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How Atomic Heart Is In Danger Of Becoming The Next Hogwarts Legacy

"Atomic Heart" is one of the most anticipated PS5 releases of 2023, but it's in danger of becoming just as controversial as "Hogwarts Legacy." In addition to its sometimes underwhelming gameplay, "Hogwarts Legacy" stands in the shadow of author J.K. Rowling, who has previously came under fire for anti-trans statements on Twitter. In some cases, it's difficult to separate the art from the artist, and many gamers have argued that purchasing "Hogwarts Legacy" is an endorsement of J.K. Rowling's beliefs. "Atomic Heart" may not have a questionable author behind it, but it does possess another tie to the wizarding world: controversy before it even releases.

"Atomic Heart" has tied itself to "Hogwarts Legacy" in its marketing campaign, poking fun at the comparably weak spells in the wizarding game before demonstrating the violent, chaotic combat of an alternate-history Russia. "Atomic Heart" garnered an entirely different flavor of controversy, however, stemming from the title's mysterious origins and its studio's refusal to comment on troubling world events, like Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

While some of the accusations surrounding developer Mundfish remain unconfirmed, the studio's response has left fans wanting and suggested that more troubles could be on the way for both the developer and its new game.

YouTuber Harenko posted an in-depth look at the development of "Atomic Heart," along with a rundown of Mundfish's C-level execs. He pointed out that many of the biggest names working on "Atomic Heart" had ties to the Russian government or other pro-Russian companies and suggested that the game might have even been partially funded by industries that have ties to the Russian government – and, therefore, its military. Even worse? Mundfish has gone on record to claim that the game is not political, despite political overtones.

Strange behavior for a non-political company

While claims of Russian financial involvement or Mundfish's connections to the Russian government haven't been confirmed, Mundfish's response to the accusations also tells a strange story. The developer claimed in a tweet that it does not want to comment on politics or religious topics, despite the overt political setting of the game.

"Atomic Heart" takes place in an alternate history version of Russia, and its setting is full of USSR-style fashion and flair, yet Mundfish claimed that it wasn't making any sort of political statement in the game. Even in-person promotional events to advertise "Atomic Heart" have capitalized on the style of USSR-era grandeur, bringing an inherently political style to a game the developers claim is not a political statement.

Finally, some of Mundfish's behavior regarding critiques of its game has raised suspicion from gamers. Jason Wojnar at TheGamer described his horrifying experience living in Kyiv during the Russian invasion, then juxtaposed that lived experience with Mundfish's statement that it was not commenting on politics. Wojnar said that when he tweeted at Mundfish to request a statement about its silence, he was immediately blocked without an explanation. Even if gamers haven't proven Mundfish's alleged connections to the Russian state, the company's attitude towards gamers requesting more information about its views seems suspect, or at the very least unwilling to engage in an important discussion.

While the type of controversy surrounding "Atomic Heart" is completely different from the challenges "Hogwarts Legacy" faces, the ties between the real world and the gaming world could spell trouble for both.

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