Is Atomic Heart open-world?

Atomic Heart map with logoMundfish

Atomic Heart takes its Bioshock and Half Life influences and blends them together into a creative new FPS, but there’s been some confusion about whether or not Mundfish’s debut is open world. Here’s an easy guide explaining how the open world in Atomic Heart works.

Fans have had their eye on Atomic Heart ever since it was revealed back in 2018, thanks to its striking setting and combat. Five years on, the game is finally here and generating hype once again, especially after the news it would launch on Xbox Game Pass.

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Atomic Heart is clearly an ambitious title with enormous scope, but many of the players keeping up with each trailer have wondered if it will adopt the popular open-world format used by many big-name games.

So, is Atomic Heart open-world? We’ve got everything you need to know right here.

Does Atomic Heart have an open world?

Put simply, yes, Atomic Heart does feature an open world, but the developers have been keen to distance the game from the usual ideas of an open-world title.

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Atomic Heart takes place in Facility 3826, a sprawling section of the Soviet Union where killer robots have gone haywire. Following a brief introductory chapter, players will be able to freely explore the huge outdoor facility at their leisure, either on foot or by car.

Then, story missions will take players out of the open world into more contained dungeons, such as underground bunkers or off-site locations. After each story mission is complete, you will be returned to the open world to blast your way through even more twisted machines.

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Atomic Heart cover art

Atomic Heart game director Robert Bagratuni offered up more details about the open world, as well the narrative reasons for this approach, in a Q&A with IGN.

“The world of Atomic Heart is quite large, but creating a completely open world doesn’t always work well,” Bagratuni explained. “We were aiming for more narrative consistency here, but not to turn it into a huge map with points of interest where you go from one issue to the next, completely forgetting about the story.

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“When the player exits the first underground complex, where he is just beginning to immerse in the story and understand the strengths of his character, an open world awaits them. There are many interesting territories in the open world and also carefully hidden optional locations.”

The devs have also reassured players that transitioning between the huge open map and the smaller story-based areas will be “seamless,” in an effort to make Atomic Heart feel like a single connected world.

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It’s certainly an ambitious project for developer Mudfish’s first release, so much so that multiplayer had to be cut from the original vision. Hopefully, Atomic Heart can live up to the hype when it arrives in February.

For more on the biggest upcoming games, take a look at our other guides:

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