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Helldivers 2 Will Keep Going Forever With Help Of Automation, CEO Says

"We don't want to screw you guys over," Arrowhead CEO told fans.

The hype around Helldivers 2 is far from over. With hundreds of thousands of players dropping in daily, developer Arrowhead Studios will likely support this game and its active community for years to come. But in the far-flung, distant future where Arrowhead does have to step away from the game, CEO Johan Pilestedt said he has a contingency plan.

In a series of responses to fans in the Helldivers 2 Discord, Pilestedt addressed several concerns from fans still skeptical, following the controversial PSN account mandate PlayStation proposed to the Helldivers community earlier this month and the subsequent walk-back a few days later.

Asked if players in regions where Helldivers 2 was almost permanently delisted would ever lose access to the game, he said plainly: “If you have bought the game you will be able to play forever.”

Sometime in the distant future, an algorithm could be the driving force behind those who threaten democracy.

Arrowhead Studios

When another player followed up with a question about what forever really means, considering that even some popular games eventually lose continued support, Pilestedt clarified.

“Forever if I get to choose,” he said. “Even if we were to sunset the game. We would build automation on the gamemaster and other features. We don't want to screw you guys over.”

As it stands right now, the ongoing conflict that drives the Helldivers' indefinite mission is run by a sadistic, real-life gamemaster named Joel. Joel’s ability to respond to players in real-time is a major part of what makes Helldivers 2 tick, and now Pilestedt is suggesting he could one day run on AI.

It’s an intriguing promise from the developer’s CEO, who has been refreshingly transparent about ongoing support for the game, and even the recent PSN requirement debacle. Live service games, particularly in their waning days, are not known for getting indefinite support from developers and publishers. These types of games are notoriously expensive to keep going thanks to server upkeep costs and the price of creating new content drops for periodic updates. Arrowhead did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Arrowhead CEO Johan Pilestedt wants Helldivers 2 to go on indefinitely.

Arrowhead Studios

While the term automation has become conflated with the hot-button term “artificial intelligence” in today’s current landscape of games, what Pilestedt is suggesting isn’t something that’s meant to replace any of the creatives who currently working on the game.

The idea of using a kind of AI director to keep the galactic conflict going long after Joel and the rest of the game’s developers move on to other projects isn’t far removed from the automated, reactive intelligence that made classics like Valve’s Left 4 Dead so great. Of course, an AI keeping track of a large galactic battle and altering the stakes of players' efforts accordingly might be a tad more complex than deciding where to spawn a horde of zombies, especially if they’d like to retain the evolving story aspect of the game. But Pilestedt’s suggestion seems like the perfect use case for this ever-evolving technology.

With 12 million copies sold since launch, Helldivers 2 is now PlayStation’s fastest-selling first-party game.

Arrowhead Studios

If this does happen, there is one element of the game that will likely fall by the wayside: its ever-relevant, hilarious writing about the soldiers who put their lives on the line across the many chaotic battlefronts in Super-Earth’s solar system.

“The thing that I don't know about AI is its ability to communicate themes,” former Helldivers 2 lead writer Russ Nickel told Inverse earlier this month. “The satire, the fact that we're trying to teach people important lessons about the modern world and what it is to be human. If AI generates text, will the themes actually be in there?”

“I've seen good writing from AI, but only at the surface level,” he concluded.

Arrowhead’s Plan B aside, Helldivers 2 has a long way to go before that’s a concern for the Sweden-based developer. The game recently surpassed 12 million copies sold in 12 weeks, surpassing 2022’s GoW: Ragnarok as PlayStation’s fastest-selling first-party title.

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