Mick Gordon, the composer on games like 2017’s Prey, the Doom reboots, and the new Wolfenstein games, has been hard at work on upcoming BioShock-like Atomic Heart (opens in new tab), but he’s not keeping the money for it. In a post to Twitter earlier today, the veteran videogame musician announced he’s going to donate his fee for the game to the Australian Red Cross Ukraine Crisis Appeal (opens in new tab), in order to “use [his] work as a means to help those affected by the conflict” that began when Russia invaded Ukraine almost a year ago.
Atomic Heart, which releases next week, is being developed by Mundfish, a Russian studio. But Gordon’s donation isn’t intended as a disavowal of either the game or its developer, which Gordon praised highly for its commitment to “imagination and artistic freedom”. The artist says he’s excited to hear his “musical contributions come to life” when the game comes out. Gordon reserves his ire for the Russian government alone, saying, “This invasion was not a decision of the Russian people but rather an authoritarian regime that disregards human rights and dignity”.
My musical contribution to #AtomicHeart will also support a greater cause. I’ve donated my fee to @RedCrossAU’s Ukraine Crisis Appeal to stand in solidarity with the people of Ukraine.If you’re able to, please consider donating.Together we can make a difference. #SupportUkraine pic.twitter.com/ADVZiWafw8February 14, 2023
Gordon says he is making the donation because he believes it’s important to “support pro-peace organisations, stand up for what is right and to help those in need, especially during times of crisis”. He calls for the world to “demand an end to this aggression and stand in solidarity with the Ukrainian people”.
It’s a laudable decision on Gordon’s part, but the accompanying statement does read a little strangely if only because it doesn’t address the elephant in the room of Atomic Heart’s Russian provenance. Mundfish has come in for criticism by some onlookers for failing to adopt what they consider a sufficiently pro-Ukrainian stance in its few statements on Russia’s ongoing invasion. Making those kinds of comments in Russia is a fraught prospect at the moment (opens in new tab), which is a possible reason Mundfish has mostly avoided the issue. I get the feeling that Gordon is trying to thread the needle of trying to act on his personal values while keeping his colleagues at Mundfish out of the line of fire back home.
This isn’t the first time Mick Gordon’s graced our news pages in recent months. He last appeared in November due to his dispute with Bethesda (opens in new tab) over his work on Doom Eternal. Gordon said he was the target of unfair and dishonest behaviour by id Software that led him to quit work on the game, a claim that Bethesda’s lawyers dismissed as “a one-sided and unjust account of the facts of the case”. At the very least, Gordon’s working relationship with Mundfish seems to be on a much firmer footing.