What is wrong with the game “Atomic Heart”?

What is wrong with the game “Atomic Heart”?

Propaganda of the USSR, romanticizing of the KGB, personal data leaks, open hints of support for the war in Ukraine, Gazprom money, and co-financing of illegal military formations "L\DPR" — this description would fit the Russian game "Atomic Heart."

Read about what is wrong with the game "Atomic Heard".

Game release

Fans of Russian video games have been waiting a long time for the release of Atomic Heart, calling it "the pride of Russian game development." On social networks, they even urge not to "pirate" the game, but to actually buy it.

The release date coincided with the day Russian President Putin addressed the federal assembly on the eve of the anniversary of the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine — February 21, 2023.

This is not the only symbolism that emphasises the love and propaganda of the USSR, the romanticization of the KGB, and the support for Russian armed aggression in Ukraine in a satirical way.

What is the game about?

The year 1955, an alternative reality of the USSR, in which the Soviet Union appears as an "ideal" world. A random Russian scientist has created a “polymer” that replaces neural tissue by adapting to different needs.

This "polymer" is planned to be used to build a new ideal society based on collectivism. On the same principles on which fascism, communism, and socialism were once built.

Because many people died in the World War II, obedient robots came to replace them. But under the influence of "polymer," the robots turn against people. And the KGB agent Nechaev, whom the developers offer to play as, has to fight against this.

Hints of support for Russia's war against Ukraine

Social media users are outraged that the developers use old photos of Donetsk in the game, and in one of the scenes, a drone picks up a flower pot of geraniums, which is the term Russians use for the kamikaze drones used to kill Ukrainians.

screenshot from a tweet by Yehor Chekalkin

Personal data leaks

The user agreement on the Russian version of the site warns about the possible transfer of data to Russian government agencies upon request. In particular, the article mentioned the tax service of the Russian Federation and other Russian state authorities.

A screenshot from the website section on the transfer of personal data to Russian government agencies

After this section was made public, the developers tried to deny that the data could be transferred to Russian authorities, and then edited this section. At the end of January 2023, this section was unavailable.

Braindev, Mundfish, and taxes to the Russian Federation

On the official website of the game, in the footer, the developer studio is indicated as a legal entity — Mundfish Ltd. However, such a legal entity could not be found. Probably, it is the Russian LLC Braindev, which previously had the name LLC Mundfish and was registered in 2017.

The "Terms" section of the game's website lists the Cyprus-based company Slimao Limited, registered in 2018. It owns TM Mundfish and Atomic Heart, registered in the United States in 2018.

Braindev LLC, which is a legal entity in the Russian Federation, had a profit of $66 thousand in 2021, of which $34.8 thousand was paid to the Russian budget in taxes. This is the estimated cost of 1-2 Shahed drones.

Company founders and their ties to Russia

Mundfish was created by four individuals who, as of February 2023, own 63.87% of the Cyprus-based legal entity Slimao Limited:

Artem Galeev is the main visionary artist of the company. In 2000, he worked in Alfa Bank, in 2001 — in Public Television of Russia, and in 2005 — for the Russian state-owned propagandistIc Channel One.

Robert Bagratuni (Maksim Zatsepin) is the company's CEO. He worked as a video designer at Newmedia Stars, owned by Konstantin Rykov, a former United Russia MP. He also worked in the marketing department of Mail.Ru, which became part of the VK Group holding in 2021. 57% of the holding's shares are consolidated by MF Technologies, which is owned by Gazprom, SOGAZ, and Rostec.

Evgenia Sedova is Zatsepin's former colleague who also worked at Newmedia Stars, where she headed the computer graphics department.

Oleg Gorodishenin is a general producer. In 2021, he worked at Tinkoff Bank.

Minister of Digital Transformation Mykhailo Fedorov called on global companies to restrict the game's sales and has already made an official appeal to Microsoft, Sony, and Valve.