Atomic Heart, a long-term project from the Russian studio Mundfish, is getting closer to release. At Gamescom 2022, the developers rolled out a new video showing the combat system. In this article, we will analyze in detail what was shown, tell you about all the known details for the summer of 2022, and estimate what to expect from Atomic Heart.
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Parsing the Atomic Heart trailer from Gamescom 2022. Soviet aesthetics, a crazy scientist, and Alla Pugacheva’s song
The plot of the game develops in an alternative USSR. The developers say very little about the world, but today the fans already have a more or less coherent picture of what is happening.
A prominent Soviet scientist, Dmitry Sechenov, sets himself the task of creating a common network capable of turning people into a single collective organism, devoid of individuality. The project is called “Man-Crowd.” And in 1939, the USSR unleashes a war against aggressive Germany and wins in 1941, occupying the entire German territory.
At the same time, robotics began to actively develop in order to make up for human losses. Sechenov conducts the first tests of his neural network “Collective 1.0”, tests it on robots, and opens his own enterprise, code-named “38-26”.
The developers said that the game’s geography will be quite extensive. Initial assumptions that it was “38-26” that would become the main action scene were not confirmed. Either there will be several bases with the same name, or the enterprise will have complexes that are significantly remote from each other.
After activating Collective 1.0, Sechenov discovers a mysterious substance – a neuropolymer that was accidentally synthesized from the spinal cord of whales. Neuropolymers have been turned into programmable modules based on living tissues.
This led to the creation of “Collective 2.0”. Citizens were vaccinated and implanted with neuropolymers, which not only allowed them to receive unusual abilities, but also connected people to a single system that controlled their emotions and desires.
We saw the consequences of such operations in many trailers. In the temple of Larisa, one of the main characters, you can see a device with a branch of wires. There is something similar in the main character, Major Nechaev. A strange parasite sticks out of the left palm of the protagonist. They are actually wires. Although in one of the videos, Larisa talks about a neuropolymer glove, while the girl herself has a mysterious device in different shots, she doesn’t. Does this mean that the metal organism does not grow in heroes directly from the body? We’ll find out after the release.
The vaccine quickly showed a side effect: limbs. The neuropolymer affects the brain, and the person gradually goes crazy and begins to see hallucinations. Apparently, the game will often use a trick where everything that happens around the major is not what it seems.
Interestingly, not only humans have neuropolymers. So, a new video begins with a demonstration of two robots. A living device crawls out of the head of one of them, which folds into a sharp adapter.
It is not entirely clear whether the new neural network was launched at the start of the game. In earlier trailers, someone tells the hero that he only has two days. At the same time, the major himself is briefly called P-3-experimental or patient? Perhaps Collective 2.0 is only for a limited circle of people, and there is very little time left before the full-scale launch.
The hero goes to the enterprise “38-26” to find out why the connection was lost, and finds mad robots there. This is where the main story begins.
Who to fight?
In the new trailer, finally, the bestiary was shown in more detail. We have repeatedly seen a variety of robot balls with arms and other bizarre opponents. The thing is that, initially, the devices were created for domestic, agricultural, and industrial needs. In their programs, there was also a place for a hidden combat mode, by which the USSR could almost instantly get the strongest army without spending human resources. So it turns out that Nechaev will have to fight with combines and tractors from the world of cyberpunk.
The new trailer contains footage of several humanoid androids attacking at once. It is easy to distinguish them from other opponents—absolutely all robots of this type have the same faces of mustachioed men. Apparently, such tins will have their own hierarchy-the female versions do not have faces at all, but there is hair braided into braids.
However, it’s not only robots. Among the opponents, there was a place for infected people. They look like they are in the best traditions of Resident Evil and The Last of Us, but they don’t look like zombies. Victims change greatly in appearance—new hairs grow on their heads. At the same time, these guys move very briskly and are well oriented on the ground. You will also have to kill mysterious small organisms that flash in the trailer for only a fraction of a second.
There may be several reasons for infection: an unsuccessful result of soil research from the Moon after the Soviet Union landed on the satellite; glitches of the main character, who eventually turns out to be a real butcher; another side effect of neuropolymers.
The third type of enemy is the special infected. It is still difficult to say what exactly happened to them. Creatures with a lot of wires sticking out all over their bodies look like both modified robots and people. In some frames, the opponents are covered with something red. The same substance is found on walls and ceilings. It is not known exactly what the red jelly is in the game. There is information that the substance was obtained from the brains of whales. Its structure is unstable and can be rebuilt, taking on new forms. Perhaps the jelly was able to somehow infect the robots and make them aggressive.
Slash ’em up, shoot ’em down.
There will be three types of weapons globally – firearms, melee and a neuropolymer glove with “Jedi forces”. If earlier Atomic Heart was compared with Fallout, now it has become obvious that the BioShock series is the main source of inspiration. There, too, the hero had acquired abilities, which he alternated at his discretion, and the shooting looked almost one-on-one.
Several cannons were seen in the trailer: a banal pistol, a plasma gun that shoots either with electricity or with clots of unknown energy, the AK-47, native to the Russian eye, a grenade launcher, and something like a revolver. In most cases, the trunks look trivial and no alternative past is felt. But the game has a crafting system, which means that your favorite machine, for sure, will be able to upgrade and add features. The customization is also evidenced by the fact that at different points in the trailer, the hero’s gun looks different.
Melee weapons should also be for everyone’s taste. In the video, an ax, a pruner, a kind of mace, and something strange lit up, tearing enemies to pieces with one touch.
Finally, magic, or to be precise, neuropolymers, The Hero’s Glove proved to be an extremely useful device. You will definitely be able to use telekinesis like a real Jedi. It is even allowed to attract cartridges and small consumables. The trailer showed instant freezing. True, it does not look very realistic. For some reason, the enemies are covered with a thick layer of ice, but for some reason they do not fall to the ground. Also, the glove can shoot lightning (hello, Palpatine), surround itself with an energy shield, and, it seems, pour water. The last skill is probably just an underdrawn freeze animation.
It is especially worth highlighting the subordination of robots. At a certain moment, the hero sneaks up to the android and inserts his wires into him … an adapter. At first, the ability will probably work as a stealth kill, but after pumping it will make it possible to make allies out of tins. It is not yet known how convenient it will be to switch between abilities. If the change in skills is implemented well, the battles promise to be really exciting. Otherwise, a standard shooting range with magic awaits us, as do a dozen other shooters.
A nice little thing was the drawing of damage. If you hit an armored robot with a heavy drill, it will leave a bruise or dent. It can be assumed that during battles, inorganic enemies will gradually lose detail.
What can go wrong?
We are really looking forward to Atomic Heart, and the whole editorial team keeps our fingers crossed for the game, but questions remain. The stunning and undeniably very original visual style draws attention, but the plot raises concerns.
There are too many different aspects the creators want to fit into one project: crazy robots, infected, organic metal implants, visual hallucinations, a single consciousness, living red jelly and a scientist with dystopian ideas. Such material would be enough for a dozen games. At the same time, the parallels with BioShock are felt more and more. No matter how they turn out to be, they also plot.
A scandal has already flared up around the unreleased game. After the new trailer, game designer Remedy called for Atomic Heart to be canceled due to the Soviet setting and the neutral position of the developers regarding recent world events. Obviously, in modern reality, such statements are only a matter of time. We hope that the public will not support the ideas of the game designer; otherwise, a really interesting project that dozens of talented people have worked on may have serious problems on release.
Now Atomic Heart looks like an original and fast-paced first-person shooter in the entourage of an alternative history. It is already clear that the combat will be fairly standard, albeit exciting. Let’s hope that the developers will be able to meet the set quality bar, and that the project will be able to become something memorable not only visually.