The Ministry of Digital Transformation of Ukraine wants to ban the sale of Mundfish’s recently launched game Atomic Heart in the country. It also encourages other countries to take similar action.
- Alex Bornyakov, the Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Digital Transformation of Ukraine, told dev.ua about these plans on February 21.
- The Ministry will ask Sony, Microsoft, and Valve for a complete ban on the sale of digital copies of Atomic Heart in Ukraine.
We also call for limiting the distribution of this game in other countries due to its toxicity, potential collection of user data, and the possibility of transferring it to third parties in Russia, as well as the potential use of money from purchases of the game to wage war against Ukraine. Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Digital Transformation of Ukraine
We also call for limiting the distribution of this game in other countries due to its toxicity, potential collection of user data, and the possibility of transferring it to third parties in Russia, as well as the potential use of money from purchases of the game to wage war against Ukraine.
Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Digital Transformation of Ukraine
- Bornyakov claimed that the development of Atomic Heart was funded by money “received from Russian enterprises and banks that fell under sanctions and are of systemic importantance to the Russian government.”
- “That’s why we urge all users to ignore this game,” the Deputy Minister noted, adding that Mundfish didn’t publicly condemn the Russian regime and its war against Ukraine.
Where does all the controversy come from?
Bornyakov’s statement refers to allegations that Mundfish might be tied to Russian state-owned energy corporation Gazprom. However, the only argument in favor of this claim is the name of Anatoliy Paliy, who worked in the oil & gas industry and at a Gazprom subsidiary before founding investment firm GEM Capital (its portfolio includes Pathfinder developer Owlcat Games and This is the Police creator Weappy).
But there is no direct evidence that Paliy or GEM is funding companies and startups with money that is somehow connected to the Russian government.
Mundfish raised money from GEM Capital in 2021, with Tencent and Gaijin Entertainment being the two other companies that participated in the round. On top of that, the studio partnered with Microsoft and French publisher Focus Entertainment, as well as Russian tech giant VK.
The latter also caused controversy: 1) because VK has made Atomic Heart exclusive to its VK Play store for all users in Russia and the CIS region, making players in these countries angry; 2) due to VK’s ties to the government and Gazprom-Media Holding, especially given that its CEO, Vladimir Kiriyenko, is under EU and US sanctions and is also the son of Sergey Kiriyenko, Russia’s first deputy chief of staff.
Atomic Heart launch
- Despite all the controversy and debate online, Atomic Heart showed pretty strong numbers at launch. It peaked at 38,469 concurrent players on Steam, as well as 281,985 viewers on Twitch.
- The game also received an 89% rating based on 3,493 user reviews and is now climbing up Steam’s top sellers charts.
- Critic reception, however, was less favorable. The PC version of Atomic Heart received 77/100 on Metacritic, with PS5 and Xbox Series X versions getting 71 and 72 respectively.