Once upon a time, I went to Japan. I vividly remember visiting the equivalent of a Superdry or Abercrombie & Fitch, where one mannequin was wearing a shirt saying “noisy or joy” on the front, with “noisy so hate” on the back. I’ve spent many years pondering its meaning, but The Day Before has blown it out of the water.
For those unaware, The Day Before is Fntastic’s zombie ‘MMORPG‘ (it’s not, it’s an extraction shooter). Launching to abysmal Steam user reviews, as soon as the PCGamesN team got word of what was going down, we had to dive in and see for ourselves. I was one of five lucky individuals who were left sitting in server queues for over an hour and a half, and my experience was just as memorable as everyone else’s.
The thing that kept me going, however, was the game’s quotations and ad copy, the latter of which has an air of AI writing about it. Starting with the quotes, they’re scattered throughout the world – etched into plaques, written on walls, and present during the seemingly never-ending in-game load screens. As I read them out to my peers in my broad Glaswegian accent, I could feel them genuinely changing my life – likely to the detriment of Cheri, Dave, Ken, and Will’s eardrums (what can I say? My inspirational message must be spread).
“Be a lamp for yourselves. Be your own refuge. Seek for no other. All things must pass. Strive on diligently. Don’t give up.” Pretty sure that’s a fake Buddha quote. “The way is not in the sky. The way is in the heart.” Ditto.
As you wait endlessly for the Uncharted-style coin to turn and turn as you attempt to load into the city, you’ll be greeted with several of these Facebook-shareable quotations. But they’re not just confined to the loading screens – oh no, they exist in the world as well.
From the annals of The Day Before history comes a truly life-changing, world-shattering statement that sits on a golden plaque beneath a tree in the heart of Woodberry, the game’s hub zone. I found it during the quest where I had to inform Woodberry’s head honcho, Chris, that I had “regained consciousness” – wonder if he’d have noticed if I hadn’t.
Below the emerald leaves of this lifegiving bastion of the old world, the plaque reads “We will be alive. Alive like this tree around we built this world.” What does that mean? Who even knows.
Where a quick Google search throws up some of the previous quotations mentioned here on backgrounds of breezy blue clouds, this one turns up nothing. Why? Well, first of all, it doesn’t make sense. And second of all, it reads like an AI that has been asked to come up with something inspirational about trees giving life.
Those traces of weirdness are interwoven throughout the in-game advertising, too. Every second store is a rewritten version of a real-life establishment. There’s a hotel called Milton, a pizza bar called Pizza Shot, and, my personal favorite, a delivery service called Llamazon. Also, that’s just three of who knows how many – I have images of at least ten.
And that’s before you look closer at the in-world ad copy on display. There are random smiling sheep bidding you a good day, an advert that reads “communicate with energy vendors, it’s a workflow tool,” and car adverts promising that you can “drive the cars you never will.” I’m unsure if it’s just one of those rental things where you can zoom around in a supercar for a day (and a few hundred dollars), or if this is, indeed, a personal attack on my 2021 plate Vauxhall (or Opel) Corsa.
While I’m making fun of all of this, it goes without saying that if the ad copy is indeed AI-made, it’s thoroughly unconvincing and leaves a nasty taste in the mouth. That said, it’s often so bad that you can’t help but laugh – and also wonder how on Earth The Day Before can come back from such a cacophony of ill-judged decisions.
PCGamesN has reached out to Fntastic for a statement on the matter, and we will update this article if we receive any further information.
In its current state, The Day Before is a walking dumpster fire, so I’d suggest checking out our list of other zombie games instead. Alternatively, if it was the promised MMO element you were excited about, we have a rundown of all the best free MMORPGs to clear your Day Before woes.