The Aftermath of the Helldivers 2 Win

UPDATE: The screenshot posts from Kotaku writer Alyssa Mercante below were specifically about Saavy|Artist asking Arrowhead CEO Johan Pilestedt some questions, and Pilestedt answering them and thanking her for being polite in her discourse. It’s unclear whether this happened before or after Sony’s decision to reverse their new PSN policy for Helldivers 2; it was posted after, as was Saavy’s response, which I’ll embed below, but the posts aren’t timestamped or dated in the image, and Yellowflash thinks it happened before. If it did happen before, her comments about a “hate movement” aren’t specifically related to the Helldivers 2 situation. Again, I’m not sure one way or the other, but in the interest of full disclosure, I want to make the other possibility clear and mention that it’s also nuts to flip out like that over two people having a polite discussion, though indicative of the games journalist mindset. (And considering the number of likes and comments on Mercante’s angry comments vs. Saavy’s response, perhaps Pilestedt figured a few people might actually see his interaction with Saavy.)

ORIGINAL TEXT: Gamers just won a huge battle on the video game front of the culture war, with Sony canceling plans to force players to sign up for a PSN account to continue playing the massively popular multiplayer co-op Helldivers 2. As the dust settles, we know what’s going on with gamers: they’re celebrating a victory and continuing to play Helldivers 2 with friends from around the world. But what about the developers and games journalists? That one’s probably easy to guess, too, especially the latter, but at least it reminds you of who your enemies are.

First, let’s look at Arrowhead, the studio that made Helldivers 2. Outwardly, they’re celebrating this as a win for their fans, with CEO Johan Pilestedt congratulating the Helldivers 2 players who made this happen and thanking Sony for “quickly and effectively” changing their ridiculously unfair practice that amounted to little more than a confidence game:

Pilestedt even shared a fan-made flag featuring a graph denoting the declining ratings for the game. In other words, he really wants people to forget that he admitted to knowing about this for the last six months and believe that he’s raging against the machine with his customers (while not pissing off Sony, which I understand).

Behind the scenes, however, Arrowhead was not as revolutionary as Pilestedt wants everyone to think. Remember Spitz, the community manager who went through a redemption arc and encouraged gamers to keep review-bombing Helldivers 2 and requesting refunds for the game many could no longer play? Arrowhead almost fired her (image courtesy of PC Gamer):

Helldivers 2 aftermath

On one level, I get it; you don’t want your employees telling your customers to ask for refunds and write bad reviews for your best-selling product. However, there are extenuating circumstances to this one, chief among them that fans were livid over what was going on with Helldivers 2, and Spitz was actually helping Arrowhead in the long run, allowing them to save face amid a disaster that could have sunk their company and over which they had little to no control. I suspect this is what allowed her to keep her job.

Then, there are the other Helldivers 2 community managers and moderators who behaved like obnoxious bullies, insulting the customers who didn’t like the PSN requirement, taunting those who said they would leave, and, in one case, fantasizing about banning people once PSN was the only option for access to the game. As far as we know (and I’ll bet there’s nothing more to know), none of those people almost lost their jobs; the only punishment seen so far is one of them – the one who falsely accused former Blizzard producer Mark Kern, alias Grummz, of sexual assault – being demoted from a senior moderator to a regular moderator:

Wow, talk about the cold hand of justice. What they did was much more harmful to Arrowhead and Helldivers 2 than Spitz’s comments, especially making false sexual assault allegations against someone seen as a figurehead for your angry customers, but they’re all still around. And it’s awfully disingenuous to praise gamers for their “willpower” and “ability to collaborate” while threatening to fire the one employee who tried to help them amid a cadre of managers who just mocked them. I’m not suggesting anyone stop playing Helldivers 2, but don’t think these guys are your friends.

The cape is pretty funny, though.

As for games journalists, Kotaku’s perennial angry elf, Alyssa Mercante, couldn’t wait to bemoan the horrors of Sony deciding not to rip off a sizable portion of their customers. (These posts have since been deleted, but her nemesis Kabrutus got the screenshots in time, courtesy of a user named Grromasz):

What an awful person she is. She wants to see gamers all over the world be barred from playing Helldivers 2 and lose the money they already spent on it just to stick it to people whose political opinions are different from hers. And she wanted them to defend their community managers – the ones who were attacking their customers, and the only two of which appear to have been reprimanded either tried to help gamers or falsely accused someone of a crime. But the most revealing part is calling her opponents a “hate movement” while trying to make sure almost all of Africa was banned from playing a game they paid for without a refund. This is not ironic, nor does it elicit phrases like “clown world” or “make it make sense.” This is a tactic to generate immediate opposition for your enemies, as insincere as it is calculated. But, as we’re learning more and more with each passing week, games journalists are losing their ability to influence the medium they don’t really care about, and the Helldivers 2 win is the biggest example yet. It will be fascinating to see what happens with Stellar Blade, the promised update for which has not been announced yet; if they lose that one, the screeching that ensues will indicate their growing awareness of their irrelevancy.

Comments (1)

May 6, 2024 at 10:59 pm


THAT. Is the aftermath of the Helldivers 2 victory.

Don’t believe me?

Helldivers 2
Larry Fink having a meltdown
Alan Woke 2 losing money

Oh, you’d better believe me, I can SMELL woke blood in the water XD

On our way!

You will pay!




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