Atomic Heart – Bioshock also caused controversy, but never to this extent (Photo: Focus Entertainment)

The Ukrainian government has urged companies not to sell Atomic Heart digitally anywhere in the world, even though it is included in Game Pass.

If you’ve heard of the name Atomic Heart, chances are it’s because of the political controversy it became involved in. Although developer Mundfish is officially based in Cyprus, it has been accused of secretly being a Russian company.

Atomic Heart’s depiction of an alternate history of the Soviet Union has also led to accusations that it is Russian propaganda, with the studio even denying that it collected player data and passed it on to the Russian government.

While there is far too much smoke to tell if there is a fire underneath, Ukraine certainly believes the allegations to be true as it demands that the sale of Atomic Heart be banned. Not only in Ukraine, but also everywhere else.

Oleksandr Bornyakov, Deputy Minister of Digital Transformation of Ukraine, has announced that he will send a letter to Sony, Microsoft and Valve asking them not to sell digital versions of Atomic Heart in Ukraine and to limit distribution in other countries.

Aside from accusations of collecting player data, Bornyakov claims that Atomic Heart’s development was funded by Russia and that any proceeds from the sale could be used to fund Russia’s war against Ukraine.

At the very least, he asks that Western players not play Atomic Heart, adding that Mundfish has not made any statement condemning Vladimir Putin or the war.

It will be interesting to see how Sony, Microsoft and Valve respond to the request. The game industry as a whole took a very firm stance towards Russia during the war, with almost all major publishers withdrawing their games from sale in the country. EA even went so far as to retroactively remove Russian teams from its sports titles such as FIFA.

Atomic Heart – ironically, the controversy is the most interesting part of the whole game (Photo: Focus Entertainment)

We also demand restrictions on the distribution of this game in other countries due to its toxicity, the possible collection of user data information and the possibility of its disclosure to third parties in Russia, as well as the possible use of funds raised through games. Purchases to wage war against Ukraine,” Bornyakov said in a statement to (translated by Game World Observer).

Therefore, we urge all users to ignore this game. We would also like to emphasize to the Western public that the developers of the game have not issued a public statement condemning the Putin regime and the bloody war that Russia has unleashed against Ukraine.”

Bornyakov may not know it, but he doesn’t mention that the game is a Game Pass title, meaning it’s available for free to all subscribers starting this week.

Mundfish has come as close as they can get to distancing themselves from Russia, claiming they are a “peace organization” while avoiding Ukraine or the war.

“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 people.” it wrote.

Suspicions heightened when the decision to release Atomic Heart was made on February 21, exactly one year after Putin signed a decree recognizing two eastern Ukrainian regions – Donetsk and Luhansk – as independent entities, leading to a release just two days later. the beginning of the war. .

It could just be an unfortunate coincidence, but it’s hard to imagine Mundfish not being aware of the timing, and it begs the question of why the game wasn’t delayed an extra week to avoid any unwanted connotations.

But in the end, the simplest reason not to play Atomic Heart is because it’s just not very good. Despite some excellent art designs and fun magic skills, it’s a deeply flawed homage to Bioshock with one of the most unlikely protagonists we’ve seen in recent memory.

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