The Saga Behind Steam’s Most-Hyped Zombie Game Keeps Getting Weirder

In Technology


A man with scars on his face and a gun over his shoulder stares deeply into the camera.

Image: Fntastic / Kotaku

Have you heard of The Day Before? It’s an upcoming zombie-themed survival horror MMO with strong The Last of Us vibes. You might just have had it on your Steam wishlist, as it consistently ranked highest among wishlisted games, outpacing titles such as Bethesda’s Starfield and falling just behind Hogwarts Legacy. Well, things have gotten a little mysterious regarding the popular Steam title as the game has suddenly been pulled from Valve’s storefront, with the developer citing a trademark issue that’s now caused a nine-month delay of the game. With such a sudden twist of events, fans and mods on the game’s official Discord server are starting to suspect that something might not be right.

The Day Before was revealed in 2021. Early gameplay trailers showed off some scripted-yet-promising modern survival horror, third-person shooter gameplay with loot mechanics; it was enough to net the game some serious attention. Following the hype, a large number of players wishlisted the game on Steam to stay up-to-date on its development and upcoming release, pushing the title into one of the most wishlisted games on the digital store. The game was initially expected in 2022, but after a delay due to development switching to Unreal Engine 5, the release was pushed back to March of 2023 based on a statement given to IGN last year. Now the game is suffering additional setbacks: Both the release date and a “lengthy gameplay video” have been delayed. The title has also vanished from Steam; it seems a “private individual” has trademarked the game’s name, causing the developer to “postpone the launch to November 10” of this year, with the expected video of gameplay also being held back.

Fntastic

The Day Before’s developer, Fntastic, delivered the disappointing news via a tweet today, stating that “Right before the release, Steam blocked our game page at the request of a private individual, because of the name The Day Before.”

Kotaku has reached out to Valve for comment on The Day Before’s Steam delisting.

The tweet goes on to say that the developer had only found out about the trademark on January 19 of this year. Hold your skepticism for just a sec, because the trademark itself is real. A one Sun Jae Lee had filed for it back in 2021, with approval coming through in August of 2022. Among other uses, the trademark covers use of the name The Day Before in “artwork, artistic performances, music, show entertainment, leisure activity,” and, yup, “online [games].”

As noted by popular YouTuber Skill Up, the top mod on the game’s official Discord is expressing some concern over whether or not there ever was any gameplay footage to see, if not some grander skepticism about the state of the game. Kotaku cannot confirm anything in regards to gameplay, but we note it because it’s starting to overtake discourse around the game.

On Twitter, Discord, and the game’s subreddit, this skepticism has been contagious. L.A. Noire “Doubt” memes and videos of Jonathan Frakes saying “it’s all made up” can be found among countless other statements expressing uncertainty that the game is real.

It doesn’t help that the game’s developer has been somewhat of an enigma. Though they have shipped one game before, PropNight, the studio also has a remote work conferencing app and talks a big game about soliciting unpaid volunteer work on its titles.

Fntastic

Kotaku has reached out to Fntastic to get more information, but did not hear back prior to publication. Right now the game is still nowhere to be found on Steam. For now, if you were looking forward to the game, you might just have to fire up The Last of Us or The Division to get your post-apocalypse scavenge fix.



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