Trying to Wrap Your Brain Around the Ending of 'Atomic Heart'? Here’s What It Means

There are two endings to 'Atomic Heart' that offer radically different conclusions to the story. Here are the two 'Atomic Heart' endings explained.

Jon Bitner - Author

Feb. 22 2023, Published 3:03 p.m. ET

Atomic Heart Combat
Source: Mundfish

The dystopian, open-world adventure offered by Atomic Heart will bring you in contact with a host of bizarre characters and spin you through a series of wild plot points. And while you’re largely free to explore the USSR as you see fit, the game doesn’t offer much in the way of player choice. In fact, there are really only two endings in Atomic Heart – but they wrap up the story in radically different ways.

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Here are the two Atomic Heart endings explained, along with a look at what you need to do to earn both endings.

Note: This post contains major spoilers for Atomic Heart.

Atomic Heart Battle
Source: Mundfish
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Both of the 'Atomic Heart' endings explained.

The story of Atomic Heart is largely a linear experience, with every player experiencing most of the same events. This all changes at the end of the game, however, as you’ll be faced with a massive decision that will impact your ending. As you approach the game’s final boss and watch one of the game’s last cutscenes, you’ll be given two dialogue options:

  • "I’m not laying a finger on Sechenov. I’m out. I’ve had enough of this game."
  • "Whatever, lady… why don’t you show me what’s in that arsenal of yours?"

If you pick the first option (I’m not laying a finger on Sechenov), you’ll leave Sechenov alone. P-3 will destroy his glove, give a brief speech about his adventure, walk away… and that’s about it.

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But if you opt for the second option (Whatever, lady…), you’ll gain access to a weapon locker before heading out to kill Sechenov. You’ll also need to eliminate The Twins. Most folks see this as the true ending of the game, as this will also reveal that Charles (your lovable companion) is actually the one responsible for P-3 blacking out and has secretly been trying to eradicate humanity.

Atomic Heart Ending
Source: Mundfish
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There’s plenty of ambiguity with this ending, as Charles manages to make a bit of an escape and uses a tank of Red Polymer to take a human form and kill Sechenov. Charles possibly even consumed Sechenov’s body, as we're told no traces of the man could be found. It’s also implied that Facility 3826 is likely overtaken by Charles. P-3, meanwhile, becomes trapped in a limbo state, where he sees one of The Twins with his wife’s personality.

There are a lot of questions offered by this Atomic Heart ending, but it seems most likely that humanity has lost its battle and robots are now in control. It’s unclear how many people are still alive and trying to fight back – and Atomic Heart certainly leaves the door open for a sequel or DLC to further explain its endings.

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