Pro-Soviet stance adds to Atomic Heart controversy on release day

By Melany Moncada


Feb 22, 2023

Reading time: 2 min

On the day of its release, Atomic Heart is already facing controversy. The FPS game developed by Mundfish is missing ray tracing, a feature that players expected to be included, considering how the game promotion features an Nvidia tech demo.

According to Wikipedia, ray tracing is “a technique for modeling light transport for use in a wide variety of rendering algorithms for generating digital images”. With the development of advanced graphic cards, ray tracing became a common practice. It is used to simulate different effects like depth of field, motion blur, reflection, soft shadows, and more. Elements would highly benefit a game that relays so much on its graphics, like Atomic Heart.

Mundfish developers acknowledge the lack of ray tracing, stating that they would look into implementing it at a later date.

This type of omission doesn’t directly affect the game experience. In fact, critics have praised the visual aspects of the game, delivering on its promise to be visually appealing. The decision not to include ray tracing could have been caused by time constraints.

Atomic Heart is not free of controversy

The ray tracing debacle is not the only controversy around Atomic Heart. Audiences are concerned about the game’s pro-Soviet stance and the glorification of Russia.

These concerns come on the anniversary of the conflict between Ukraine and Russia. Mundfish owners have been questioned about their ties to Russia and the involvement of investors from this country with the developer.

Mundfish has avoided any questioning on this matter. While the company has deleted any mention of Russia from its website, the team is originally from Moscow. Mundfish is frequently referred to by Russia’s media as a Russian studio.

Mundfish was accused of collecting data for the Russian government. AIN revealed that Mundfish’s Russian site includes a privacy policy that states that all collected data could be transferred to the tax office and the FSB, the current name of the now-dissolved KGB.

Why was Atomic Heart release delayed?

In early 2022, Mundfish hinted at a winter release for Atomic Heart. In November 2022, Mundfish announced a February release date. It is normal for studios to push the release of a game if they are facing technical delays.

In recent years, developers have prioritized putting out the product over the quality of the game. One example is Pokemon Scarlet and Violet. The game had a successful release week in terms of sales, but the critics tore the game apart. The latest installment in the Pokemon series was full of game-breaking bugs, making Pokemon Scarlet and Violet an underwhelming experience for the players. Fans criticized The Pokemon Company’s decision to release a game that clearly wasn’t ready.

Hogwarts Legacy is another game that delayed its release to focus on improving the final product. For all the controversy around the game, at least on a technical level, Hogwarts Legacy is a game with favorable reviews.

Perhaps, in an attempt to meet the February release date, Mundfish gave up on a feature that ultimately doesn’t affect the experience that much.