The Day Before developers may not be living up to their name.
Fntastic Under Fire for Questionable Volunteering Practices
The developer of the most wishlisted game on Steam, The Day Before, has recently found itself in hot water. And it's not because the game was delayed by nearly a year - as we'vepreviously said, we don't think many people would pick up the pitchforks for the crime of migrating to a better graphics engine. They have, however, picked them up for Fntastic's not-so-fantastic attempts at drafting in unpaid volunteers.
In a somewhat tone-deaf section of their website, Fntastic are merrily calling for unpaid volunteers to contribute to The Day Before's development. This is at a time when the games industry is undergoing historic unionization efforts from workers fighting for better conditions and pay.
"Fntastic's culture is based on the idea of volunteering. This means that every Fntastic member is a volunteer," reads the first line of the 'Volunteer' section of their site. Fntastic then lays out two "types" of volunteers: part-time, unpaid volunteers (A.K.A. the definition of the word, volunteer), and full-time, salaried 'volunteers'.
The page then reads: "Part-time volunteering at Fntastic includes various activities ranging from translating to community moderating. Part-time volunteers also can offer their unique skills to improve our projects or create new special features."
The details around the 'unique skills' being used to create new or special features is rather vague. But when approached by Well-Played, Fntastic clarified:
"The values of our company are about dedication, willingness to help, to deliver great products, and in doing so, being kind and open-minded. During the short history of our company, there have been many people who approached us and wanted to help in different ways. It doesn't relate to code writing, or development itself though, but other important things such as moderation, localization, or simply rooting for us and cheering us up."
However, as many on Twitter have been quick to point out, game development doesn't stop with coding. In fact, localization is an important (and typically paid) part of the development process. So what gives, Fntastic?
It's also a questionable response to create an entire page on the website dedicated to recruiting volunteers instead of simply giving those who approach on their own accord the work and recognition they desire. Especially for the developer of a self-proclaimed AAA title.
The move has now made people begin to question the validity of the anticipated zombie survival MMO, with many wondering whether the delays are more to do with a lack of paid staff than anything else. Especially given the fact that every trailer so far has been scripted. For now, we'll keep a wary eye on developments.