Helldivers 2 players realise you can survive ludicrous falls by doing a Hug emote while flying through the air

 Helldivers 2 two characters hugging as an explosion detonates in the background.
Credit: Arrowhead Studio

The Helldivers are currently engaged in an all-out brawl over planet X-45, thanks to a major order that has everyone wondering about the potential reward of a mysterious interplanetary battle station. The order is due to wrap up soon and, although players have been making good progress, a renewed assault from the dastardly Automatons in the final day means it's all hands on deck, and over 50% of all Helldivers are on this single planet.

The official narrative aside, however, the hardy defenders of democracy have discovered a new variety of bug: the good kind. Helldivers 2 incorporates fall damage which, depending on the situation, can be as deadly as any Bile Titan. It's mostly a minor factor, with players having to be careful about what heights they jump from, but it can become lethal when you're fighting on higher ground or, particularly, when you're in the epicentre of explosions. With the latter, even if the Helldiver survives the initial damage they tend to get ragdolled across the map (some players think this in itself is a function of the somewhat glitchy physics) and the impact from that can be a killer.

Players have now discovered that fall damage can be reduced significantly through the simple method of triggering an emote animation once airborne. The below clip shows a Helldiver coming in hot and landing their pod atop an Automaton tank, destroying it, and triggering an explosion as their avatar exits the Hellpod. The explosion sends them into the stratosphere but, partway through the arc, the emote is triggered and the Helldiver character swiftly changes from flailing about to a weirdly rigid posture. They sail through the air like this and land safely from a fall that should have been fatal several times over.

Players have been testing this and checking just what the damage reduction is at various heights, and it does consistently reduce damage and make fatal falls non-fatal. Even more curiously, it works with both the "hug" and "salute" emotes but the former is ever-so-slightly more effective.

The speculation is that this is a function of Helldivers 2's physics, which are a weird mix of precision and pratfalling. For example: landing on your ass is a surefire and intentional way of reducing damage, whereas landing on your head is always going to be bad news. But players don't usually have any degree of control over this: if you get launched towards a rock head-first, you can't under normal circumstances re-orient your body. But the emote animation does exactly this.

So theory has it that the rigid posture caused by emoting in mid-air causes the Helldiver model to land in a manner where the damage is applied to a single limb such as an arm, rather than being applied to multiple limbs at the point of impact and stacking to fatal levels.

The funniest thing about this is undoubtedly the way the Helldiver's body goes all stiff in mid-air and, needless to say, this most meme-happy of communities has a new one. I give it a day before someone's stuck a helmet on this diver:

The emote fall glitch has been unofficially christened the T-pose of democracy, though whether Arrowhead will lean into the bug or ruthlessly excise it in the next patch remains to be seen. Until then, get out there, get some action, and if you get too much action then stiffen up for the win.