The Day Before and its developer Fntastic have been embroiled in controversy pretty well since the game’s earliest trailers sold some big promises and rocketed the game to the top of the Steam wishlist charts.
Since then, and famously, the game and studio have been the subject of skepticism and criticism over both its too-good-to-be-true marketing and murky workplace culture. That first point has obviously been definitively proven with the game launching in such an unfinished and unpolished state that it wound up being removed from sale entirely within a week of release.
Now, the other side of the equation – concerns around the studio itself and the working conditions therein – has come back into the forefront as new reports from two German outlets paint a pretty damning picture of Fntastic’s management and treatment of employees.
As shared by IGN, both GameStar and GameTwo recently published stories around the experience of working on The Day Before at Fntastic, with testimonies from 16 former Fntastic employees, one volunteer and seven staff from publisher Mytona describing intense crunch and complete mismanagement of the project.
According to those that were spoken to by the outlets, workdays at Fntastic were never less than 16 hours long and for large portions of development it wasn’t uncommon to work seven days a week. Some say they were “begging for a few hours break just to find time for a shower or a meal” at points. Employees were also reportedly issue “fines” for making errors, if not complete dismissals. One employee claimed they were fined $1,930 (presumably USD) for handing in low quality voice recordings.
The whole project sounds like it was a nightmare from the start, with the game’s scope and scale constantly re-evaluated and changes to keep up with gaming trends demanded with enough frequency that there were multiple completely different versions of the game being worked on at any point in time.
Fntastic and Mytona are yet to publicly comment on these claims. You can read the full story from IGN here.