Atomic Heart composer Mick Gordon donates fee to Ukraine aid

Gordon has donated his earnings from Atomic Heart to the Red Cross' Ukraine Crisis Appeal.
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Atomic Heart soundtrack composer Mick Gordon has announced he will donate his earnings for the game to the Red Cross, as part of its Ukraine Crisis Appeal. In a statement, Gordon said he had been engaged by game developer Mundfish to work on the ‘musical vision’ of Atomic Heart in early 2020, with his decision to work with the team being motivated by a love for ‘Soviet-era synthesisers’ and ‘exciting creative opportunity’.

‘I am proud to donate my fee from the game to the Australian Red Cross’ Ukraine Crisis Appeal in support of the people of Ukraine who are heroically defending their country against aggression,’ Gordon said. ‘I believe it is important to support pro-peace organisations, stand up for what is right and to help those in need, especially during times of crisis. This donation is a way for me to provide practical support to those whose lives have been impacted by war.’

Atomic Heart is a post-apocalyptic game that uses the aesthetics, soundtrack, and imagery of Soviet-era Russia for a dystopian tale of survival against dramatic, robot-infused odds. While not directly mentioned by Gordon in his statement, the game has recently come under fire due to the allegedly murky origins of Mundfish.

In early January 2023, the developer had to fight back against claims it was harvesting data for Russian authorities, as a report from AIN.Capital surfaced a peculiar clause in the game’s privacy policy.

‘The privacy policy published on the studio’s website directly refers to the collection of user data, and the possible transfer of this data to Russian state authorities, in particular, the tax office and FSB,’ AIN.Capital alleged. ‘The authors of this policy, citing the legislation under which the data are collected, also mention Russian mobilisation laws, under which soldiers are currently being recruited in Russia to continue the criminal war against Ukraine.’

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In addition, AIN.Capital alleged Mundfish was a Russian-backed company operating out of Moscow, despite the studio claiming it was based in Cyprus. In response to these claims, Mundfish labelled the privacy statement ‘outdated and wrong‘ but did not deny other allegations.

‘We have noted the questions surrounding where we, at Mundfish, stand. We want to assure you that Mundfish is a developer and studio with a global team focused on an innovative game and is undeniably a pro-peace organisation against violence against people,’ the studio later said on Twitter.

‘We do not comment on politics or religion. Rest assured; we are a global team focused on getting Atomic Heart into the hands of gamers everywhere. We do not, and will not, condone contributors or spammers with offensive, hateful, discriminatory, violent, or threatening language or content.’

While the allegations of AIN.Capital have yet to be definitively addressed, many questions remain about Mundfish, and its alleged ties to Russia, local investors, and the government.

Whatever the motivation, Gordon’s stance is a welcome one – and a clear sign of support for Ukraine, which continues to suffer as Russia unjustly continues its campaign of war against the region. Those who are able to donate are encouraged to support the Red Cross and other organisations currently working to aid the Ukranian people.

Leah J. Williams is a gaming and entertainment journalist who's spent years writing about the games industry, her love for The Sims 2 on Nintendo DS and every piece of weird history she knows. You can find her tweeting @legenette most days.