Skip to main content

Helldivers 2 developers have big, opaque plans for Galactic War and that black hole you made

The bug report

A squad of armoured Helldivers gather around a table on a spaceship to plan their next move.
Image credit: Arrowhead

Game development studio and intergalactic war ministry Arrowhead have launched a new series of written update posts for players of Helldivers 2 to help keep the war record straight. Mostly, this is the usual case of somebody on the team gathering quotes as the developers batter their fingertips against keyboards to bring you, the video gamer, fresh cannons and what-have-you. But there is some insight into what the conflict-pushers at Arrowhead have enjoyed most about player actions over the last month, including bringing an entire planet to the liberated state of post-existence.

To sum it up, the government is pleased with its soldiers. They judge the recent destruction of the planet Merida as fortuitous, and the appearance of the black hole that showed up to replace it as "a reminder of all the hard-won battles that brought us here." That's according to mysterious game master Joel, who is also pleased at the speculation surrounding this black hole. "Keep it coming!" he says.

Now that this planet (and its supercolony of bugs) is gone, the studio is redirecting its players' vitriol towards the robotic Automaton enemies.

"[We] have discovered that the Automatons are planning a massive terraforming project on Cyberstan," says the post. "Obviously, we cannot allow them to continue with this plan... it's finally time to launch a counteroffensive against them to dismantle their unjust and illegal occupation."

It's more of the classic war-chat that makes Helldivers 2 such a popular playable inside joke. If you enjoy this ongoing back and forth between player and developer, there are hints that the dev team is seeking to make some "improvements" to Joel's role in directing the wartorn universe.

"I’m very excited to see the future improvements we want to make to the Galactic War and all the tools we have planned for the Game Master," says production director, Alex Bolle. "One of our pillars for the future is to focus on playing with (or against) the community, and what I see so far tells me that we’ll have a lot of fun."

The director also reiterated the studio's reasoning for reducing the number of updates to the game, in favour of more infrequent and thorough patches.

"We see our relationship with players like being a showman, and [we want to] delight them with regular updates," said Bolle. "But we noticed that those hotfixes became too usual for us to focus on bigger content. Rethinking our cadence helps us reach the quality expected, and incorporate more thorough bug fixes... We want to extend our bug fixing periods so that we pick up the biggest flaws earlier."

You can read all the Helldiver histrionics for yourself in the update post on Steam. It's mostly a round-up of information players already know, but it's still a useful summary for anyone who doesn't tie themselves with patriotic fervour to every tweet and textbox. They'll do a similar post next month, they say, following whatever shenanigans are due to erupt in the meantime. Perhaps the long-rumoured third enemy faction, the Illuminate, will have appeared by then? Who can say.

Helldivers 2 is built upon a running gag of Verhoeven proportions. It's funny! But I do find a joke gets stale when you keep telling it over and over. I very much enjoy the satire of Starship Troopers, its principal inspiration, but that movie has the benefit of being 2 hours long. A luxury not shared by a video game designed to be replayed mission after mission. It will be interesting to see how the developers aim to keep the japes fresh.

Read this next