‘Standing up for something good’: Former lead Helldivers 2 writer weighs in on PSN reversal

As the conflict between Helldivers and Sony came to an end, Helldivers 2 players proved they have the strength and the courage to truly be free and fight for what’s right.

In an interview with Inverse on May 9, former lead writer for Helldivers 2, Russ Nickel, talked about the game’s narrative and discussed how it reflected in the most recent controversy. After the company announced that connecting a PSN account would be required to play Helldivers 2 going forward, players revolted and, with encouragement from the Arrowhead’s community manager, managed to turn things around by review-bombing the game and requesting refunds.

Helldivers squad in Helldivers 2 opening
Helldivers are stronger together. Screenshot by Dot Esports

“It’s just like ‘Oh, we trained them to fight together. And then they fought together,’” Nickel said in the interview, adding that he believes players were standing up for something good, which was their fellow Helldivers.

Helldivers 2, its Super Earth, and never-ending Democracy created a satirical dystopian universe, and according to Nickel, this satire allowed the developer to pull inspiration for in-game elements, like Major Orders, from real-life problems that players can realize and stand up to. “I hope most of them understand what we’re trying to say and don’t just see it from the surface level,” Nickel added, saying that seeing Helldivers stand up to Sony has been one of the most exciting parts of the experience.

Such unexpected events are another part of the game and how it develops. When talking about the influences of Helldivers 2, Nickel mentioned improv and how it helped memorialize elements like the Malevelon Creek in the game’s universe.

“I don’t think anyone was expecting Malevolen Creek to be a thing,” Nickel said. Malevelon Creek became an iconic planet only because players said so, and the developer had to find a way to support what the community was doing without breaking the immersion, which gave us a Malevelon Creek Memorial Day and a corresponding cape to wear on the frontlines.

Similarly, Arrowhead’s CEO, Johan Pilestedt, already hinted at a potential cape to give out to players as a tribute to the review-bombing era. After months of fighting together on the front lines, players knew exactly what to do when faced with a PSN problem, and these events will be forever remembered in the history of Helldivers 2.

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