Multiplayer zombie game The Day Before has just been hit with a major delay, pushing its release from March all the way to the end of the year. Though, judging by the gameplay footage, the experience of the developer, and the scope of the game, it may be for the best. Especially, as developer Fntastic Games will be competing with an official multiplayer version of The Last Of Us – which is probably the easiest way of describing The Day Before.
With development dragging on The Last of Us 2's multiplayer, this is the perfect time for a developer to sneak in and snaffle that apocalyptic pudding, but one of its main competitors, The Day Before, is getting even further away from release. The developer has "made the difficult decision to postpone the launch," it said in a tweet. Fntastic Games is now aiming for November 10, 2023.
In part, this delay seems to be because of a, frankly, bizarre twist of events. Someone other than the game developer has gone and copyrighted the name The Day Before. The copyright holder has even taken down The Day Before’s Steam page.
Fntastic Games isn’t known for having great success when working to a deadline. The previous release date was March 1, 2023, but even this announcement came on the heels of a year-long delay while the team transitioned The Day Before to Unreal Engine 5.
If you’ve played The Last Of Us, or any number of other games set in the apocalypse, The Day Before’s fundamentals may sound familiar. Set in a post-pandemic America, you and a group of friends must grapple with the infected undead and unfriendly survivors to compete for food, water, and shelter. An open-world survival MMO is hardly groundbreaking in the zombie genre.
Since its announcement at the start of 2022, The Day Before’s developers has released a few chunky gameplay videos that show off players fighting hordes, scavenging countryside homes, driving vehicles through open (but zombie-filled landscapes), and how those battles against the undead can draw attention from living opponents.
It’s a grab bag of features pulled from games like The Last Of Us, The Division, Days Gone, and State of Decay. The end result isn’t original, but it’s certainly caught the eye of a lot of gamers, as the game from an unknown developer is currently the second most wishlisted on Steam.
While we’ve seen a lot of The Day Before in action, there’s still been little said of its story. From what I can piece together from the gameplay footage, the setting looks like a dead ringer for the derelict and weed-filled world of The Last of Us. The once great cities of America are left in a crumbling state as nature slowly swamps the concrete roads and infests the steel highrises.
Style over substance
New gameplay footage was set to release later this month, so the copyright claim on The Day Before’s title came at a bad time. So far, we’ve only seen scripted in-engine gameplay edited beforehand, so no one really knows what this zombie slaying experience will be like in our hands.
While its feature set is appealing, without a compelling story, I can’t say The Day Before is at the top of the list for my most anticipated games this year. Many locations, enemies, and allies look like they could have been taken out of any number of zombie apocalypses. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, in such a saturated market, there’s something to be said for providing more than just shiny gameplay with ray tracing.
Whether it be the impeccable storytelling in The Last of Us, or the enjoyable and fluid parkour system in Dying Light 2, the best zombie games clearly go the extra mile. For a game that was a comfortable second place on Steam’s wishlist rankings, Fntastic Games has a lot to live up to.
Hopefully, the additional time will help Fntastic Games find what they need to elevate The Day Before to these lofty heights. It could do something remarkable with its multiplayer mechanics or create an intricate zombie ecosystem. It doesn’t have to be groundbreaking, but it does have to be something more than simply gunning down waves of zombies with your friends; I already have Left 4 Dead 2 for that.