Dozens of people have lost their jobs following the controversial launch of The Day Before. It appears that developer Fntastic laid them off without warning.
Shortly after Fntastic announced its closure on December 11, Russian job search and recruitment platform HeadHunter was flooded with resumes of employees recently laid off by the studio. This was first reported by video game outlet Shazoo (in Russian).
We can confirm that over the past few days, at least 48 people with open profiles have updated their resumes. Most of them are located in various cities in Russia or other countries in the CIS region and have worked at Fntastic until December 2023. Some of the examples can be seen in the image below.
Shazoo also contacted several former Fntastic developers, including 3D animators, testers, and engineers, who agreed to speak anonymously about the situation. Here are the key takeaways:
- People were laid off without warning or any severance pay, with some employees saying that management forced them to sign voluntary resignation letters;
- Even before its closure, Fntastic appears to have experienced high staff turnover and problems with communication and security;
- According to one source, the studio’s co-founder Eduard Gotovtsev and other leads were “always looking for scapegoats” among ordinary employees and could fire anyone who disagreed with management;
- “We tried [to make a good game], but a lot of ideas ended up being rejected or thrown away, as did the results of our work and all the man-hours,” another former employee said. “Many times we had to do everything all over again due to layoffs. One artist even deleted everything he had done during two months of work and took it all with him after being fired”;
- Some former employees are now afraid that Fntastic won’t be a great line on their resumes in terms of future career, as they are not proud to have worked there.
UPDATE (December 14): Three former Fntastic employees later told Shazoo that they eventually received full payment from the studio, including money for all days worked in December, vacation pay, and up to two salaries on top.
Following its disastrous launch and scam allegations, The Day Before was pulled from sale on Steam. According to leaked data, the game sold just over 200k copies, almost 50% of which were returned within the first few days. The game’s publisher Mytona noted that it is now working with Valve to “open up refunds for any players who choose to make a refund.”