Atomic Heart developer draws criticism after vague anti-war statement

Atomic Heart Header Artwork

Atomic Heart heart developer Mundfish has drawn criticism today after failing to take a meaningful stance on the Russo-Ukraine war.

While stating that they are a “pro-peace organization”, the tweets on the matter don’t even acknowledge that they are in relation to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which has done nothing to dispel the pointed questions that have been raised around the company in the last year.

Mundfish’s tweets read:

“Guys, we have noted the questions surrounding where we, at Mundfish, stand. We want to assure you that Mundfish is a developer and studio with a global team focused on an innovative game and is undeniably a pro-peace organization against violence against people.

“We do not comment on politics or religion. Rest assured; we are a global team focused on getting Atomic Heart into the hands of gamers everywhere.

“We do not, and will not, condone contributors or spammers with offensive, hateful, discriminatory, violent, or threatening language or content.”

Mundfish is facing this scrutiny as a Russian game developer (with their HQ in Cyprus) making a game with a 1955 alt-history Soviet setting, the player character being a KGB operative. The Soviet Union, of course, was notorious for brutally persecuting minorities, including enforcing a famine upon the people of Ukraine in the 1930s. Atomic Heart could be a pastiche and send up of Soviet themes, but it’s not entirely divorced from them, especially given the developer’s business situation.

While their business headquarters are in Cyprus, Mundfish was founded as a Russian video game company in 2017. Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last February, the company reportedly relocated development and now proudly proclaims on its ‘About Us’ page that the team of 130 includes employees from ten countries, naming nine of them: Poland, Ukraine, Austria, Georgia, Israel, Armenia, UAE, Serbia, and Cyprus. Russia is presumably the tenth.

They also note investment from Gaijin Entertainment, Gem Capital, and Tencent, but there are lingering questions over if there are further ties to Russian sources of funding, especially given the wide-ranging financial sanctions that have been put in place on Russian companies and financial institutions during the Russo-Ukraine war. Certainly, being headquartered in Cyprus means that Mundfish isn’t subject to sanctions.

In September 2022, Focus Entertainment announced that they would publish the game in all regions except CIS (which includes Russia and a number of neighbouring states that were part of the USSR) and Asia. The game is coming to PS5, Xbox Series X|S, PS4, Xbox One and PC on 21st February 2023, with a day one release on Xbox Game Pass.

via ResetEra, GamesRadar

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