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Photo Credit: Arrowhead Studios

Helldivers II: How an indie game developer united players around the world. (Op-Ed)

No one expected indie game developer Arrowhead Studios’ Helldivers II to be one of the best games of the year. In fact, many wrote it off as yet another fighting game and weren’t interested in purchasing it. However, the satirical military game is a critical success and smash hit thanks to hardworking developers, a titular game master, and the integration of cross-platform play between consoles and regions. When Helldivers II debuted, gamers were immediately immersed in a satirical world in which you, a military operative known as a Helldiver, were responsible for working with players from across the globe to liberate planets from toxic infestations of creepy-crawly bugs and bloodthirsty robots. Progress is affected by each individual player, and the liberation of each planet is tracked in real-time. Planets can be liberated or overrun by evil.

At launch, the game suffered from success, as the unexpected number of concurrent players logging in caused server crashes, long login queues, and a few glitches. Arrowhead was not prepared for the massive number of Helldivers who wanted to play, and their servers were overloaded. Yet, the developers immediately worked to remedy these conditions so everyone could play. Helldivers II has maintained a daily peak of hundreds of thousands of players since launch, and the hype has not died down thanks to one amazing game master, new weapons, new enemy types, and Major Orders.

Major Orders are given by the game master, one hardworking Arrowhead employee who creates anomalies, events, and orders that direct players to work towards one common goal. Players squad up with friends, find groups in the extremely busy official Discord server, or completely random players. The sense of community in this game is unlike anything I’ve ever seen. As a girl in the world of gaming, I am used to toxicity and misogyny. In Helldivers II, I’ve only been met with extremely kind people who are always willing to help new players. The community that Arrowhead has fostered is warm, friendly, and accepting. I’ve played with people from all over the world: the UK, Australia, Germany, Japan, Korea, France, Mexico, and other countries as well.

Frequently dying and friendly fire (a player can accidentally damage their teammates) are a part of the game, and it’s expected. It’s met with laughter, not screaming. I am proud to say that I’ve made friends on Helldivers II, friends I never would have met had this game not existed. Arrowhead has given me not only an extremely fun, fast-paced game but also a wonderful community to be a part of. Everyone matters whether you’re a new player or an experienced Malevelon Creek veteran; every success or failure impacts the future of the game and has dire consequences.

Helldivers II is worth every penny and is currently outperforming many live service games made by AAA studios. If you are curious about playing, don’t be shy! The community welcomes all.

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