Atomic Heart is an intriguing yet mind-boggling upcoming release being developed by Mundfish. A mostly Russian development team. Mundfish seems to be keeping their cards very close to their chest regarding the development of Atomic Heart. With a trailer being abruptly dropped in May 2018, and a near-complete radio silence since then. We’re all waiting for the official Atomic Heart release date. That said, there have been a few updates released recently. Hopefully with more to come!
Though we have scarce little to go on, the tidbits we can piece together make for a highly interesting game. Atomic Heart certainly has its influences. Stalker, Metro, and Bioshock being chief among them. Yet is clearly aiming to bring something new to the table. Exactly what that is remains to be seen. In the meantime, here’s what we know so far.
Atomic Heart’s release date
The most important question, though sadly the one with the least interesting answer – it is to be announced. There are rumors that hint at a late 2021 release. Given how tight-lipped Mundfish have been with information so far, it’s hard to believe we’ll have any idea until an official announcement has been made. What we do know is that Atomic Heart will release on Xbox’s game pass and PC.
The setting of Atomic Heart
The story takes place in an alternate universe Soviet Union. One where instead of collapsing, it experiences a technological renaissance. Robots, A.I, the Internet, and more have all been invented in this re-imagined USSR. Though this time with a distinct shade of red. It would appear that the ideological titans of Communism and Western imperialism still butt heads in this timeline. Though whether this will act as a backdrop or an integral part of the story is up in the air.
This sounds all well and good. At least until the point said robots stage a revolt against humans, perhaps dissatisfied with their position as glorified housemaids. Forming a hivemind known as the “Kollektiv”, the machines go forth and slaughter their former masters. This is where agent P-3, the presumed player character, comes in.
Sent to what remains of Facility 3826, you will be tasked with investigating the cause of the facility’s silence and preventing sensitive information from escaping into the wider world.
Of course, there will be plenty of bloodthirsty robots and eldritch monstrosities to fight along the way.
The gameplay of Atomic Heart
Your foray into Facility 3826 will be open-ended. With exploration playing an important role in gameplay. The facility itself will be spread across an open-world map, with a variety of different environments teeming with whatever twisted creatures Mundfish have cooked up for us. With mountains, lakes, plains, tundra, and more, it seems like we’ll have an awful lot to get our teeth sunk into.
If the trailers are anything to go by, Atomic Heart is packed with unique, if a bit skin-crawling, enemies to contend with. Sickle-armed robots. Baba, a lady trapped in goo, and a swift mass of blood and tendons are only a few such beasties. With plenty more in the trailers if you’re interested. As far as how we can defend ourselves, there are a few confirmed methods at our disposal. Melee weapons and firearms are to be expected, though tendrils from a futuristic gauntlet capable of manipulating matter are a bit less so. With this handy bit of kit, you will be able to enhance the combat abilities of your weapons, belch ice from your palm, and suspend objects and enemies in mid-air.
Stealth will be an option, for those of you not terribly keen on facing a mess of sentient sinew head-on. The tendril-glove looks like it will be of use when sneaking around, able to highlight enemies from afar and behind cover.
Alternatively, Atomic Heart’s crafting system, dubbed Chaika 3.0, will enable you to customize some of the available weapons. Though to what extent is as yet unknown. Hopefully, the mechanic will enable players to approach scenarios in different ways, if a bit of creativity is applied.
Creativity may well be a requirement when fighting in Atomic Heart. Ammo seems to be scarce, the enemies quick and hard-hitting, and traps are likely to spell the end of the inattentive. From the looks of the trailers, there seems to be a bunch of branching paths to your objective, with items to be scavenged along the way.
The minimum and recommended hardware requirements can be found on Atomic Heart’s Steam page. Though they may well be subject to change. Depending on what improvements, if any, Mundfish makes to graphics or optimization, we may expect these requirements to increase. Currently, the minimum benchmark is an i5-2500k or AMD FX 6300, 6 GB of RAM, and a GTX 780 or AMD R9 290. As for the recommended, an i7-4770K or Ryzen5 1500X, 8 GB of RAM, and a GTX 1060 or AMD RX 580. Keep an eye on the Steam page to catch any changes.
Generally speaking, Atomic Heart looks to be shaping up well. Though your mileage may vary, I think it aims to tell an interesting story. Set in an eye-catching world populated by very unique creations, and (hopefully) include some pretty engaging gameplay. The developers have plenty of other ideas in the works too, with some degree of multiplayer, VR, and RTX support being some of the prime examples.
This isn’t to say that the development cycle of Atomic Heart has been smooth sailing. A post surfaced on ResetEra in 2019, describing a few serious red flags. Inexperienced staff, sweeping layoffs, lack of vision, and allegations that the game won’t play out as it is marketed are amongst the most concerning points made. I’d take these accusations with a fistful of salt, especially considering the source is anonymous, though it certainly wouldn’t be the first time an over-ambitious studio over-promised and under-delivered. As the initial release date was supposed to be in 2019, this could well lend credence to the allegations, though just as easily be taken as the developers putting in the extra time needed to create a better end-product. Make of this what you will.
All in all, Atomic Heart certainly is worth watching. If games like Bioshock hooked you, the teasers released showcasing this Soviet-flavoured nightmare will have no doubt piqued your interest. We’ll keep you posted with any updates, in the rare event Mundfish feels generous enough to release any.