Bioshock is a series of games that hit a note with players that very few titles manage to duplicate. The idea of a visionary engineering a utopia only to have it fall to madness was the overarching theme throughout the Bioshock trilogy. It had a weird retro, steampunk vibe with transhumanism stitched into its lore which garnered a fevered fanbase throughout the past two gaming generations. After Bioshock Infinite was released over ten years ago, players have been clamoring for another installment, or at the very least, a new IP that captures the same spirit. Well, the news of a new title called Atomic Heart by Russian developer Mundfish fell into the laps of all the Bioshock fans a while ago. The trailer dropped back in May 2018 and details have been drip-feeding into the public for the last few years to which it is been gaining steam ever since.
Even though details have been scarce, there’s enough to know that this game is oozing with potential. Despite that, there has been some controversy with its development that is wrapped around “mass layoffs” and the developers “not being well-versed with current-generation hardware.” However, the team at Mundfish dismisses these claims and assures players that everything is on track. In a recent statement, the developers over at Mundfish say, “Our experienced developers who worked in large game companies like Ubisoft are experts in making AAA games and complex subsystems such as online multiplayer, AI ecosystems, analytics, and scoring systems and other complex and high-tech tasks. Indeed there are some heavy hitters working on Atomic Heart and the next-gen software that is currently available is nothing to snuff at. It can take some time for developers to get in the groove and really get comfortable with enhancing graphics and optimization.
So, what is Atomic Heart about anyway? Apparently, this game takes place in an alternative reality to where the Soviet Union has evolved at a technical scale that exceeds what we have today. The timeframe seems to be within the window of 1930-1960. However, things like androids, robots, cyberspace, and holograms have already been invented and well engrained into the Soviet culture for some time. The tension between the Soviet Union and the West is still prominent in this reality and it’s very much in the atmosphere in Atomic Heart. The robots in this reality were made to be servants with everyday chores. Things like; gardening, cleaning, cooking, timber, and even defense were what they were designed to do, yet they’re starting to rebel.
The main protagonist of this story is named Major Nechaev. He is a KGB agent, which is also codenamed P-3, in which the Russian Government sends in to investigate a manufacturing facility that went dark. The moment he gets there, it’s clear that things have been turned upside down. Corpses are being reanimated, robots are running amok killing people, traps are set everywhere and the entire area is malfunctioning. It’s up to Major Nechaev to figure out exactly what happened and put an end to this madness. It’s not to say that Nechaev will be going in empty-handed, either. He will have a steady supply of firearms and melee weapons at his disposal. The combat will consist of careful planning due to the limited ammunition that will be available. Players will need to craft and improvise a variety of melee weapons and use firearms as a last resort. Atomic Heart will not be a generic FPS to where players can “spray and pray” throughout the entire playthrough.
Despite the scarcity of ammo, Atomic Heart will have quite a few firearms to play with. The standard AK-47, shotgun, and railgun can be used to reduce murderous robots to scrape. Speaking of which, players will need to collect metal parts from downed robots or by just simply scouring the area. There will be some light RPG mechanics implemented in Atomic Heart, in which crafting weapons will affect varying stats. Also, there will also be a glove that will give Major Nechaev some special powers that’s very much like the elixirs used in the Bioshock franchise.
With that said, sneaking through area sand being stealthy is encouraged in Atomic Heart. Much like Bioshock, there are cameras all over the place. However, these are just standard devices mounted on a wall, scanning the premises. No, instead the camera is little wasp-like drones that travel the area looking for intruders. If spotted, the player will need to run off and hide to get away from them. Needless to say, this is no easy task because they will follow the player anywhere. So, players will need to scout the area, look for the hives that these drones live in, and disable them.
A Scarred Land
Atomic Heart will be a big game. It’s not confirmed if it’s going to be either an open-world or a semi-open world. According to the game’s website, there appears to be a map that encompasses the entire Soviet Union. Will this map be completely explorable? This remains to be seen. However, it has been noted that there will indeed be different biomes that can be explored through the course of the game. It’s very possible that maybe this map will be interconnected that somehow can be traveled with a trolley or railway system. If nothing else, pictures and gameplay trailers of this game ensure that there will be plenty of room to poke around and experiment with various approaches. Plus, there is also talk that a co-op feature will be available in this game. Details are thin, but according to the Mundfish, players will be able to jump into other player’s play sessions by boarding a special railway that acts as a hud to different servers.
With the new trailer that dropped this past E3, it appears that Atomic Heart is shaping up quite nicely. In fact, it seems that development might be nearing completion. Atomic Heart is slated to be released sometime later this year. An official release date has not been announced at this time. It will be available for the PlayStation, Xbox, and PC.