In the realm of open-world MMO survival games, The Day Before made its entrance with a thrilling promise of intrigue and engagement. Set against the backdrop of a post-pandemic America overrun by ravenous infected and desperate survivors grappling for resources, The Day Before initially unveiled to the gaming world with a bang in January 2021. With the release of an exciting gameplay trailer that showcased excellent graphics, a dynamic weather system, and immersive environments, it swiftly captured the interest of gamers globally. The fervor it sparked was unmistakable, making it at one point the most wishlisted game on Steam.
However, the journey since that initial announcement has been fraught with long stretches of quiet from the development team, and lackluster visual updates. A plethora of challenges and controversies have cropped up, casting a cloud of doubt over its development progress and release schedule. Foremost among these hurdles is a trademark dispute that has been brewing since early 2021 over the name of the game. This legal conundrum revolves around the game's title, The Day Before and was originally brought to light by the trademark owner, Sun Jae Lee, resulting in the removal of The Day Before on Steam.
According to legal documents pertaining to the case, Lee had registered the trademark for The Day Before prior to when the developers at Fntastic had attempted to trademark the game. Jae Lee’s filing was specifically trademarked for an application in computer games and software, and his claim accuses Fntastic, the developers behind the game, of infringing upon his trademark rights. The case has stirred up plenty of questions and confusion, as the team initially attempted to portray this dispute as a reason for the delay of The Day Before, until it came to light that the game would have been delayed even without the trademark dispute.
This unfolding legal battle over the game's trademark potentially poses significant roadblocks to its launch. Should the case not resolve favorably or promptly, it could either result in a postponement of the game's launch or necessitate a complete rebranding. The existing litigation timeline, with Mytona Fntastic as the plaintiff, has key proceedings like the conference, discovery, disclosure, and trial dates that extend into 2024 which would fall quite far from the November 10th release date Fntastic had targeted.
Despite these legal hurdles, Fntastic had expressed certainty that the game would launch on November 10th, 2023. It should be noted, however, that this statement preceded any timelines provided in the trademark suit. In the wake of these developments, and with the game's presence notably removed, and not restored on Steam, the likelihood of Fntastic needing to adopt a new name to adhere to their launch timeline seems to be increasing.
Beyond the legal entanglements, Fntastic has also been the subject of criticism from the gaming community for their perceived secretive stance and inconsistent communication regarding the game's progress. Despite assurances of increased transparency and regular sharing of development updates, the team at Fntastic appears to have receded into silence once again.
Recent promotional releases, meant to reassure anxious fans and maintain the game's momentum, seem to have failed to hit the mark. Given how soon the game is set to release, the lack of any conversation surrounding beta testing or a lead up to any promotional events surrounding release has sparked further concern. This is seen as a red flag, considering that such testing periods are considered vital, even for small independent game studios.
With an intriguing premise for a survival MMO, The Day Before presents a tantalizing prospect to fans looking for a more survival focused online experience. However, the bevy of obstacles and setbacks encountered along the development path have rendered the game's eventual release uncertain. It is still very much up in the air whether The Day Before will ever make the leap from an exciting concept to a tangible reality. As we all watch with bated breath, only time will tell if this title will actually release, and when it does, will it still be The Day Before?