The Saga Behind Steam’s Most-Hyped Zombie Game Just Got Weirder

Have you heard of The Day Before? It’s an upcoming zombie-themed survival horror MMO with strong The Last of Us vibes. You might just have had it on your Steam wishlist, as it consistently ranked highest among wishlisted games, outpacing titles such as Bethesda’s Starfield and falling just behind Hogwarts Legacy. Well, things have gotten a little mysterious regarding the popular Steam title as the game has suddenly been pulled from Valve’s storefront, with the developer citing a trademark issue that’s now caused a nine-month delay of the game. With such a sudden twist of events, fans and mods on the game’s official Discord server are starting to suspect that something might not be right.

The Day Before was revealed in 2021. Early gameplay trailers showed off some scripted-yet-promising modern survival horror, third-person shooter gameplay with loot mechanics; it was enough to net the game some serious attention. Following the hype, a large number of players wishlisted the game on Steam to stay up-to-date on its development and upcoming release, pushing the title into one of the most wishlisted games on the digital store. The game was initially expected in 2022, but after a delay due to development switching to Unreal Engine 5, the release was pushed back to March of 2023 based on a statement given to IGN last year. Now the game is suffering additional setbacks: Both the release date and a “lengthy gameplay video” have been delayed. The title has also vanished from Steam; it seems a “private individual” has trademarked the game’s name, causing the developer to “postpone the launch to November 10” of this year, with the expected video of gameplay also being held back.

Fntastic

The Day Before’s developer, Fntastic, delivered the disappointing news via a tweet today, stating that “Right before the release, Steam blocked our game page at the request of a private individual, because of the name The Day Before.”

Kotaku has reached out to Valve for comment on The Day Before’s Steam delisting.

The tweet goes on to say that the developer had only found out about the trademark on January 19 of this year. Hold your skepticism for just a sec, because the trademark itself is real. A one Sun Jae Lee had filed for it back in 2021, with approval coming through in August of 2022. Among other uses, the trademark covers use of the name The Day Before in “artwork, artistic performances, music, show entertainment, leisure activity,” and, yup, “online [games].”

As noted by popular YouTuber Skill Up, the top mod on the game’s official Discord is expressing some concern over whether or not there ever was any gameplay footage to see, if not some grander skepticism about the state of the game. Kotaku cannot confirm anything in regards to gameplay, but we note it because it’s starting to overtake discourse around the game.

On Twitter, Discord, and the game’s subreddit, this skepticism has been contagious. L.A. Noire “Doubt” memes and videos of Jonathan Frakes saying “it’s all made up” can be found among countless other statements expressing uncertainty that the game is real.

It doesn’t help that the game’s developer has been somewhat of an enigma. Though they have shipped one game before, PropNight, the studio also has a remote work conferencing app and talks a big game about soliciting unpaid volunteer work on its titles.

Fntastic

Kotaku has reached out to Fntastic to get more information, but did not hear back prior to publication. Right now the game is still nowhere to be found on Steam. For now, if you were looking forward to the game, you might just have to fire up The Last of Us or The Division to get your post-apocalypse scavenge fix.

Chess World’s ‘Anal Bead’ Cheating Saga Comes To An End

It felt like this day might never come, but former world champion Magnus Carlsen and grandmaster Hans Niemann have finally put the cheating scandal that rocked the chess world last year, including meme-filled speculation about anal beads, to bed.

Chess.com and Carlsen reached a settlement with Niemann, who had sued them and Twitch streamer Hikaru Nakamura for $100 million over what he alleged was a “civil conspiracy” to defame him. “We are pleased to report that we have reached an agreement with Hans Niemann to put our differences behind us and move forward together without further litigation,” Chess.com wrote in an update on August 28. As a result, Niemann will once again be allowed to compete on the online chess platform, and Carlsen has agreed to play him in the future should they meet in a tournament.

“I acknowledge and understand Chess.com’s report, including its statement that there is no determinative evidence that Niemann cheated in his game against me at the Sinquefield Cup,” Carlsen said in a statement. “I am willing to play Niemann in future events, should we be paired together.”

It was the former world champion’s remarks that initially set the largest cheating scandal in the modern era of the game in motion. After losing to Niemann in a shocking upset during the early stages of the August 2022 Sinquefield Cup, Carlsen resigned from the tournament completely, and tweeted out a Jose Mourinho meme implying Niemann had cheated.

The accusations took chess message boards and Twitch communities by storm, with viewers in the Chessbrah Twitch chat joking that maybe Niemann had used anal beads to communicate with someone sending him the best moves from the outside using an AI chess engine. Anal beads became a running joke, not because there was any evidence they were ever used, but precisely because there was never any evidence that Niemann ever actually cheated, let alone how he would have managed to, given the Sinquefield Cup’s strict security. It even became the basis for an entire episode of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

It was all fun and games until Carlsen doubled-down on his allegations in September and Chess.com released a 72-page report in October accusing Niemann of cheating in several matches played on the website. Niemann fired back with a $100 million lawsuit accusing Carlsen of leveraging his “media empire” and partnerships with Chess.com to try and get Niemann banned from tournaments and shunned from the professional chess world.

A federal judge tossed out Niemann’s lawsuit in June, but he tried to appeal the decision and now the two sides have settled. While Chess.com said it stands by its previous report, it also admits that there is no “determinative evidence” that Niemann ever cheated in any in-person games.

“I am pleased that my lawsuit against Magnus Carlsen and Chess.com has been resolved in a mutually acceptable manner, and that I am returning to Chess.com,” Niemann said in a statement. “I look forward to competing against Magnus in chess rather than in court.”

Update 8/30/2023 10:36 a.m. ET: Changed “blacklisted” to “banned” in the sixth paragraph.

         

The Mark Zuckerberg Avatar Legs Saga Has Finally Concluded

Last year, Facebook (now known as Meta) announced that it was adding legs to its ugly virtual reality avatars. Some people were excited. Now a year later, after Meta promised the legs were coming soon, they are finally (sort of) working inside the company’s depressing digital “metaverse”. Should we…cheer?

Let me take you back to August 2022, around a year after the initial release of Horizon Worlds—Meta’s free, online virtual reality metaverse project. People were dunking on Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg after he posted a selfie from inside Horizon Worlds. The photo looked sad and decidedly ugly, and featured Horizon’s legless, low-fidelity digital avatars. That terrible image got roasted so hard that he later explained that, actually, Facebook’s avatars would be getting a big graphical update (so stop being so mean). In October last year, Zuckerberg showed off the newly improved avatars and also previewed that they would all have working legs. A release date of sometime in 2023 was promised, and then a few days later we learned that the whole video featuring the legs was fake and featured mo-cappedmocapped animations.

Now it’s almost a year later. The buzz around the metaverse concept has long since died and grifters have moved on to AI tech. But as UploadVR reported on August 28, Meta has finally added legs to its horrific online video game. They just…come with a few asterisks.

Meta’s new digital legs come with a lot of restrictions

First, you can’t crouch or jump. I mean, you can, Meta can’t stop you from doing those things while wearing a VR headset. But your in-world avatar’s legs won’t recreate those moves. Secondly, the legs only show up in third-person views, like when other people look at you. So if you look down, you’ll see you still have a lot in common with most protagonists from 1990s shooters. While you can perceive your own legs via in-game mirrors, Meta seems to believe they aren’t needed in first-person.

Tyriel Wood – VR Tech / Meta

Further, the legs are only available to players who have access to v57 of the Horizon public test channel and can only be seen in Horizon Home, not in user-created games or Horizon Worlds. However, Meta did tell UploadVR that these new digital legs will be added to the rest of the game’s worlds over the next few weeks.

That’s a lot of caveats, but I guess, technically, Meta did ship the legs in 2023. So congrats on sticking to a deadline.

Of course, the real question is: How many people in 2023 are actually excited to hop back into Zuck’s boring (and unprofitable) matrix? Even last year we heard reports that Horizon Worlds was basically a ghost town and that Meta’s own staff didn’t like playing or working in the company’s metaverse. Somehow, I doubt crappy virtual legs will change any of that.

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