“I’d have more fun hiding in a dumpster surrounded by actual zombies.”
If I had to pick a trend for the 2010’s, it’s that we seem to have a growing trend of delusional and outright manipulative entrepreneurial sociopaths that promise everything to get rich and use startup culture to carry it out.
In this case, it was the game “The Day Before”. It was the most hyped game in Steam history. The social media blitz by the strange founders Eduard and Aisen Gotovtsev was something out of a fairy tale. They were the hottest thing on gaming sites and took in millions of dollars from fans that ate up their claims and demo clips – even though experts were dubious from day one. As people started looking deeper, the story got stranger and stranger but the money and fans poured in. I wrote about how the whole thing seems like a scam. Sadly, it’s all come true.
KiraTV did epically good coverage of this strange pair and Fntastic studio that raised red flags from day one. But nobody seemed to care or heed the warnings. The two projected what I can only describe as a cult-like charisma. People forked over millions of dollars to a pretty much unknown and unproven pair with no track record. Their studio was equally strange – in which they seem to be grooming and manipulating young developers to work for them, apparently, for free.
As development went on and people expected updates on progress, the messaging from the developers became more and more strange. Industry vets asked questions and were given inconsistent and confusing answers; yet a very solid core of fans rabidly defended them despite all the experts calling for serious caution.
In the end, after 5 years of development, the game was released to terrible reviews, not delivering even a portion of the promised features at dramatically worse quality than all the demos showed. As people absorbed how bad the game was, Fntastic quick announced it was closing its doors because the game flopped. It was only on sale for 4 days before they announced the studio closure.
A few hours after the studio announced its closure, sales of The Day Before on Steam were halted. “The Day Before has failed financially, and we lack the funds to continue,” the studio said in a statement posted to Twitter. “All income received is being used to pay off debts to our partners.
Their response to countless gamers that were promised the moon and stars and paid for $40 early access? “Shit happens”
I smell a lawsuit. I HOPE there is a lawsuit. These creators clearly were mis-representing the game they were making, took people’s money, and then launched the game in some twisted attempt to show they didn’t just take the money and run.
What’s sad is that almost anyone could see this coming. The signs were all there. Yet, much like Bitcoin, it’s amazing how many people absolutely refused to believe the founders were psychological manipulators, ignored the continual warnings of industry experts, and that they were promising something that just could not be delivered the way they were making it (on the backs of naïve young developers they didn’t even appear to pay).
If you’re curious what one of the most hyped games in Steam history ended up looking like at launch, here’s the first 22 minutes:
Despite the highly publicized and ongoing wreck and knowing the game was pulled from the Steam store, people were paying $200-$400 for a Steam key for the game even AFTER it was pulled. Perhaps they want to own the gaming equivalent of the Fyre Festival?