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A New CEO at Helldivers 2’s Development Studio Will Benefit Everyone on Super Earth

To alleviate being crushed under the weight of success.

Helldivers 2’s enormous success has been one of 2024’s surprise feel-good stories thanks to developer Arrowhead’s transparency with ongoing support for the game and its masterful cultivation of an active, fun community. But by the studio’s own admission, continuing to burn the candle at both ends risks endangering the environment that’s helped them stand out in a crowded field of live service games.

So to alleviate being crushed under the weight of success, Arrowhead Studios just hired a new CEO to replace studio founder Johan Pilestedt. The big change in leadership is meant to reinvigorate the creative team and help them better maintain their newfound success.

Shams Jorjani, a career video game executive who led Paradox Interactive (Crusader Kings, Cities Skylines) in various roles between 2009 and 2021, will replace Pilestedt effective immediately. Pilestedt will now take on the role of Chief Creative Officer.

The announcement was first shared on Twitter, then elaborated on in an interview he and Jorjani did with

“Over the last year going to launch of Helldivers 2, I’ve been pulled more towards the business side of things, and not able to focus as much on the creative side,” Pilestedt told the publication. “That made me realize I needed to make some decisions, both for the success of the business but also myself.”

Jorjani said that he’ll be bringing “organization and leadership” to Arrowhead, freeing Pilestedt to focus on his team’s hit game.

“It’s a lot of the (frankly) boring business administration stuff that is a necessary part of running a company, which is hard to do when you’re juggling the chairman’s hat, the creative director’s hat, and being in the trenches doing a lot of the designing.”

The two first met in 2011 during the production of Arrowhead’s game Magicka, which was published by Paradox around the same time that Jorjani joined the company, and they’ve remained close ever since. In addition to his role at Paradox, Jorjani was also the chairman of indie game publisher Hood Horse, and a senior adviser to several game businesses.

Shams Jorjani led Paradox Interactive for 11 years before stepping down in 2021. He will now lead Arrowhead Studios as CEO.

Reconnecting all these years later, Pilestedt and his team are now responsible for 2024’s most successful game so far, and PlayStation’s fastest-selling game ever. Helldivers 2 currently has one of the largest multiplayer communities and has become one of the most vibrant in the service game available today thanks to its creative approach to ongoing support. PlayStation did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The change in leadership comes a few weeks after Helldivers 2 publisher PlayStation Studios announced players on PC would need to create a PSN account to continue playing the game. The update went over poorly with the community, as such a requirement would retroactively make the game inaccessible to players in over 170 countries. Within a week, PlayStation backtracked on the decision.

While the community ultimately won the dispute, the backlash took a devastating toll on the team. Helldivers 2 Community Manager Thomas “Twinbeard” Petersson said on the game’s Discord at the time that Arrowhead developers “more or less 'lost' a week due” because of the controversy. This in turn affected the game directly, resulting in issues with player spawn rates and enemy patrol patterns.

Helldivers 2 is PlayStation’s fastest-selling first-party game of all time. The leadership change will help the team at Arrowhead better keep up with its success.

Arrowhead Studios

The announcement also comes shortly after Petersson signaled Arrowhead will be slowing down the rate at which it updates the action shooter starting with the game’s next patch.

“We want to take some more time for this one and potentially between future patches since we feel cadence has probably been a bit too high to be able to maintain the quality standard we want and you deserve,” Petersson said on the game’s Discord Tuesday. “I'd say it's [something] we have to try out and get a feel for. At the moment, we feel a slightly lower cadence overall will benefit both us, you, and the game.”

Hiring talent to help foster good morale is an excellent use of resources. Taking a step back to reassess and reorganize to ensure its creators are happy and healthier is an even better use of those resources and is the kind of priority all developers should make, even if it means pulling back from players’ expectations.

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