Nobody in my circles seems to remember Helldivers, the excellent top-down shooter that Magicka studio Arrowhead released in 2015. It had giant bugs, four player co-op, hardcore lethality, and a cool supply drop mechanic that required punching in directional codes in the middle of a firefight. It was great, and as Arrowhead developed it with Sony support, it was also technically the first game Sony published on PC.
We finally got our first look at the long-awaited sequel, Helldivers 2, during today’s PlayStation showcase, and the top-down shooter I love is looking a bit different.
Judging by the trailer, it looks like Helldivers 2 will bring its camera down to a third-person perspective. That’s sure to be a major change to how Arrhowhead’s games usually play, but Risk of Rain 2 pulled a similar trick when it moved away from 2D pixel art into a fully 3D game, and that worked out great.
The glimpses of gameplay shown today look like Starship Troopers crossed with the armored bravado of Warhammer 40,000. The new photoreal art style and the huge environments suggest that this is easily the biggest game that Arrowhead has ever made, and probably the most expensive. Perhaps Helldivers 2 will be a full $70 game, similar to Returnal.
But unlike Returnal, we won’t have to wait two years to get this PlayStation game on PC. The trailer notes that Helldivers 2 is coming to “PS5 and PC” in 2023. Exciting.