Each of the Atomic Heart endings depict a radically different conclusion to Major P-3’s journey, and making the correct choice is a matter of perspective. If you’re struggling to make a decision or uncertain of the conditions that determine the alt-history shooter’s multiple endings, we’ve got you covered.
The Atomic Heart ending packs a lot of information into a small amount of time, so we don’t blame you if you’re a bit confused. It also includes the culmination of the Atomic Heart romance – or the closest thing to it you can get. Here are the multiple endings you can expect to unlock in the FPS game, and whether or not you need to watch out for an elusive secret ending. Needless to say, there are major spoilers below.
There’s no question that the final hour of Atomic Heart is a lot to swallow. Not only do we learn that Kollektiv 2.0 is a mind control operation to bring polymerised society under the sway of the Soviet government, but also that Sechenov’s globally distributed robots serve as sleeper agents in the Atomic Heart Project – hence their ability to switch to ‘combat mode’ and revolt in the first place.
Some revelations are even closer to home. It turns out that Sechenov is also responsible for wiping all traces of Major Nechaev’s deceased wife from his memories. What’s more, her consciousness has been transplanted into the twin ballerinas serving as Sechenov’s personal bodyguards. Naturally, that makes Granny Zina your mother-in-law, and she’s raring to take Sechenov down. Oh, and Charles, your polymer glove? He’s not an artificial intelligence, but the transplanted consciousness of Chariton Zakharov, Sechenov’s best friend and architect of the polymerisation process. Yeah, it’s a lot.
Atomic Heart endings explained
There are two Atomic Heart endings, and the one you receive is entirely dependent upon which dialogue option you choose in response to Granny Zina’s ultimatum. There are no extraneous conditions required to unlock either one, so be sure to preserve the autosave file if you’d like to jump back in and experience them both immediately.
The two Atomic Heart ending dialogue options are:
- “I’m not laying a finger on Sechenov. I’m out. I’ve had enough of this game.”
- “Whatever, lady… why don’t you show me what’s in that arsenal of yours?”
The first choice is something of a cop-out, allowing Major P-3 to walk away from this cat’s cradle of subterfuge entirely. He destroys his polymer glove, accusing Charles and Granny Zina of trying to turn him against Sechenov before leaving for whereabouts unknown. This outcome ends with camera footage of a mysterious black polymer not far from the exit taken by the Major – presumably, the remnants of Charles.
The second choice can be considered the canonical version of events, though whether you could describe it as a ‘good ending’ is another question entirely. Instead of walking away, Major Nechaev makes his way back to Sechenov’s office to confront him with the evidence he’s collected. After taking down the ballerina twins – the final Atomic Heart bosses you’ll encounter – Nechaev shoots Sechenov in the stomach.
As Sechenov bleeds out, he reveals that Charles is responsible for sending the Major into Limbo, the psychedelic alternate reality induced by Kollectiv, initiating his own ‘combat mode’ to assassinate Molotov and Filatova. Before the Major can react, Charles incapacitates him and slithers his polymer form out from the glove’s shell to merge with the large vat of red polymer in Sechenov’s office.
Newly transformed into a polymerised ‘jelly man’, Charles expresses his growing misanthropy after shedding his human form. He explains that humans must evolve or die, but we’re too blinded by our own limitations and pursuit of hedonism to prioritise our survival as a species. He snaps Sechenov’s neck and destroys Kollektiv 2.0’s alpha connector, leaving humanity entirely under his influence. As Nechaev slips back into Limbo along with the rest of polymerised society, he experiences a vision of one of Sechenov’s twin ballerinas reaching out towards him, likely representing Ekaterina.
Is there an Atomic Heart secret ending?
Unfortunately, there is no secret ending in Atomic Heart. However, both existing Atomic Heart endings raise as many questions as they answer. One major red flag is the appearance of one of the surreal feline creatures during Charles’ monologue in the good ending. This could merely signpost Charles’ hostile takeover of polymerised minds, or it could imply that Nechaev never left Limbo and that these events are taking place in an alternate reality.
There’s also the question of what happens after the fight in Sechenov’s office. We’re afforded a brief voiceover that recounts the Argentum unit’s findings following the events of Atomic Heart: Sechenov’s body was consumed by polymer, but the whereabouts of Charles and P-3 are entirely unknown. Mundfish has yet to confirm whether we can expect DLC, leaving us in the dark as to whether Charles was successful in his endeavour.
That wraps up our breakdown of the Atomic Heart endings. If you’re wondering how we got on with the absurdist shooter, check out our Atomic Heart review. We’ve also got the best Atomic Heart weapons and skills for surviving to the end of the open-world game, as well as some general Atomic Heart tips that the game doesn’t tell you. Finally, here’s a list of the best PC games for something to play after the end credits.
Developer Mundfish has come under increasing scrutiny in recent weeks after it was alleged that the Russian government stands to gain financially from the release of Atomic Heart. This is due to the fact that investors involved in financing Mundfish include GEM Capital, an investment fund whose founder has ties to Gazprom and VTB Bank, both of which are majority-owned by the Russian state.
Further, Mundfish is partnering with VK (formerly Mail.RU) for the Russian release of Atomic Heart, evading sanctions on Steam. VK is also majority-owned by the Russian state through Gazprombank, and Mundfish’s CEO is a former Creative Director at Mail.RU.
With Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine, many players are choosing to boycott the game in protest and donate money to organisations like The Ukraine Crisis Appeal, International Rescue Committee, and the British Red Cross.