The player aiming at a group of zombies in The Day Before

The Day Before Devs Ask For "Volunteers" To Help Finish Their Game

June 27, 2022

By: Joseph Allen

 
 

The Day Before developer Fntastic is currently advertising for "volunteers" to help with development on the game. The studio says it uses "part-time volunteers" in order to improve its games or create new content for them without monetary compensation, as well as "full-time volunteers" who are paid salaries.

Why is Fntastic asking for "volunteers" for The Day Before?

Over on the official Fntastic website, the studio describes its corporate culture, claiming that "every Fntastic member is a volunteer". Somewhat confusingly, the developer splits its staff into two categories: "full-time volunteers" and "part-time volunteers". From the looks of it, full-time volunteers are effectively just paid staff; Fntastic says they work for salaries and their numbers are limited, linking to a career page with currently open positions (which, at time of writing, was empty). Things get interesting when reading the "part-time volunteers" section, though.

 

The Day Before, a game developed by Fntastic, who are currently asking for "volunteers" to finish their game
The Day Before might be Steam's most-wishlisted game, but some of the developer's hiring practices look a little unconventional.

Under the "part-time volunteers" section, Fntastic says that any of its community members can be part-time volunteers. These members are rewarded with "cool rewards, participation certificates, and free codes", but financial compensation is conspicuous by its absence. According to Fntastic, part-time volunteers carry out lots of work for them, with translation and community moderation being part of that work. That's not too unusual; it's often the case that community members will moderate forums without being paid, and translation work is sometimes done by passionate fans, too.

In the next sentence, however, Fntastic also says part-time volunteers can "offer their unique skills to improve our projects or create new special features". That sounds a lot like community members are creating content for the game without being paid, which is more than a little sketchy, even if they're doing so voluntarily. In a world where 79% of gaming industry workers apparently support unionization and major video game companies are being accused of anti-union practices, a developer asking for people to create content for its game for free ("participation certificates" notwithstanding) isn't a great look. We've reached out to Fntastic for comment on this story.

 
 

What is The Day Before and why is it so hotly-anticipated?

The Day Before is an open-world MMO survival game set in a post-pandemic USA. It was originally announced in January 2021 and was slated to launch this month, but Fntastic delayed the game back in May in order to allow for an engine transition to Unreal Engine 5. The Day Before looks like a pretty ambitious project; it's got some very pretty visuals, and it's also promising an open-world survival experience in which you can freely fight or trade with other players, as well as "stunningly detailed vehicles" and "realistic weapons", according to the Steam page.

A "stunningly detailed vehicle" overlooking a beautiful vista in The Day Before
The Day Before is promising to be an open-world survival MMO with an emphasis on visual detail.

The Day Before is currently set for launch in March 2023, when it will arrive on PC, PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series X|S. It's unlikely the game will come to last-gen platforms given the technical scope of what the developers seem to be trying to achieve, so don't hold out hope for that. Fntastic's game is currently the most-wishlisted game on Steam, beating out competitors like Hollow Knight: Silksong and Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2. With hype like that building around it, let's hope Fntastic isn't hiding some unethical worker-treatment skeletons in its closet. We'll bring you more on this as we get it.