You might not have wanted to see the upcoming The Day Before release date delayed, but thanks to an engine change, that's what's happening. The devs have announced that they're moving the project to Unreal Engine 5 and that this necessitates a delay.
What's the reason for this The Day Before release date delay?
The delay to The Day Before's release date was announced exclusively by IGN earlier today. In a letter shared with the publication, developer Fntastic and publisher Mytona state that since The Day Before is so hotly anticipated, they've made the decision to switch the game to Unreal Engine 5, the latest iteration of Epic's engine that was originally announced back in 2020. As a result of the extra work that moving the project will take, the devs say they need to delay the game, which will now launch on March 1st, 2023. It was originally due to launch in June this year.
While Fntastic doesn't directly mention it, the situation in Ukraine could well be making matters more complicated for the studio. Fntastic was originally founded in Russia, and while its current headquarters is located in Singapore, some of the core members of the team (who have worked on previous Fntastic titles like Propnight and The Wild Eight) are likely still in Russia. This could mean that they've been impacted by the fallout of Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine, which has had severe economic knock-on effects throughout Russia.
Fntastic isn't the only studio making the leap to Epic's new engine. Last year, it was announced that Gears of War custodians The Coalition would move onto Unreal Engine 5 for their subsequent projects, with Sniper Ghost Warrior developer CI Games also making this commitment recently. In addition, a number of new projects are now being built on Unreal Engine 5, including Crystal Dynamics' upcoming Tomb Raider game and the hotly-anticipated Stalker 2: Shadow of Chornobyl (which was delayed until December earlier this year).
Besides the technical leap, there are other potential benefits to making the jump to Unreal Engine 5. We still don't have a The Day Before console release date, but moving to Unreal Engine 5 could mean the game can launch simultaneously across all platforms rather than having a staggered release. The Coalition's Kate Rayner described the experience of moving from UE4 to UE5 as "very smooth", taking just two weeks to swap her team over to the new engine. Rayner says that when the team was working on its latest project, UE4 was "starting to bog down and run slowly", but that moving to UE5 was much smoother. Fntastic hasn't announced anything regarding the console release for The Day Before yet, but given the new tech, we wouldn't be surprised if we got more info on that soon.
What is The Day Before?
Unveiled in January last year, The Day Before is an open-world survival MMO set in a post-pandemic USA. You know what to expect from post-apocalyptic MMOs like this; you'll need to scavenge for resources in abandoned buildings and vehicles, all while you contend with hordes of infected and other players whose motivations are shrouded in mystery. The devs are promising "beautiful yet dangerous" locations with a huge level of detail, which is probably why they made the decision to swap to Unreal Engine 5 for the project.
The Day Before launches for PC via Steam on March 1st next year. PS5 and Xbox Series X|S versions have also been announced, but we don't have a release window for those yet. Here's hoping that The Day Before can impress players more than Propnight; Fntastic and Mytona's previous collaboration is currently sitting at a "Mixed" rating on Steam, despite receiving fairly regular content updates adding new mechanics and more. As ever, we'll bring you more on this as soon as we get it.