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The Real Reason Helldivers 2 Will Never Get Rid Of Friendly Fire

The combat in "Helldivers 2" is that rare combination of strategic intensity and chaotic hilarity. There's nothing quite like making your way through a teeth-grinding dive with your squad and coming out on the other side scarred, battleworn, and victorious. The Terminids and the Automatons feel like fearsome enemies, and the slightest mistake in battle can mean instant death. In "Helldivers 2," you need your teammates to watch your back, and the entire time you're also praying they know their way around a gun well enough not to accidentally send you into the dirt.

Assuming it doesn't trigger a game-breaking glitch, getting accidentally blown up by a fellow patriot's orbital strike is actually pretty funny. At least, that's what we think. The larger fanbase is a little torn on the issue. On the one hand, the friendly fire in "Helldivers 2" makes the game feel more challenging, but at the same time, years of being relatively safe from teammates in other games has turned some players off the idea.

For dialed-in players, friendly fire adds an extra mechanical layer to the game, but it can be a massive liability if you've got a new Helldiver on your team. While some players are dreaming of a gameplay mode without friendly fire, they aren't likely to see it anytime soon. Friendly fire is a core part of "Helldivers 2," and Arrowhead Games CEO Johan Pilestedt has made that crystal clear.

The human element in Helldivers 2

Johan Pilestedt has made himself communicator-in-chief for "Helldivers 2," going between explaining the vision that Arrowhead has for its game and playfully messing with players by lying about in-game events. Though he might tell you to deny the flying bugs that are right in front of your eyes, he doesn't joke around when it comes to gameplay mechanics.

Pilestedt sat down for an interview with the PlayStation Blog, during which he laid out exactly how Arrowhead came to the conclusion that friendly fire in "Helldivers 2" is a must-have feature. "The most important thing when we make games is believability," Pilestedt said. He added, "If your bullets can kill enemies, and the enemies can kill you, then logic dictates that your bullets must also be able to kill your friends."

It might sound strange for a developer to be so committed to realism in a game about fighting bugs and robots in the future, but you have to admit that the approach is working for Arrowhead. From its tone to its gameplay, "Helldivers 2" is as over-the-top as it gets, but the game does follow an internal logic which makes every mission and enemy encounter feel tense. The stakes of the game just wouldn't be as high if it felt like players were superhuman beings impervious to damage from their friends. Pilestedt summed it up nicely by saying, "Feeling human is a key part to the 'Helldivers' experience."

Pile on the Hellish challenges

Friendly fire in "Helldivers 2" makes the game more immersive, but it also serves a more direct gameplay purpose. In the same interview with PlayStation, Pilestedt said, "The friendly fire element makes the players a true interactable part of the game world that plays a great part in positioning and helps with team play." The game is supposed to be challenging, and friendly fire gives players one more obstacle to play around.

Everything comes together to make "Helldivers 2" an experience unlike any other. The challenging aspects of the game create more emergent stories, like the rise of new co-op heroes like Let Me Solo Her. Some of the best moments you can have in the game arrive when everything goes wrong and your lifelong best friend accidentally blasts you in the back of the head. Friendly fire can be incredibly frustrating, and it means that you can never exactly sit back and relax while playing "Helldivers 2" — but honestly, we wouldn't have it any other way.