Helldivers 2 dev Arrowhead shares cape design based on Sony's PSN blunder as Steam reviews skew positive again, and it sounds like it's actually being added

 Helldivers 2.
Helldivers 2.

What you need to know

  • On Thursday, Helldivers 2 publisher Sony announced its intent to reintroduce its PlayStation Network (PSN) account linking requirement to the game on PC. The requirement was initially disabled during the game's launch to help with server load, and as a result, many players were unaware of it.

  • This led to a review bombing uproar, as Sony sold Helldivers 2 in many regions where PSN isn't available. If the requirement went live again, it would prevent players in those countries from playing the game they paid for.

  • After four days of intense backlash, Sony finally backpedaled, reversing its decision and axing the account linking update altogether.

  • Johan Pilestedt, CEO of Helldivers 2 developer Arrowhead, has shared a community-made design for an in-game cape cosmetic that memorializes the ordeal. You can check it out below; notably, it sounds like it might actually get added to the game, as he says "the team is talking about a good name for it right now."

You can typically find the community around Arrowhead Game Studios' extremely popular PC and PS5 co-op shooter Helldivers 2 rallying against bugs and bots to complete Major Orders, but over the past few days, players on Steam were fighting a very different fight. After publisher Sony announced its intent to reintroduce a PlayStation Network (PSN) account linking requirement to the PC version of the game on Thursday, fans went into a review bombing uproar over the fact it'd prevent anyone living in one of the 121 countries where PSN isn't available from playing the game once it went into effect.

Sony initially made the problem worse by halting sales of Helldivers 2 in these regions while remaining radio silent, but eventually went on to reverse its decision on Sunday by axing the account linking update altogether. Since then, fans have been updating their reviews, with the game's score on Steam skewing positive once more — but not before one community member turned a graph showing over 200,000 protest reviews posted in four days into a unique design for an in-game cape cosmetic.

The design was shared to X (Twitter) by Johan Pilestedt, the CEO of Helldivers 2 developer Arrowhead. "The accidental cape design is pretty cool. From a community member," he wrote in the post. The simple graphic features four red bars representative of all the negative reviews written between Sony's initial announcement and its decision to backtrack, and you can check it out below (there's also this one, too, though I wish it had a fourth line):

Unsurprisingly, droves of Liberty's finest are petitioning Arrowhead to add the cape to Helldivers 2 as an unlockable item to memorialize the community's protesting efforts. What is surprising, though, is that it sounds like the studio might actually do it — despite the fact it represents great anger and frustration with the game's publisher. Pilestedt revealed as much in a reply to a hopeful Helldiver: "The team is ta[l]king about a good name for it right now."

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Naturally, this inspired everyone to voice name suggestions, many of which are pretty great. My personal favorites so far are "The Will of Democracy" and "We Dive as One," but I'm also partial to "Voice of the People," "United We Stand," and "United Front." No matter what it's called, though, Pilestedt says the cape will be free if it makes its way in-game.

It's worth noting that Arrowhead was on the side of the player base throughout this ordeal, with Pilestedt apologizing for the situation on Friday and the developer communicating that it was working with Sony to get answers for region-lock concerns. Community manager Spitz even directly suggested in the official Helldivers Discord that fans should "make their displeasure known in a place where it might actually make a difference" by posting negative Steam reviews and requesting refunds for Helldivers 2. Also, while the studio could have been more communicative about the PSN requirement's existence — something Pilestedt acknowledged recently, saying he chose to disable it at launch to help with server load — Sony was behind the decision to bring it back, as well as the one to allow Helldivers 2 to be sold in countries where PSN isn't supported.

Helldivers 2
Helldivers 2

Ultimately, I'm just glad that this whole fiasco is over. As a huge fan of Helldivers 2, it was pretty heartbreaking to see the game's reputation plummet harder than my chances of survival in missions on Helldive difficulty. Now that players don't have to worry about having access to the game ripped out of their hands, we can get back to the good stuff: spreading Managed Democracy and blasting Terminids and Automatons to smithereens.

As I said before, some more good news is that Helldivers 2's Steam score is heading into the blue once more. Its recent reviews, "Overwhelmingly Negative" before Sony's backpedal, are now all the way back up to "Mixed," with close to 45,000 positive ones left today so far. Thousands more are sure to come; I'd love to see the game claw its way back to "Overwhelmingly Positive," though that may take a while. If you left a negative review and are satisfied with how things resolved, consider changing it to a thumbs up.

Helldivers 2 is available now for $39.99 on both PS5 and PC, and so far, it's one of the best PC games of the year. Notably, the game also supports cross-platform play between PS5 and PC.

Helldivers 2 — $39.99 at GMG (Steam)

Battle aliens, robots, and other beasts in humanity's quest to spread democracy through an unforgiving galaxy. It's 4-player co-op at its absolute best, and its most refined.

Also at: Amazon (PS5, Physical) | Walmart (PS5, Physical)

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