Atomic Hearts offers a unique FPS Role Playing experience with plenty of sim elements. Set in the Soviet Era with story elements ranging from killer robots to rogue AI, players step into the shoes of an elite soldier named P-3 who’s tasked with finding who was responsible behind the AI revolt and restore order.
Speaking with SegmentNext during a recent interview, Game Director Robert Bagratuni discussed the game’s core systems, mechanics, and how everything comes together to make Atomic Hearts a one-of-a-kind experience for its players.
Inspired from the works of great authors like George Orwell, Philip K. Dick, Isaac Asimov, Aldous Huxley and brothers Strugatsky, Atomic Hearts aspires to offer gamers a unique experience that doesn’t feel like a copy of anything seen before. The dystopian worlds depicted in these authors’ works, influenced the developers’ ideas and ultimately shaped the Atomic Hearts world. “Our goal is to create lingering memories of the immersive world of Atomic Heart for a long time after the players finish the game.”
Atomic Hearts combines open world elements with closed space areas such as underground labs. It focuses on creating a seamless playing experience without loading screens so players have a much more immersive experience without any breaks. “Its structure is built in a way to constantly surprise players and challenge their feelings and expectations. The environment of the players will always change from huge and bright open spaces to dark and vicious dungeons. We really wanted players to feel like being on an emotional roller coaster.”
Of course any game with open world elements raises the question as to how big the game really is? How long will it take gamers to finish the game? If the game is too long then the overall experience can feel grindy and not very enjoyable; if the game is too short, then it is over when the fun begins. However, Atomic Heart is just right at the sweet Goldilocks spot where the game isn’t too long or too short. “To complete the main story campaign, players will need to spend approximately 20-25 hours. But since the world of Atomic Heart is quite huge and filled with various activities, the full completion will take much longer. Indeed, it is difficult to give the exact number, however, I can assume that the very completion of the game may take the player about 35-40 hours.”
The game caters to different players of different skills. Meaning no matter if you just want to have an easy and relaxing time playing the game or want to test your mettle, you can choose a difficulty level according to your needs. Bagratuni said that, “We wanted every player to be able to freely choose their own way to experience the game, so we developed 3 difficulty levels: easy story mode, normal difficulty mode and the hardest one for those players, who enjoy tough challenges.”
With many games nowadays giving center stage to player choices and their consequences, gamers can get overwhelmed and feel like the weight of the world is on their shoulders. But with Atomic Hearts, save for two decisions at the end of the game, their choices will not affect the game’s plot. However, there are plenty of dialogue options that reveal a plethora about the game world and the overarching plot. Even though the main questline proceeds in a set sequence, players can switch off the rails at any time and proceed what to do and where to do it any time.
Every good game needs to give its players adequate weapons and upgrades to make their gaming experience fun and rewarding. “There will be 12 types of weapons in total, and for each of them there are several various types of upgrades and multiple skill branches.” said the game director. “To be able to upgrade your arsenal, you will need to collect components by searching every piece of furniture, equipment, and corpses around. When you have enough components, you will be able to use a crafting machine NORA, whose AI will surprise you with its sassy attitude. You will have an opportunity to create bullets, add elementary effects to them, and create other things as well.”
In addition to their arsenal of weapons, gamers will get to use the experimental power glove with an embedded polymer AI named CHAR-les. It will act as a companion of sorts and offer information on the game world, plot, areas, and characters. Rather than simply being an exposition dump, CHAR-les will also help you during the game performing various functions. “The special features it will give you access to are scanning the area, as well as hacking robots and other equipment. In battle, he will give you telekinetic abilities that allow you to fight, as well as quickly extract components from the remains of your enemies. Thanks to these abilities, you will be able to install energy shields and use electrical, freezing, and telekinetic power.” Bagratuni went on to elaborate.
There will also be no restrictions to the limit of crafting components and materials that players can carry. Which means they won’t have to deal with the headache of managing their inventory and carry weight. “There will be no restrictions here. They will be able to loot and carry all components they can find. The main thing is to always collect them and spend on improving the arsenal in order to be able to reach the end and reveal the truth behind the technological nightmare happening in the world of Atomic Heart.”
What’s interesting to note is that Atomic Heart will be coming to Gamepass on Day One. This gives even more players around the world access to the game, even those who would be on the fence about it. But due it to being on Gamepass, they can check it out and play and even buy the game to play it whenever they’d like. “Our entire team consists of enthusiastic players, so our main goal is to share our unique gaming vision and the game that we have been developing for more than 5 years, even with those who may not have been interested in Atomic Heart before. The realization that players around the world will start playing and sharing their feedback with us is the most invaluable for us! So, collaborating with Microsoft and putting Atomic Heart in Xbox Game Pass from day one brings us closer to this precious goal.”
Special care was taken to ensure that the game ran smoothly and well optimized on both next gen and older systems. All Gen8 consoles and systems worked well for performance while next-gen systems were adequate to handle the game along with providing better quality graphics. “When we started, we had to research different optimization directions to optimize past gen memory, GPU, and CPU. Next-gen consoles were good enough to handle our game, but every Gen8 optimization also worked for performance across all platforms, so it helped us display better graphics quality on Gen9 without loss of performance.” the director added.
All in all, Atomic Hearts offers a unique experience that will grip players for many hours. The game releases later during the month on February 21 and set to earn its place in the hearts of gamers across the globe as Bagratuni puts it. Developer Mundfish will also be releasing DLCs for Atomic Heart so gamers will have a lot to look forward even after the game is released.