The Day Before is a new open-world survival MMO sitting somewhere between The Division's post-disaster narrative and the zombie-adjacent tale of The Last of Us, and it's reveal trailer is absolutely unmissable.
Kudos to developer Fntastic (not a typo, by the way) for coming out of the gate with five minutes of gameplay footage. At first blush, The Day Before looks like a solid third-person shooter with a focus on stealth, crafting, and inventory management, not unlike the Stalker games. The various status meters in the bottom left add another shot of survival oomph.
Over the course of five minutes, our unlikely heroes scavenge for goods, face off with other players in some 'impromptu' PvP, and poke around a dimly lit office while evading ravenous infected. The city they're scouring looks great, particularly the lighting. Just look at the shine on those puddles and leather backpacks. The street lights connected by holiday lights make me wonder where this particular section is set; the trailer confirms that The Day Before has "a huge, stunningly detailed post-apocalyptic world destroyed by a terrible virus" but doesn't specify the city.
So far, so gameplay trailer. But The Day Before's promising, if familiar ideas are elevated by some of the most endearingly campy performances I've ever seen. It opens with a topical gut punch: a newspaper reports that "Billionaires see fortunes rise by 27% during the pandemic" with a subsection noting that "Winter is coming." I, too, have seen Game of Thrones and survived a pandemic; mark me down as invested in this world. I've also seen a million looter-shooter gameplay trailers where voice actors try to act like teammates chatting on Discord, and The Day Before has the best one yet.
I want the script for this trailer carved on the Rosetta Stone. There are too many amazing lines to count. The cowboy hat exchange at the start (classic), the grumbling evil players who sound like they've taken an extra cup of gravel for dramatic effect, the "All right, all right, all right" ripped straight from Matthew McConaughey's heavily weathered playbook – this is unironically incredible material, but my favorite bit is right at the end. Shortly after that PvP scrap, our protagonist's teammate becomes a zombie snack, and we know this because their guts are all over the floor and also because they stop talking on team chat right before we find their body. What, if you die in the game do you die in real life? Now that's survival gameplay. Or maybe you just get kicked off of Discord. Either way, I'm into it.
The Day Before is currently only listed on Steam and doesn't have a firm release date just yet.
Speaking of The Division and zombies: The Division 2 is getting a surprise Resident Evil crossover event next month.