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Helldivers 2's Dark Automaton Creator Theory Explained

Gamers have gotten hooked on the combat in "Helldivers 2" on PC and PS5, but the unsung hero of the game is its story. "Helldivers" is drenched in "Starship Troopers" vibes, but it largely relegates its parody elements to the sidelines and lets you get swept up into the action. The story elements leak through in small details, like the fact that the Automatons and the bugs are purposefully portrayed by the Ministry of Truth as walking sci-fi cliches. They're meant to be Enemies of Democracy that you slay without giving a second thought, but what happens if you dig a little deeper? 

It's easy to get wrapped up in the meta story, but there are plenty of small details and easter eggs to get lost in as you explore the game itself. "Helldivers 2" is satire-heavy, but there are horrific things happening beneath the game's tongue-in-cheek surface, and some people are beginning to put together the pieces. The game has been around long enough that fans are beginning to build out theories about what's really going on, and some players believe they've stumbled upon the dark truth of the Automatons.

Helldivers 2's Automatons could be deceiving

The Automatons are easily the most interesting faction encountered in the game so far. They're machine beings, but they also have some clear similarities to human beings. Naturally, players are getting wrapped up in their lore, and one has developed two different theories about what the Automatons might really be up to.

YouTuber Greg From Cult Meetings has posed two popular theories about what is happening. In one, the Automatons were created by an even more powerful alien race. They were designed to destroy humanity, wiping the entire species away from the galaxy so that their alien masters can move in and claim it all for themselves. The even darker theory holds that the Automatons were created by a secret human faction who want to eventually turn the entire galaxy into robots that they can fully control. According to the theory, this secret faction has been hiding out for years — maybe even on the moon — and covertly building the Automatons while searching for a way to resurrect its long-dead leader.

Are any fans of B-grade sci-fi picking up on what's happening here? It's space Nazis. The YouTuber rightly points out that even though the idea is a little over-the-top, it's right in line with the tone of "Helldivers 2." He also points out that the Automaton flag, with its red and black symbols, looks like Nazi branding. Greg could be onto something, and he's not alone in this theory, as seen in multiple discussion threads on Reddit. Some fans have pointed out that the Automaton bases are reminiscent of strongholds from "Wolfenstein." However, there's a glaring, original-"Helldivers"-sized hole in this reasoning.

Maybe the Cyborgs never went away

The odds are good that the second theory about a secret group of separatist humans creating the Automatons to eventually take over the galaxy is dead-on. In fact, we've already essentially had that theory confirmed as the truth. Fans of the first "Helldivers" should remember the half-human Cyborgs that were fighting against Super Earth at the time. "Helldivers 2" takes place a hundred years later, and in that time, the Cyborgs have seemingly upgraded into the fully robotic Automatons. Cyborgs and Automatons already have a noticeable resemblance, but the real proof is the flag: The Cyborgs and Automatons fly the same symbol above their bases.

The Cyborgs were humans from Super Earth who left the planet because they traitorously refused to love democracy. Super Earth had to do everything in its power to eradicate them, but that work is still ongoing 100 years later. The Nazi part of the YouTube theory probably doesn't hold any water (aside from intentionally similar visual aesthetics), but the theory's darkest implication is still true. The Automatons are building bases and gathering resources all over the galaxy, and it's a good bet that they're probably amassing all that wealth and power to lead an assault on Super Earth itself. Even worse, it's likely that this is a mission of revenge, with the goal being to remove all human life from the planet.