Helldivers 2 CEO Mentions New Roadmap and Joel the Game Master

In Helldivers 2, the galactic map is the overarching mission select screen as well as something much more in-depth. Memes, videos, and in-universe roleplay have been made in reaction to the results certain planets have had in their intergalactic war. Planets like Malevelon Creek have become prominent characters in-game based on the player’s attachments. In a PC Gamer exclusive interview, Arrowhead CEO and Helldivers 2 Creative Director, Johan Pilestedt, described how a Game Master by the name of Joel works in-game to manipulate events based on player progress. He also goes on to mention how they work with players favorite planets going forward.

Malevelon Creek affectionately called “Robot Vietnam”, is notoriously difficult for pushing huge waves of enemy automatons in a dense jungle. Players lost the planet yesterday during a defense campaign, where they fought to push back an overarching invasion. When a defense fails, the planet turns to liberation mode, where players can fight back to take over the planet over a galactic map territory. This is the same for every planet on the galactic map.

“We look at the individual planets as ‘There was a planet that we made, that was good fun,’ and we have made so many of them. But the community’s attachment to each planet is significant … So one of the things we’re looking at internally is how can we reconsider these planets to become more of a character going forward?”

– Johan Pilestedt Arrowhead Games CEO

Helldivers 2 Galactic Map Is a Character in Itself

Players unanimously love the roleplaying aspect of the community, and that love is shared with Arrowhead. Pilestedt mentioned Dungeons and Dragons as a major source of inspiration for them. Utilizing a GM for Helldivers 2, Arrowhead wants to replicate the reactionary, and improvisational, tabletop gaming from D&D. Instead of a campaign for a group of adventurers, he wants to make it for millions of players.

“We have an actual person with the job title of Game Master,” said Pilestedt to PC Gamer. “His name is Joel, and he takes his job very seriously”. “We have a lot of systems built into the game where the Game Master has a lot of control over the play experience. It’s something that we’re continuously evolving based on what’s happening in the game,” Pilestedt went on to mention the roadmap they have in place “…As part of the roadmap, there are things that we want to keep secret because we want to surprise and delight.”

Arrowhead aims to bring twists to the game using its GM, mentioned before Helldivers 2’s release. They can be as simple as giving a specific player access to a special stratagem, the equipment used to call for special weapons and support. They can also be as large a narrativized event in the galactic war. Like last week when the war against the bugs was interrupted by an invasion from the automatons. “It’s the same format when you build that for millions of players, it’s just that you can’t get as personal with every individual. But you can still do the same twists and turns,” said Pilestedt.

Joel the Game Master Manipulates the Intergalactic Campaign for Managed Democracy

Pilestedt mentioned that they already had to “grease the wheel” when players were efficiently pushing back the enemy factions. Pilestedt elaborated that “There have been some sudden moments where maybe one planet was too easy or one was too hard and Joel had to get up in the middle of the night to give the Automatons a bit of reinforcements so the players don’t take the planet too quickly,”

Other similar moments have happened as well. After players pushed back the first sector of Terminid planets faster than Arrowhead anticipated, there was a day of “nothing happening” before the automaton invasion began. “So Joel, in his infinite wisdom decided, ‘What happens when a faction wins a portion of a war? Well, they mine everything.’ That’s where the incendiary mine segment came from.” said Pilestedt. Then a 24-hour period happened in the game where the incendiary mine stratagem was available for free on all missions. 

Pilestedt has been very active on Twitter AKA “X” since Helldivers 2 release. In a series of tweets, the Arrowhead CEO mentioned what’s on the roadmap for the game going forward. It’s already been known that the game is getting mechs, which were announced in the launch trailer. The in-game functionality of which was recently leaked by either a dev or hacker showing it off to another player.

Helldivers 2 CEO Reveals Parts of the Roadmap Going Forward

In a comment towards the CEO by Twitter user Zaner500, he mentions balancing issues of certain weapons. “We are looking at data and doing a balance patch, you would be surprised to learn that while the breaker scores more kills. It is not overrepresented in missions that end in success” replied Pilestedt.

Arrowhead is continuously working on the game and went over an updated roadmap in their studio yesterday, as mentioned by the CEO. 

The movement of Helldivers 2 has been praised as being similar to Metal Gear Solid V. Helldivers 2 even has some hidden stealth mechanics that may be expanded upon in the future. Pilestedt mentions in a tweet about a Twitter user’s comment on rolling while prone, pictured below.

Pilestedt has also mentioned tweaking difficulty modifiers, one such modifier that made stratagems more difficult to use. After a Twitter user complained about having trouble inputting a specific stratagem, Pilestedt had to say: “…It’s probably one of the difficulty modifiers. We know the UX of that one is too confusing and we’re fixing it.”

Pilestedt has also teased the idea of a Starship Troopers collab mentioned in WGG’s previous article. The amount of love Helldivers 2 is getting from all sides shows the strength of its diehard community. From the roleplaying to the constant feedback and responses, there is a bright future ahead for Arrowhead’s masterpiece.


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