A new report on the development of The Day Before and studio Fntastic details numerous poor labor practices.
Sixteen former Fntastic employees, one volunteer and seven employees of Mytona, the game’s publisher, have spoken to the German magazine GameStar and the YouTube channel Game Two to explain the mistreatment suffered. The interviewees speak of toxic management, especially by co-founders Eduard and Aysen Gotovtsev, lack of direction in the project, crunch and very questionable treatment of workers.
Game Two’s sources, for example, explain that the Gotovtsev brothers fired employees as they saw fit and imposed fines if they were not satisfied with the work performed. On one occasion, two employees had to pay a fine of almost two thousand dollars for, according to management, providing “low quality” voice recordings.
A message in the company chat obtained by Game Two also shows how Eduard Gotovtsev announces the dismissal of an employee “due to lack of will.”
Employees have also detailed how Fntastic’s internal communications platform, called Continent, was used to monitor productivity, and even personal computers were monitored when working from home. This, they say, caused “enormous psychological stress.”
Crunch, furthermore, was “omnipresent” in the company. There are sources that speak of work days of up to sixteen hours a day, without weekends or free time.
Another complaint is “a lack of clear vision” as to the direction of development. It was common, according to these sources, for large portions of the game to be redone to follow the trends of the latest titles released on the market, discarding all previous work.
We already know the final product of this whole disaster: The Day Before was published in December in an indefensible state and without fulfilling what was promised, Fntastic announced its closure four days later and a month later the servers were permanently closed. The studio briefly reappeared last week, issuing a strange, lengthy statement (deleted shortly after) in which they claimed to have been victims of “a hate campaign” on social media.