Atomic Heart: Our Questions Answered - IGN First - IGN

Atomic Heart: Our Questions Answered – IGN First – IGN

After a month of covering Atomic Heart as part of IGN First, we still had a lot to know about the upcoming shooter. So we asked game director Robert Bagratuni a few of the many questions we still have and learned a lot of interesting new details.

There is a lot of melee combat. Is this by design or are resources such as ammo limited?

Mundfish says that “every game needs balance, and Atomic Heart is no exception. We’ve meticulously crafted each weapon to perform uniquely in battle and be needed in its path. Yes, the melee saves ammunition, because there are a lot of enemies, and it is unlikely that you will always have enough ammo to eliminate them all, that’s why we have a special mechanic that allows us to accumulate energy in close combat, and later it can be used to fire special energy weapons.

Many upgraded melee weapons also have special attacks that give you advantages that ranged weapons never could. The key is to combine weapon types and tactics, because in some fights you have to face several types of enemies at once.

What are the difficulty options and what do you recommend?

Atomic Heart has three difficulty options as Bagratuni details: “Like most games, Atomic Heart has a story, medium and hard difficulty levels. For those who want to focus on the story, for those who want to go through the game as planned, and for those who fear nothing in this world and have strong nerves. The difficulty level won’t affect the story, so it’s up to the player to relax in the battles or sweat it out.

Are there other elemental attacks beyond lightning and ice?

There are many other abilities available in Atomic Heart. Among them is the Polymer Bomb skill which allows you to cover enemies with a polymeric substance that is highly reactive to light, frost, and fire. Director Robert Bagratuni says, “If you coat your opponents in polymer and then shock them with a taser, they won’t have a chance of winning. If aggression isn’t your approach, grab a polymer shield and then freeze – protect yourself from attacks with the shield, freeze your opponent at the right time, and safely destroy them quietly.

Mundfish has confirmed that there is no shooting skill in the game, but you can use special weapon attachments that render incendiary bullets. So you can combine these skills and mechanics to create unique in-game effects such as rings of fire, electrified or frozen traps, etc.

Is there stealth gameplay?

“It depends on how you are going to play and what weapons you prefer,” says the director. “The game has mechanics that allow you to quietly get rid of organic and mechanical enemies without attracting attention. There is also an alarm system that will summon more and more robots, but even for this there are actions to help you avoid unnecessary attention – a large ecosystem of facilities that connects all robots into a single communication network with a large number of nodes.

He continues: “There is no full stealth mode in the game – you can’t get away with it as some games can be played without combat. You can significantly reduce the number of enemies, you can be cautious, not raise the alarm and use tactics both in battle and when exploring the world. But we have to fight.”

What does Mick Gordon’s music bring to Atomic Heart?

The team say working with Gordon has been a joy – “Mick did an amazing job for us – he set the mood in a very classy way. There’s a lot of his music in the open world – it’s is literally filled with Mick, and his music matches the high-paced combat we see in the open world, he sets the mood and the emotion, and it’s like telling you what to do next.

Soviet-style pop meets juicy Doom-style remixes.

“But apart from Mick’s work, you can find a lot of other compositions from the last century, from the 50s-80s,” Bagratuni continues. “Music is very important for immersion, especially in our case – when you’re creating a retro-futuristic world where history has taken an alternate path, but where great musicians from the past still wrote their songs. Soviet-style pop meets juicy Doom-style remixes – it’s very impressive.

How much driving is there in Atomic Heart?

There is only one car model that you can drive directly, to reflect the lack of options that existed in the real USSR. As for its uses, the director clarifies that “It’s quite handy when you have to get away from a lot of enemies while crushing a few robots. Or if you don’t want to spend a lot of time exploring the regions on foot. Sure, it’s not a game about everyday life in a big city where you use a car to get from point A to point B, but it’s a big world and a car is convenient. Maybe in the DLC we’ll add more vehicles like buses and tractors – but that’s more for fun than what we should have focused on in this game.

Is the world totally open from the start? What is his size?

The developers say that “the world of Atomic Heart is quite large, but creating a completely open world doesn’t always work well. We’re aiming for more narrative coherence here, but not to make it one huge map with points of interest where you jump from problem to problem, completely forgetting the story.

“Beyond that, we wanted to recreate the atmosphere of a ‘closed and secret installation’ where entrances and exits are carefully guarded. It is important to understand that laboratories and other buildings are not only above ground, but also below. If you imagine this world and try to compare it to something, it most resembles a mushroom tree, branching out and going in all directions.

Bagratuni continues, “When the player emerges from the first underground complex, where they are just beginning to immerse themselves in the story and understand their character’s strengths, an open world awaits them. There are many interesting territories in the open world as well as carefully hidden optional locations. We only see one. There are quite a few such places, but you will have to make an effort to find them.

“Apart from this, you can walk, swim, drive in any direction, search for secluded places where you can find something valuable, and collect the stories of the inhabitants of the world and anything that will help you understand the intrigue more deeply. There’s plenty to do in the world of Atomic Heart. Most importantly, traveling through the world of Atomic is seamless – with no loading screens.

Are there any environmental story items to find?

Atomic Heart is a story-driven game, as Mundfish explains: “The narrative is the main engine of the game. The story is told through both the environment and the huge amount of dialogue between the characters main. This includes general reasoning about what’s going on, obtaining tasks, character relationships, and a slew of cutscenes that immerse you in the game’s world and events.

In Bagratuni’s opinion, Atomic Heart’s story “is the strongest aspect of the game”. As for the influences, they were “inspired by many dystopian novels from the 30s to the 80s, by the great masters of science fiction. The story has both comedic and deeply philosophical issues, drama, detective and twists.

What is the balance between combat, story and puzzles?

Bagratuni wants to keep players guessing throughout Atomic Heart: “We wanted to create a game that will surprise you all the time during the whole passage – to give new feelings, events and places. It’s a kind of roller coaster of At first it’s all bright and happy, then it’s horror where you’re scared to take a step, then when you’re stronger and understand how it all works, the game changes pace, pushing you against new opponents and events.”

We wanted to make a game that will surprise you all the time.

“The player’s experience will depend on what is more interesting for him. Some can spend a lot of time in the open world destructive robots to build themselves a new super powerful gun. Someone will decide to unlock all the optional puzzles, where rare and valuable rewards await, and some will follow the story without being distracted by combat.

What’s your favorite build/loadout to play with?

Bagratuni shared that his perfect loadout is “Telekinetic and Polymer Bomb Skills, Pashtet Melee Weapon with its Flying Blade Special Attack, and Electro Gun.” He prefers to use freezing ammo for close combat and shooting ammo for long range combat. Saying that “along with the polymer bomb and telekinesis, this makes a great all-purpose set that can be used dynamically in battle. You can also create different traps for your opponents by creating a polymer halt in front of them and giving them elementary properties.

“Honestly everyone on our team plays differently, some push through, some are more cautious and choose a strategy with shield and enemy control. But I really like seeing how others play the game differently and use cool combinations of weapons, skills, and upgrades, which I’ve never seen before.

Hope you have an even deeper understanding of Atomic Heart after this and all of our IGN First features on Atomic Heart. If you miss any, check out the game’s alternate Soviet world history or our exclusive hands-on preview.

Simon Cardy thinks we should stop trying to build robots that might turn against us. Follow him on Twitter at @CardySimon.

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