Mundfish, the studio behind Atomic Heart, has apologised for the inclusion of a short, racially-insensitive clip in the cartoons that play in the game’s save rooms, and promised to edit out the offending parts in a future update to the game. Last week, we reported that Atomic Heart had drawn criticism online (opens in new tab) for featuring a 1978 episode of the classic Soviet cartoon Nu, Pogodi! in which a brief, racist depiction of an African tribesman can be seen.
“The Mundfish team thanks the PCGamer contributor for bringing this lack of sensitivity to our attention,” the studio said in a statement released, oddly enough, to IGN (opens in new tab), and added that it “[apologised] if using the vintage cartoon or music has caused hurt or insult”. Mundfish concluded its statement with a pledge to “edit the parts in question”.
I’m curious to know what form that editing will take. The clip in question was incredibly short—perhaps less than a second long—meaning it would be very easy to snip out. But given what a beloved classic Nu, Pogodi! is (opens in new tab), tampering with could seem like an act of sacrilege to some, and might just end up ticking people off in a whole new way. I wouldn’t be surprised if the relevant episode was just removed from the game altogether.
Given how short and easy-to-miss the clip in question is, Mundfish probably could have inserted some kind of content warning about the 45-year-old cartoon and left it at that, but it’s likely the studio is eager to avoid controversy right now. Arguments have swirled around Mundfish’s Russian roots ever since Russia invaded Ukraine a year ago, with some people boycotting the game entirely over the matter. You can read our breakdown of the controversy surrounding Atomic Heart right here (opens in new tab).
As for the game itself, PCG’s Rich Stanton scored it 78% in his Atomic Heart review (opens in new tab), praising it as a “surprising, ambitious, deeply flawed game that at times feels close to greatness”. From its high peaks to its low valleys, it’s a baffling and unique thing.