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Atomic Heart composer explains decision to donate fee to Ukraine Crisis Appeal

"I have a strong ethical and moral obligation to help those in need and stand up for what I believe is right."

Mick Gordon, the composer for the forthcoming Atomic Heart, has further explained his decision to donate his entire fee to Red Cross Australia's Ukraine Crisis Appeal, via a statement to Eurogamer.

Writing on Twitter yesterday, Gordon said he donated the fee "to stand in solidarity with the people of Ukraine".

He continued: "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."

Cover image for YouTube videoAtomic Heart - Release Date Trailer and Preorders | ****!
Atomic Heart's release date trailer.

Gordon's decision was met with praise, though it also raised some eyebrows following concerns about Atomic Heart's developer Mundfish. The company, which is headquartered in Cyprus, has seemingly hidden its Russian roots, denied it's harvesting data for Russian authorities, and has been criticised for its overt Soviet themes.

A vague statement from Mundfish itself on its political stance and views on the war in Ukraine has also sparked criticism.

Now, in a statement to Eurogamer, Gordon expanded further on his decision to donate his fee towards the Ukraine Crisis Appeal, and commented on Mundfish itself.

"I donated to the Ukraine Crisis Appeal specifically because I wanted to help provide emergency relief and longer-term humanitarian support to people and communities affected by the war in Ukraine," he said, before praising The Australian Red Cross for its "commitment to transparency and accountability in their fundraising and donation management".

He continued: "As someone who started working on Atomic Heart almost two years before the 2022 invasion of Ukraine, I understand that the situation in the region is incredibly difficult and that many people have been affected by the conflict. I want to make it very clear that I vehemently condemn Putin's violent aggression toward Ukraine and stand in solidarity with the Ukrainian people. It is unacceptable for any government to use military force to annex another country's territory and violate international law and human rights principles. The ongoing conflict has resulted in widespread human suffering, and it is our collective responsibility to support those affected and work towards a peaceful resolution.

"My motivations are solely to support the Ukrainian people affected by the conflict. While I understand the appeal of making a private donation, transparency is important, especially regarding issues as serious as the conflict in Ukraine. By making my donation public, I hope to show my support for the Ukrainian people, raise awareness about the conflict, and encourage others to consider donating."

Gordon praised Mundfish and the artistry of its international team.

"I believe it is important to separate the actions of a government from the actions of individual citizens," he said. "The talented team at Mundfish has worked hard for many years to create a unique and imaginative project, and I am grateful for the opportunity to have contributed to it. The game is a truly international effort, with 130 developers contributing to the project from more than ten different countries. I deeply respect the artistry and creativity that went into the development of Atomic Heart, and I am grateful for the opportunity to work with the Mundfish team. I also have a strong ethical and moral obligation to help those in need and stand up for what I believe is right. I hope that by making my donation public, I can also encourage others to consider making a difference."

Gordon's Twitter statement also references his love for Soviet-era synthesisers, which influenced the score for Atomic Heart - alongside collaborators Boris Brejcha and Geoffrey Day.

"I developed custom-tuning scales for my synthesizers specifically designed to reflect the game's insane robots and imaginative world-building," Gordon added to Eurogamer. "One of the instruments I used to achieve this sound was the Aelita synthesizer, a rare Soviet-era synth known for its unusual sound and quirky design. Its distinctive sound helped me to capture the game's surreal and imaginative qualities while also adding an authentic Soviet-era vibe to the music.

"I am incredibly proud of the work that my fellow composers and I did on the score for Atomic Heart."

Atomic Heart is set for release on 21st February across PC, PlayStation and Xbox consoles. It will also be released on Game Pass.