The Atomic Heart Game Pass release has swept aside competitors like Bethesda’s Hi-Fi Rush, putting Mundfish’s allohistorical Soviet-themed FPS game at the top of the Xbox charts despite the controversy surrounding it.
As reported by TrueAchievements, Atomic Heart’s week one data suggests that almost 120,000 people have dove head-first into Mundfish’s red-tinted neo-dystopian shooter.
This number dwarfs Hi-Fi Rush, Bethesda and Tango Gameworks’ surprise rhythm game, and classic James Bond adventure GoldenEye 007, which TrueAchievements notes pulled in around 70k players each during their respective first weeks on Game Pass.
It also managed to beat out Harry Potter-inspired RPG game Hogwarts Legacy, whose general Xbox showing apparently weighs in at around 100k in its first week.
There’s several potential reasons for this. The first is that the game is, at its core, controversial. Given Mundfish’s alleged ties to the Russian government (see more in the italicised section below), the story game has blown up on social media, in turn enticing players to give it a go.
Additionally, while our Atomic Heart review praised the weirdly wonderful world-building and glorious yet disconcerting Soviet-inspired vistas, our sister site, The Loadout, absolutely hated the game. This phenomenon expands outside Network N, with the game scoring 77 on Metacritic with very, very mixed reviews. As a result, I’d probably rather try it for ‘free’ on Game Pass than sink cash into a potentially awful game.
While the Starfield release date will likely eclipse Atomic Heart’s Game Pass triumph in the future, Mundfish will be pretty happy with this result. If you’re waiting for Starfield and decide that Atomic Heart may be one for you, be sure to check out our Atomic Heart tips and tricks to help you survive the robot apocalypse.
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, and because 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. Further, 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.