The Day Before Developer on Its Use of Paid “Volunteers”

The Day Before Developer on Its Use of Paid “Volunteers”

The Day Before, a long-delayed yet-highly wishlisted Steam survival game has had a lot of problems.

The worst offender may just be the developer and its choice of workforce.

Recently, Eurogamer spoke to developer Fntastic about its workforce, or, as it refers to them; its “volunteers“.

“The company’s values are built upon the idea of volunteering which means that every person who works or volunteers here is doing that willingly, acts with dedication, and enthusiasm, and supports the team by any means possible.

We have many people around the world who are helping us out in many ways, they are part-time volunteers. They help with any projects that we have. While full-time volunteers are the employees of the company.

We share these values within the company because we always try to bring in proactive people with open hearts”.

This came about because Fntastic was on the search for more “volunteers” whilst it shifted development of The Day Before to Unreal Engine 5.

Naturally, there was some confusion (and a fair bit of media fallout) regarding the use of this term.

Fntastic issued another statement to explain things a bit;

“Essentially, the word ‘volunteer’ comes from the Latin word ‘voluntarius’, meaning ‘willing’ or ‘of one’s own choice’.

Anyone who is open to life can become a ‘volunteer’ with Fntastic, and there are two types of volunteers. Today we have over 100 full-time internal volunteers (employees) from Singapore, Russia, the Netherlands, Thailand, Ukraine, Finland, Kazakhstan, and Belarus who work as engineers, artists, HR professionals, etc. We also have 40 external US and worldwide volunteers (supporters) who help with testing and reviewing our products at a very early stage”.

Fntastic went on to detail what its “volunteers” do for the company;

“In addition to tests, external volunteers (supporters) help localise products into different languages.

Last year, we ordered localisation for Propnight from a well-known large studio specialising in translations. As practice has shown, the result of their work was not so perfect. Most of it had to be redone with the help of our enthusiastic volunteers (supporters). In Propnight, together with these supporters, we found bugs, dealt with cheaters, and even organised our Discord communities”.

And, to further confuse the plot, Fntastic finished up by saying;

“Here is a good example: Recently, one of our first volunteers from the Netherlands became a full-time internal volunteer (employee), and more will be recruited”.

Needless to say, whichever way you spin this, the choice of phrasing leaves much to be desired. To almost everybody, the term “volunteer” will, inherently, connote somebody who provides free labour [*ahem”].

And, when you factor in that these “volunteers are working on a product people pay for – The Day Before video game – the waters muddy further.

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I’m not quite sure what or how Fntastic can remedy this. Regardless of…unsavoury choice of job titles, The Day Before is still set for release in March 2023.