Helldivers 2 CEO says they'll 'never' turn off friendly fire: 'We would have to turn off bullet damage against enemies as well'

 Helldiver soldiers planting a flag while one stands guard.
Helldiver soldiers planting a flag while one stands guard.

Helldivers 2's breakout success continues, with the game sitting pretty near the top of Steam's top-selling and most-played games lists and boasting over 250,000 "very positive" reviews. Partly that's because it's a total blast, and the overarching galactic war is being played out beautifully, but not a little is down to the game's willingness to stick to its guns when it comes to certain principles: for instance, friendly fire.

As any experienced Helldiver will know, the only thing more dangerous than bots and bugs is, err, other Helldivers. You crash down on these planets toting ludicrously powerful weapons, in addition to explosive stratagems that launch from orbit, and all of these things will disintegrate your fellow Helldivers when carelessly used. Thing is that the game's so chaotic, and it can be so hard to track where your so-called buddies are, that friendly fire frequently has an impact.

Many players, myself included, find this a refreshing change of pace. It adds a delicious layer of consequence to all your decisions, particularly the ones involving the heaviest hardware, and means a teammate doing something stupid can completely turn the tide. That doesn't mean everyone loves friendly fire: some players just grumble, while the more tinfoil-hatted wonder whether the Automatons are behind it all.

Arrowhead Game Studios CEO Johan Pilestedt has addressed the topic, not for the first time, and channels a little of that authoritarian Super Earth spirit in telling players that friendly fire in Helldivers 2 "will never change" (first spotted by GR+). His words were in response to a player concerned that it may be tempted to add some sort of on/off toggle in future, and Pilestedt went on to add:

"If we turned off friendly fire we would have to turn off bullet damage against enemies as well. It's the law."

To be fair, at least friendly fire does work both ways, with bugs perfectly capable of dissolving and smashing one another, and feels like such a core part of Helldivers 2's identity (as it was for the first game) that the ability to switch it off… well, this just wouldn't be Helldivers 2 anymore. It also creates emergent possibilities that simply wouldn't exist otherwise, such as how some Helldivers get back at toxic hosts.

When Helldivers 2 players aren't gibbing each other into little democratic chunks, they're failing major orders and being denied the right to procreate (you need all that extra space for babies, see). If that wasn't enough to dampen morale, things may also soon be looking up… in a bad way. As well as addressing friendly fire, Pilestedt also issued a clarification to his previous statement that "bugs can't fly", and to anyone who saw the clips this may not be a surprise: "I have always believed there to be a possibility of flying bugs."