Helldivers 2 CEO says Arrowhead has "taken action internally to educate our developers" after game balance debates got out of hand

 Helldivers 2.
Helldivers 2.

After a few incendiary statements from development and community figures poured kerosene on the debates dominating the Helldivers 2 player base after its recent balance patch, Arrowhead CEO and game director Johan Pilestedt stepped in to assure players that such snippy remarks are "not a message that the studio stands behind."

Pilestedt responded to a few specific statements over on the Helldivers subreddit. In particular, players shared a comment from one of the moderators of the game's official Discord, which reads: "Man watching you all cry amuses me so much."

In another, more controversial Reddit comment, one Arrowhead developer wrote: "I'm feeding the rage a little for my own entertainment here, just so you know. We haven't nerfed anything into the ground, I just think it's a little too early to pretend like the game is figured out.

"We made two of the most brainless playstyles less viable, and brought the guns that are under/overperforming more into line with the rest," the dev added. "The game is only a couple of weeks old, so before we start making sweeping changes we want everything roughly where we intended from the start. That doesn't mean we won't bring things up when we know more about how people play the game."

As you can well imagine, the already disgruntled Helldivers 2 community, still struggling to figure out how to deal with 11 Chargers and four Bile Titans at once when it was hard enough pre-nerf, didn't take kindly to all this. Neither did Pilestedt, it seems.

Helldivers 2 weapons
Helldivers 2 weapons

In a Reddit reply, Pilestedt called the Discord comment "inexcusable behavior," and said "we are providing education on how not [to] behave this way when representing the studio."

The developer comment, which has come up in several top-voted Reddit posts, prompted a more in-depth response. "We are aware of this and have taken action internally to educate our developers on how to represent the organization," Pilestedt said.

"This is not a message that the studio stands behind. We are always working to make as an [sic] enjoyable experience and community that we can. We are taking your feedback and improving based on it."

"I am speaking to the team about it," he responded elsewhere. "I am sorry if we come off as arrogant, it is not acceptable and we will do better."

In his bluntest assessment, the CEO said: "This is a horrible statement and not representing or following the studio guidelines in how to communicate. It is emotionally driven and the critiques of the balance patch were taken as a personal attack. I am extremely disappointed with the behavior."

The developer who's seemingly been on the receiving end of Arrowhead's internal action, and who has made a point of not deleting any of their comments even as they're besieged by downvotes, said in a follow-up: "I went a little far with the trolling, but what I said is said. I'm sorry if people took offense to it, I'm not going to engage with the community anymore, since as many people have pointed out, we have a community team that should handle that. I figured I'd have a little fun with the players, but I realize being a dev I'm in an unfair position. Maybe this isn't going to mend anything with you, but at least I feel I should own up to it and apologize. I'm sorry."

Helldivers 2 progression system
Helldivers 2 progression system

In another reply, Pilestedt commented on Arrowhead's community management strategy: "This is not the intention from the studio perspective. But since I am a heavy subscriber of a communicative studio it means that I encourage developers to engage with the community. However this also exposes us to risks of miscommunication or heated arguments and it's something that we actively discuss internally at the studio to improve on. While I understand that it reflects on the studio as a whole, it is not our intention that this should be the behavior from us. We want to ensure that you all have the best time possible in this game and in this community."

The CEO also addressed the update that ignited this whole firestorm: "As for the balance patch and the opinions surrounding it, we actively read as much as we possibly can and take what is said into consideration when we discuss things internally. Right now, the hot topic is your guys' feedback and response to the balance adjustments and the feeling of the game experience at large."

Arrowhead is clearly aware of the blowback regarding the state of high-difficulty operations and how this balance patch affected that experience. How the dev responds to the game's biggest feedback tsunami yet remains to be seen.

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