Russian BioShock Game Is A Best Seller, And Hella Controversial

A screenshot of the Atomic Heart twins alongside a frightening close-up of a humanoid robot's gaping face.

“These violent pleasures come with a violent ending.” — Some canceled the HBO show
screenshot: Focus Entertainment/Mundfish/Kotaku

We’re just three days in Atomic Heart‘s release and the Russian BioShock-type game is already knee-deep in controversy. how did we get here Why do people have to be mad? Let’s get down to business and answer these questions.

Continue reading: The Russian version of Stand out, Atomic HeartLooks absolutely batshit

First already announced in 2017mouthfishes Atomic Heart is a first-person shooter set in an alternate 1955 Soviet Union where chrome robots rule. You play as Major Sergey Nechayev, a World War II veteran with amnesia tasked with taking out enemy robots. Called “Russian BioShock” Players use Nechayev’s robotic enhancements to hack, freeze, and levitate vending machines before relieving them with streams of bullets, electricity, or blunt objects. Atomic Heart Released on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S, and PC on February 21st.

Atomic Heart

Ukraine wants to ban Atomic Heart

Atomic HeartThe game’s heavy use of pro-Soviet Russia propaganda and its developers’ vague stance on the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine got it into hot water with the gaming community. Public perception of Mundfish, which says its developers operate out of countries like Ukraine, plummeted when its official Twitter account posted a vague statement about its prospects for a Russian invasion of Ukraine.

“We want to assure you that Mundfish is a developer and studio with a global team focused on innovative play and is undeniably a peace organization against violence against humans,” Mundfish tweeted. “We do not comment on politics or religion. Be assured; We are a global team focused on getting things done Atomic Heart into the hands of gamers everywhere. We do not and will not condone contributors or spammers with offensive, hateful, discriminatory, violent or threatening language or content.”

Continue reading: Ukrainian game developers react to the Russian invasion [Update]

Accordingly EurogamerIn his tweet, Mundfish omitted the fact that his team was originally from Moscow and that Russian media portrays it as a Russian studio.

Mundfish’s unclear stance on the war in Ukraine is not helped by the fact that the financial success of Atomic Heart will likely benefit Russia via Mundfish’s investor, GEM capital. If Eurogamer asked about the level of ownership by GEM Capital Atomic HeartMundfish did not comment. However in one Interview with the Russian pressGEM Capital founder Anatoliy Paliy said GME Capitol serves not only as a Atomic HeartAs an investor, it is also actively involved in the game’s fundraising, strategy development, and operational decisions.

kotaku has reached out to Mundfish and the game’s publisher, Focus Entertainment, for comment.

Continue reading: demise Composer donates his Atomic Heart Fee to Ukraine after Russia controversy

While Mundfish has remained vague on its stance on the war in Ukraine, the Ukrainian government wants to Atomic Heart pulled from its online storefronts. Accordingly Chronicle of Video GamesAlex Bornyakov, Deputy Minister of Digital Transformation of Ukraine, urged Sony, Microsoft and Valve to remove them Atomic Heart from the digital stores of Ukraine.

“We also urge restricting the distribution of this game in other countries due to its toxicity, potential data collection from usersand the potential use of game purchase funds to wage a war against Ukraine,” Bornyakov wrote a statement on (translated into English by PCGamesN). “We would also like to emphasize that the game developers have not publicly condemned the Putin regime and the bloody war that Russia has unleashed against Ukraine.”

The image of the robot twins

Next on the list of Atomic Heart Controversial is the uncanny resemblance of his female robotic twins Yulia Tymoshenko, the leader of the Batkivshchyna party in Ukraine. The twins who serve as bodyguards for scientists Dmitry Sechenov, are highly evolved humanoid robots with ballerina-like body types, crown braids, faceless faces, and red stars on their foreheads. The twins are prominent in Atomic Heart‘s ads, box art and trailers. Many of Atomic Hearts admitted player base feel somehow whenever the twins mount Nechayev’s dying body and pierce it with holes.

This resemblance between the twins and Tymoshenko was first spotted by YouTuber Dinka Kay on Twitter. While the similarities between Tymoshenko and the female robot twins might be seen as far-fetched, the heart of this controversy lies not so much in their similar hairstyles as in the fact that they are supposedly Ukrainian sex slave robots.

“The game glorifies sexual assault and has Ukrainian-looking robotic sex slaves? *pretends to be shocked*,” Kay tweeted. “We all told you this was going to happen, but you wanted to fund the game that pays your government and military to traffic, rape, torture and kill our women.”

kotaku has reached out to Focus Entertainment and Mundfish for comment.

Atomic Heartracist caricature

Turns out that calling Atomic Heart the Russian BioShock refers not only to its telekinetic game mechanics, but also to the imagery used in its mythos. people in the web forum Resetera noticed One of the cartoons that plays in the game’s save rooms features a racist caricature of an African person.

Accordingly PC gamer, Atomic HeartThe save rooms of contain episodes of a real 1969 cartoon called Well Pogodi! (Well, just wait!). Featuring a slapstick style and animation chops reminiscent of a Tom and Jerry Animated cartoon, episodes of Well Pogodi! show the vain attempts of a Soviet wolf to catch a cunning hare. The 12th episode of the game of Nu Pogodi!titled “Museum,” features a brief footage of a racist depiction of an African tribesman firing an arrow

While Nu Pogodi! The clip noticed by Resetera was deleted from Twitter, leaving “Museum” in its entirety viewed on YouTube. For people who don’t want to see it, the controversial scene reeks of the same racist imagery seen in old Disney or pop eye Indigenous people cartoons. Mundfish has not commented on the racist cartoon.

disputes aside, Atomic Heart has received mostly positive reviews from critics and gamers. Atomic Heart started with an all-time high of 38,469 players and has held 35,047 concurrent players according to SteamDB. The sci-fi shooter is also average 77 Metacritic and 7.1 User Score.

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