Developer Fntastic has announced The Day Before will not be releasing as expected on 1st March. Instead, its zombie MMO is now set for release on 10th November.
The reason for this fairly sizable delay? The developer claims it did not trademark the game's name and now someone else has done so instead.
Last night, many of those who had wishlisted The Day Before on Steam noticed it had been removed from the platform.
In addition to this disappearance, any pre-existing links to the page, such as the one in the YouTube description for the video above, now just take you to Steam's home page.
Initially, Fntastic claimed this was due to a "minor technical difficulty" which "has affected multiple titles in the past". At this point, the developer assured fans all was well, and to just have a little patience.
But fast forward a few hours, and Fntastic released the following, and rather unusual, statement:
"Right before the release, Steam blocked our game page at the request of a private individual, because of the name The Day Before.
"As you know, our game was announced in January 2021. At the time of the announcement, The Day Before game trademark was available.
"After the announcement of the game, the above mentioned individual filled out an application before us to register the game trademark The Day Before in the United States." The developer then shared a link to said trademark, for reasons.
Fntastic went on to state it was not previously "aware of the existence of claims". According to the developer, it only became aware of these claims as recently as 19th January - so last week.
"Now we find out all the circumstances of the incident and we will definitely solve everything. We previously planned to post a lengthy gameplay video later this month, but we'll have to sort this issue out first. We will post a video asap," the developer continued, before announcing The Day Before's new launch date of 10th November.
"We understand this may disappoint many of our fans, however we want to ensure we release the best possible game. Our 100 percent focus remains on the game itself and how to deliver you the best game possible."
The wording here has confused many, with several people pointing out that delivering "the best game possible" is a phrase often used when things like gameplay mechanics need fine tuning or bugs need to be ironed out. It is not something that you expect to hear when only a trademark filing is involved.
In fact, The Day Before has been the source of several raised eyebrows since its announcement. It was initially delayed because Fntastic wanted to move the game to a new engine, and then last year it came to light that volunteers were used to help with the studio's game development.
At this time, the developer stated its culture is "based on the idea of volunteering" and, as such, "every Fntastic member is a volunteer" - paid or not. This wording resulted in Fntastic further defending its choice to use unpaid volunteers to develop its games. The company then went on to explain it had plans to hire some of its volunteers for full-time work.
"Here is a good example: Recently, one of our first volunteers from the Netherlands became a full-time internal volunteer (employee), and more will be recruited," the developer told Eurogamer in June.