By Conrad Gould
Atomic Heart game cover (Wikipedia/ Mundfish)
The recently released video game Atomic Heart, made by the company Mundfish, started an investigation from Ukrainian officials and gamers on the matter of alleged Russian ties.
Atomic Heart gameplay NBC News
Mykhailo Fedorov expressed concerns that the money raised from the game will be transferred to a Russian budget and help fund the war between Russia and Ukraine. Critics of the game are telling people to steer away from buying and playing the game, however, NBC News has found no evidence that the money from Atomic Heart is funding any war.
The people who believe Atomic Heart is a part of funding the war point out many of the red flags including a hammer and sickle throughout the game. Critics are also alarmed by the game’s main character, Nechaev, who is a part of the KGB and loyal to the USSR. Fedorov has said his accusation came from Mundfish being a Russian company with Russian management.
One critic tweeted: “The fact that Russians can easily launch a video game stuffed with propaganda and list it on Microsoft, Steam, and Nintendo shops amidst war against a sovereign nation is the ultimate showcase of how mild the sanctions are.”
Another person wrote: “I usually don’t get into this stuff here, but please don’t buy Atomic Heart. The lead developer has ties to a Russian state gas company. The money from the game will help fund the war in Ukraine.”
Alex Bornyakov, Ukraine’s deputy minister of digital transformation, has said in a statement to NBC News, “Atomic Heart has Russian roots and romanticizes communist ideology and the Soviet Union.” He has also sent a letter to Sony, Microsoft, and Valve, about a ban to stop Atomic Heart from being sold in Ukraine.
Officials in the Ministry of Digital Development, Communications, and Mass Media of the Russian Federation have not commented on the matter.
Atomic Heart gameplay Steam
The controversy that has been made from this game shows how the video game market has become a part of an investigation. The company Mundfish says on its website that they are a company based in Cyprus. A version of this website that was accessed by NBC News recently said “Atomic Heart is one of the biggest single-player projects in the Russian Federation.” It is still unknown why this was removed from the site.
In January, Mundfish tweeted a small response about the propaganda stating “Guys, we have noted the questions surrounding where we, at Mundfish, stand. We want to assure you that Mundfish is a developer and studio with a global team focused on an innovative game and is undeniably a pro-peace organization against violence against people,” the company tweeted. “We do not comment on politics or religion. Rest assured; we are a global team focused on getting Atomic Heart into the hands of gamers everywhere.”