visuals and a larger scale in an attempt to keep up with industry trends at the time, leaving the development team frustrated.
As time passed, more systems and changes were requested, attempting to replicate those found in other games such as Baldur's Gate 3 and Grand Theft Auto V. As a result, development became overly complicated as the team scrambled to include features that were unlikely to work or even be possible in the timeframe given.
According to former employees, the Gotovtsev brothers put a lot of pressure on employees by firing them for small errors, such as letting go of a tester after one of the founders discovered a bug. It is also claimed that fines were imposed on employees, including volunteers, if their work was deemed "low quality." In one case, it is claimed that two employees were asked to pay $1,930 for poor voice work.
Crunch was also a major issue at the studio, with one employee claiming that they had "never worked less than 16 hours a day" during The Day Before's development and had not taken a day off in two months. Mytona and Fntastic have yet to respond to the allegations.
The Day Before saga so far:
The Day Before arrived in December following numerous delays and accusations that it was a scam, prompting Fntastic to deny the claims before release. It was plagued by technical issues shortly after its release, causing its player base to plummet.
Less than a week later, Fntastic shut down, the game was taken offline, and Mytona issued refunds. It was later revealed that it was never intended to be an MMO, and its marketing was extremely inaccurate.