Editor’s Note: The war in Ukraine is an ongoing, painful and emotive topic. IGN urges community members to be respectful when engaging in conversation around this subject and does not endorse harassment of any kind.
Atomic Heart’s launch week has been surrounded by controversy, as developer Mundfish is facing backlash for its Russian ties in relation to the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war, and a racist cartoon present within the game.
Earlier this week, PC Gamer published a story about online criticism surrounding the presence of a racist caricature within Atomic Heart. The caricature in question was found in the game’s Resident Evil-style save rooms, where players can take a breather from the action and watch old episodes of Nu, Pogodi!, or, Well, Just You Wait!, a Soviet-era cartoon that started in 1969.
The show can be summarized as a Soviet version of Tom and Jerry, starring a wolf who tries time and time again to get his hands on a hare. The issue is present in episode 12, titled Museum, which first aired in 1978. A statue is shown in the episode that’s a racist depiction of an African tribesman. Folks on Resetera criticized Atomic Heart for including the cartoon at all, let alone without any warning or context.
Atomic Heart devs:
“The Mundfish team thanks the PC Gamer contributor for bringing this lack of sensitivity to our attention. We apologize if using the vintage cartoon or music has caused hurt or insult. We will edit the parts in question.”
The clip: https://t.co/58SUMRXA7F
— Kat Bailey (@The_Katbot) February 24, 2023
Mundfish responded to the PC Gamer report in a statement, saying, “The Mundfish team thanks the PCGamer contributor for bringing this lack of sensitivity to our attention. We apologize if using the vintage cartoon or music has caused hurt or insult. We will edit the parts in question.”
Ukraine government seeks to remove Atomic Heart
That’s not the only issue Mundfish and Atomic Heart are facing this week. While Mundfish’s official website now says the studio is headquartered in Cyprus, the developer’s Russian roots and potential ties to the Russian government has Ukraine’s Ministry of Digital Transformation seeking to remove Atomic Heart from digital storefronts in the country.
The ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine has seen many games and entertainment companies pull support in Russia, with many across the games industry calling for support for Ukraine. We’ve previously seen the Ukrainian government call on “all game development companies and esports platforms” to temporarily stop business in Russia.
Now, Atomic Heart has taken center stage regarding the games industry’s role in the war. As reported by PCGamesN, the Ukraine government will write an official letter to Valve, Microsoft, and Sony requesting that Atomic Heart be removed from digital stores in Ukraine, with an additional request that these companies consider “limiting distribution” in other countries.
The Ministry of Digital Transformation said its stance comes from the “toxicity” of Atomic Heart, and allegations that the Russian government could see financial gain from the game’s release.
“We also urge limiting the distribution of this game in other countries due to its toxicity, potential data collection of users, and the potential use of money raised from game purchases to conduct a war against Ukraine,” said Alex Bornyakov, Ukraine’s Deputy Minister of Digital Transformation.
This statement originally appeared on Ukrainian tech site Dev.au, with PCGamesN obtaining the English version directly from the Ukrainian government.
“According to media reports, the game’s development was funded by Russian enterprises,” the Ukraine government’s statement continued. “Therefore, we call for all users worldwide to avoid this game. We also want to emphasize that the game developers have not publicly condemned the Putin regime and the bloody war that Russia has unleashed against Ukraine.”
Both Mundfish and Xbox had “no comment” when contacted about the Ukraine situation. Valve and PlayStation did not respond to IGN’s request. IGN will update this article accordingly if we hear back.
Atomic Heart composer Mick Gordon recently revealed that he donated his fee to the Red Cross’ Ukraine Crisis Appeal. Gordon said he was contacted by Mundfish studio in 2020, nearly two full years before the Russian invasion in February 2022.
Logan Plant is a freelance writer for IGN covering video game and entertainment news. He has over six years of experience in the gaming industry with bylines at IGN, Nintendo Wire, Switch Player Magazine, and Lifewire. Find him on Twitter @LoganJPlant.
Go to Source
Author: Logan Plant