Interview: Mundfish CEO and founder Robert Bagratuni on Atomic Heart

We got a chance to have a quick chat with Mundfish founder and CEO, Robert Bagratuni to talk about the upcoming game, Atomic Heart.

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There’s been quite a bit of anticipation towards Atomic Heart, given it’s been in development since 2017. We did get a slice of the action courtesy of some featurettes and trailers in 2021, and some of us were even able to get a taste of the action firsthand earlier this year.

All things considered, the game’s release is just around the corner–and during 2023’s Taipei Game Show, we got a chance to have a quick chat with Mundfish founder and CEO, Robert Bagratuni to talk about the upcoming horror, action, and what looks like a jack-of-all trades brand of shooter.

Robert, who’d been enjoying his experience in Taipei, gave us a glimpse into Atomic Heart’s inception.

Atomic Heart went through quite the development process, and there was a lot of buzz behind it. Do you mind walking us through your experiences? How easy or difficult was it to get to the finish line?

Robert: If I said it wasn’t difficult, I’d be lying. It was our first project, and had just 3 people working on it. We were setting out to create something special, something interesting. It’s like we didn’t know anything until 2018’s pre production. But we understood what we wanted to delivery. So, we worked on the worldbuilding, the assets, the music, and finally, the testing. It’s something special in the best way ever. In 2018, during our first announcement, we understood that this is our chance to go all in! We’ve been motivated, for more than five years.

Who would you say is Atomic Heart’s true target audience?

Robert: Anybody who wants to have some single player experiences, unbelievable feelings–people willing to play something special like a game they played many years ago like Half life or Bioshock. Classic single player players!

What do you believe Atomic Heart brings to the table in enticing FPS gamers and potential fans? What’s its “X-Factor?” especially since there have been so many games in this genre.

Robert: We’re not competing in that area, because we want to give players an emotional roller coaster–eclectic, different styles, with very good taste, and a cool experience. It’s all about emotions. Every 1 and a half hour, you’ll experience a different emotion. You start the game in a special, colorful, and exciting place, and then the disaster begins. Soon you’ll find yourself in a horrible situation with enemies, danger, and a lot of despair.

The game is a mix of genres, which brings a refreshing and intriguing experience to anyone who’d get their hands on it for the first time. Would you say that the game is able to balance all of these elements?

Robert: The last few months were spent playtesting, and talking to players. Finding that balance is our aim. It’s our responsibility. You’ll use a lot of weapons, the RPG system is extensive, and there’s an interesting story. You will definitely enjoy it.

Atomic Heart features action, horror, gore, and a few puzzles here and there. From what I see, there’s a certain amount of difficulty in the game. In your opinion, is that one of the prime features of the game – appealing to those who really want a challenge?

Robert: Yes, it can give you a challenge, especially if you choose the hardest difficulty. We have difficulties for all players, but the hardest difficulty will require a lot of skill and patience. I play on hardest because I enjoy those kinds of games. It will challenge you if you enjoy that level of difficulty, but it will be frustrating if not. Otherwise, you can always try out the difficulties that focus more on the story.

What’s your favorite mechanic in the game?

Robert: My favorite mechanic has to be the energy weapons that you’ll be incorporating into melee combat. They’re fun, they’re powerful, and they’re very cool to look at. You can suck energy from your enemies, create a shield, and use the “magic hand” in so many ways. I probably shouldn’t call it the “magic hand.”

I’m pretty sure a popular streamer out there will call it that, so “Magic Hand” would be just fine.”

Robert: That’s great!

I believe that Atomic Heart has a few DLCs lined up this year. Are there any plans for a sequel on the horizon?

Robert: I wish to work on a sequel, but we want to check this out first and see the perception of the audience. We want to take a break…maybe just for a few days after release–I’m joking. We’ll gather more info, and see what people like.

Of course, aside from Atomic Heart, what’s the last game you played that you truly enjoyed? What was the biggest inspiration for Atomic Heart, if any?

Robert: I played Bloodborne, 200 hours. Recently, Cyberpunk 2077. I started on PC then PS5. I was very happy at the time. But last year, I had no time to play games.

Inspiration? Well, from everywhere. For our game designer Artem (Galeev), it’s Nintendo Games, strangely enough. Like, Super Mario, with the platforming and the puzzles. For me, personally, Bioshock, Half Life, Fallout, Doom. We also took inspiration from films like District 9, and other games like Oblivion. It will remind you of some of the classics, but the whole perception of the game will be something special.

Atomic Heart is set for release on February 21, 2023 on PC via Steam, the PlayStation 5 and PlayStation 4. It comes in the Standard Edition (USD $69.99), consisting of the base game; the Gold Edition (USD $99.99), consisting of the base game and the Atomic Pass; and the Premium Edition (USD $109.99), consisting of the Gold Edition, an exclusive digital artbook and premium weapon skins.