When does Atomic Heart take place? Atomic Heart time period

A “what if” Soviet era.

Image via Mundfish

Players are diving in to experience Atomic Heart, a first-person shooter seemingly inspired by the ever-popular Bioshock franchise. Atomic Heart does not take place in an underwater colony or steampunk city in the clouds, however. The game’s plot occurs in a different setting and even an alternated plane of existence and time. Players wondering just what to expect in Atomic Heart will likely want to know that the game takes place in an alternate version of 1955 Soviet Russia.

Related: Is Atomic Heart like Bioshock? Answered

Atomic Heart time period, explained

The main protagonist of Atomic Heart is Sergei Nechaev, who is referred to as P-3 for most of the game. While P-3 isn’t the most stable of people, he is nevertheless sent in to address the situation at Facility 3826. Robots are the main enemies of the game, a setup that involves technology turning against its creators.

The time period essentially exists in a bubble where Soviet Russia harnessed the power of artificial intelligence and lost control. The game plays on many aspects of the time period, though it does sometimes stumble with its use of modern slang and other elements that take the player out of the setting.

The period presented is well after World War II ended, but the game has also faced criticism for portraying an alternative version of Soviet Russia from the past. Developer Mundfish has been accused of having questionable ties to Russia, including providing data to the country and failing to condemn the war in Ukraine.

Related: Is Atomic Heart an open-world game?

Games that provide an alternative reality to past events are few and far between, and the Russian setting is not commonly part of a narrative. The time period provides a lot of character and helps strengthen the immersion of the bulky game while separating it from the games that inspired it.