The Day Before kicked off 2023 as one of the most wishlisted games on Steam. Now, after endless controversies, the self-proclaimed open-world survival-horror MMO styled after The Last of Us is finally in Steam Early Access, and it’s getting panned. The first players to lay hands on the much-hyped zombie shooter are sharing footage of game-breaking glitches and leaving thousands of negative reviews.

Developed by Fntastic and originally revealed back in 2021, The Day Before has been accused of just about everything, including using exploitative labor, plagiarizing other games, and being nonexistent vaporware. But exist the post-apocalyptic loot shooter does. After tons of delays and a legal battle that saw it temporarily delisted from Steam, The Day Before is now actually available to play on Steam, and apparently it sucks.

A screenshot displays negative Steam reviews for The Day Before.

Screenshot: Vavle / Kotaku

Thousands of initial reviews of the game on Steam, where it’s currently rated as “overwhelmingly negative,” describe it as buggy, incomplete, and falsely advertised. “This is not an open-orld MMO, this Is a small area extraction shooter,” wrote one player. Others claimed to have a hard time even logging onto the servers in the first place. Those who did manage to play say its small map is mostly empty and lacks any real survival features. There’s apparently not even a melee attack. “The day before you got scammed,” reads one review. “The Day Before Refund,” reads another.

In addition to not living up to the early trailer hype, let alone matching the genre tags in the description, players have described lots of bugs where the world breaks while they try to play.

“I loaded up The Day Before to make sure it’s even workable…and the game had me float through a wall and soft-locked the entire game the second I got control of a character,” tweeted Second Wind cofounder Nick Calandra. The very start of the game appears to be a major pain point, with lots of players falling through the entire map shortly after the game starts. When the game is working it mostly looks like a stripped-down clone of The Division 2.

For anyone who’s not already vaguely familiar with The Day Before’s pre-launch trials and tribulations, here’s a quick rundown of some of the highlights. Early trailers looked good. The game was supposed to come out in 2022 but didn’t. Fntastic asked volunteers to help make it in exchange for free game codes. The game got kicked off Steam right before its new 2023 release date over an apparent trademark dispute. Fans began to accuse the studio of pushing out faked YouTube videos to chase clout and then rug pulling at the last second. The Steam page finally came back in November alongside fresh accusations of plagiarizing other companies’ trailers.

All of that drama has helped propel it to the number-one place on Twitch today, with over 400,000 concurrent viewers at launch. How many of them will stick around remains to be seen. Quality content draws eyeballs. So do car crashes. At least for now, people seem to be as excited to gawk at The Day Before’s latest stumble as to actually play it.

Somehow I don’t think a Cyberpunk 2077-style turnaround is in its future, but I’ll happily be proven wrong. At least the game technically exists, sort of, which was more than many expected as recently as a month ago. “To our future player who will dive into this game on December 7: We made this for you so that you will enjoy the game and it becomes a celebration,”the studio wrote in a statement today. “Together, we will continue improving the game and adding content.”


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