Atomic Heart Story Explained (Quick Version)

A key to unlock the answers of the story

If you've played Atomic Heart, then you know that the story is more than a little complicated. You can finish the whole game and still have a hard time following everything. And that’s not your fault.

Almost everyone is lying to you. And on top of that, there’s so much happening behind the scenes. It’s easy to miss out on these subtle details because of all the carnage. 

Well, don't worry! I've written down every important bit here. And it’s all in chronological order, so you should have no issue in seeing the big picture! 


Let's start at the very beginning. That's the best way to understand the story.

The game's story takes place in an alternating universe. It diverges from our world in 1937. This is the year when Professor Dmitry Sergeyevich Sechenov discovered Polymer.

This wonderful, miraculous substance is a storage device that changed science forever. It serves to create the power source for all robots. It also makes your glove work, and makes it possible to have a flying city like Chemoley.

But there’s a creepier side. There’s another kind of polymer. You've already seen this during the game. It can eat up a person's body and store whatever's in their head.

The Kollectiv System

Now, let's talk about The Kollectiv System. This is a computer network with all robots in it. Thanks to this, human labor has been replaced with robots everywhere. Quite the opposite of what we have today, but oh well.

So the obvious next step is an update, right? This is where Kollectiv 2.0 comes in. With this, humans are able to connect to the network. Why would anyone want that?

Two reasons. First, it lets people control robots with just their thoughts. Handy, right?

And second, the system is supposed to be equal. No one has more authority than another person.  

Except, that’s a lie. Because Sechenov pulled a Sauron and made the Alpha Connector. Basically, he has more control than anyone else. And that’s not the only problem.

In case you didn’t catch it, The Kollectiv is actually a not-so subtle metaphor for Communism. The way it’s named, the way it works… It can’t be anything else.

Atomic Heart

Before getting any further, we need to understand what the Atomic Heart Project is. This isn't actually the most important story beat. But it helps explain why every single robot is armed to the teeth.

Basically, Atomic Heart is a project by the USSR to overthrow America. First, they'll ship these robots to the US as tools. Once they're everywhere, they will activate combat mode. The aggressive robots will destabilize the country and the Soviets will step in to instill communism. 


So far, no one in the Soviet Union has a problem with this. The conflict comes in because of Kollectiv 2.0. You see, all the humans who have connected to Kollectiv have become crazy. 

Their minds are stuck in Limbo, a world of hallucination. In the real world, their bodies act senile and childlike. And that’s not the worst of it. They can be controlled by whoever has the Alpha Connector.

Basically, Sechenov can use Kollectiv to control whoever he wants.

Chariton Zakharov

Somewhere during this time, Professor Chariton Zakharov began working with Sechenov. Two brilliant scientists are better than one, right? Sadly, Zakharov died.

Now we never actually find out for sure if Zakharov's death was actually accidental. Or if Sechenov killed him. Larissa calls him a ‘misanthrope’ at one point, and another note suggests that he was more interested in polymers than humans. Either way, we know what the result was.

After getting polymerized, Sechenov stuffed him in a glove. Then he assigns Zakharov to guide the player and pretend to be an AI.

Zakharov's plans are different, though. You see, he's the main big bad of this game. And despite being polymer goo, he's the one pulling the strings.

He's a master manipulator who has some other plans for Kollectiv. We never find out what those plans are. But he feeds the protagonist information and makes him doubt Sechenov.

In fact, most of the information we have is from him. So we don't even know how much of it is true!

Petrov and Filatova

Zakharov wasn’t the only one with other plans. Two other scientists, Petrov and Filatova, were unhappy with how Kollectiv affects people. So they planned to sabotage the whole thing before it went up.

The best way to do that would be to expose the Atomic Heart Project. Except, Petrov had a (not so) bright idea. He hacked into all the robots and activated combat mode!

It works in one sense. Now everyone can see that the robots are deadly. On the other hand, the guy single-handedly kills a lot of people! And that's how our protagonist comes into the play.


P-3, or Major Sergey Alekseyevich Nechayev, is the main character. He’s a war veteran who had a severe brain injury during a mission. His wife also died during the same incident, leaving him with PTSD.

Sechenov treated him and used a brain implant to stabilize him. It replaced the memories of his wife with false ones. And as a bonus, it can throw him into Limbo with a signal.

Unlike most of the other people, P-3 is deadly when he's there. While he sees a colorful wonderland, outside he kills anyone in front of him. But he doesn't know that, he only thinks he's having black outs.

The Twins

Just another note before moving forward. Remember P-3's wife? She didn't make it but Sechenov actually managed to recover her brain imprint. 

And he did a creepy thing by making his personal bodyguards with them. His metallic twins. This isn't very important, but we'll come back to this at the very end.

The Present Day

So now we're ready to make sense of the events of the game. P-3 starts off in a massive parade. It's a celebration for the launch of Kollectiv 2.0. 

But he's not here to celebrate. He is sent to Facility 3826 where Petrov is causing a data breach. By the time P-3 lands, Petrov has already hacked the robots and things are very chaotic.

Facility 3826

A lot of things happen in Facility 3826, but they're not really very relevant. He tries to find a way to shut down the robots but there's always one complication or another.

And all through this time, Zakharov guides him as CHAR-les. As the player, you yourself might have found yourself being swayed by his words. He basically paints Sechenov as the big villain who's lying to P-3.

Eventually, P-3 confronts Petrov and finds out about Atomic Heart. By this point, P-3 isn't sure who to trust anymore. He thinks everyone has been manipulating him.

Academy of Consequences

If that wasn’t bad enough, it gets worse. The last straw breaks when Filatova tells him what Kollectiv does to people. And his own backstory.

Obviously he doesn't want to believe it at first. But by the end of it, he's ready to fight Sechenov.

Final Confrontation

Finally, P-3 confronts Sechenov. The scientist tries to tell him that Zakharov is manipulating him. But P-3 doesn't trust him anymore.

After P-3 defeats the metallic twins, he shoots Sechenov. And that’s when Zakharov shows his true colors. He zaps P-3, pops out of his glove. Then he merges with more red polymer and takes on a human shape.

Then, Zakharov destroys the Alpha Connector, but we don’t know if he made any changes. Afterwards, he absorbs Sechenov’s body and disappears.

The game never clarifies what Zakharov’s true plans are. He hints at plans for humanity but he never clarifies what they are.

The game doesn't mention P-3, but we know for sure that he's alive. The final scene of the game shows him back in Limbo, reaching for one of the twins. 

Remember how I said we'd get back to the twins? Well, this scene seems to imply that P-3 and his wife are finally reunited.

It's impossible to say if we'll ever get any more answers. That depends on if Mundfish makes a sequel. The Beta Connectors were never actually destroyed, so there’s that. But there you have it, the story of Atomic Heart!


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A prolific and published author with a fervor for gaming, I have decided to dedicate myself to these two bring in a way that inspire passion and desires to learn and explore in others.
Gamer Since: 2000
Favorite Genre: RPG
Currently Playing: Dishonored
Top 3 Favorite Games:The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - Dragonborn, Assassin's Creed 2 , Dishonored

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