There's even a widespread debate about whether 2023 is the best year in video games or whether 2007 is still the reigning champion.
While we certainly had one of the best years in gaming history, we also had some not-so-amazing titles, to put it mildly, like Starfield, Lord of the Rings: Gollum, Skull Island: Rise of Kong, Atomic Heart, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III, Forspoken, Overwatch 2, Redfall, and so on.
Now we have The Day Before (TDB), a "uniquely reimagined journey into post-apocalyptic open-world MMO survival set in the present day on the US East Coast following a deadly pandemic," as the description says on Steam.
Aside from the zombie-filled MMO world and The Last of Us vibes, the game impressed through trailers featuring amazing vehicle physics and gameplay mechanics. Running through knee-high mud in co-op with a friend while carefully driving a pick-up truck and a Mercedes G-Class looked pristine, I dare say.
The way the cars crossed narrow and flimsy half-rotten wooden bridges or barely crawled through the mud while leaving deep tracks behind showed potential for sphincter-clenching zombie ambush moments.
One of the best elements it promised was the scavenging gameplay mechanic, where you picked abandoned cars apart for scraps or items. That looked like a great mix between the first Watch Dogs trailer and a similar mechanic from Days Gone.
So, while developer FNTASTIC showed great promise with their game, the company only delivered disappointment after disappointment. This made fans lose hope in The Day Before, and this is how the memes and ridicule started.
Scandals involving the developers and publishers started piling up, along with constant dubious delays. For example, while boasting for over a year that their game is the best thing since sliced bread, it was suddenly delayed because they switched to Unreal Engine 5 to make the graphics look better.
Also, you never switch game engines mid-development because it can add years to the production cycle. It's like having half an entire fleet of new-generation car chassis ready for the assembly line, but then they get recalled for redesigns.
This started a whole debate about their gameplay trailers possibly being fake, which we can clearly see they were. The state of the Early Access is nowhere near how we saw it first in 2021. It looked like The Last of Us had a gorgeous baby with The Division.
Another colossal scandal involved the unpaid interns they were recruiting. While bragging about securing funding, they were "paying" volunteers with "participation certificates," game codes, and "cool rewards". "Being a volunteer means that you willingly take part in working for a common cause," the company heads said in a social media video.
If the expression "where there's smoke, there's fire" can be applied here, we're talking about an entire forest fire visible from miles away.
Now, after years of ridicule and skepticism, against all odds, publisher Mytona Fntastic finally sets The Day Before, developed by FNTASTIC, upon the world to prey on people's wallets. For just $40, you too can own this disastrous gaming experience streamers can't say enough bad things about.
A popular streamer playing The Day Before with over 11,000 live viewers said: "I can't in good conciseness recommend people pay money for this game." While one person's opinion is never enough to paint the entire picture, if you go on Steam for yourself, you'll see (at the time of writing) over 4,000 dissatisfied reviews.
Technically, it is true that it's in Early Access, but that's clearly a PR front to cover all the limitations and wrap all the excuses under the "that's why we haven't launched the full version yet."
Early Access shouldn't be used as a one-excuse-fits-all-problems strategy. Hades and Baldur's Gate III are two of the best games I've played in my entire life in their Early Access state, and they were on the opposite spectrum regarding quality.
Thus, much like Anthem, Gollum, Kong, and many other over-promised and under-delivered titles that came before it, December 7 marks the day before FNTASTIC's game joins the pantheon of worst games ever released.