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Helldivers 2’s Malevelon Creek inside job is just the start

The Battle of Malevelon Creek in was orchestrated by a sneaky, double-agent Helldivers 2 game master, and it's the start of bigger plans for the PS5 hit.

Helldivers 2 Malevelon Creek game master: A diagonally split image with a saluting Helldiver on the left and the galactic war map on the right, showcasing a planet.

Helldivers 2 invites players to join an ever-evolving galactic war, fighting back bugs and bots to defend Super Earth. This involves a clever back and forth on the galactic map, seeing planets under siege and others in need of sieging. The latest hotspot was undoubtedly Helldivers 2’s Malevelon Creek, affectionately known as Robot Vietnam. However, while the PS5 community rallied together, Arrowhead CEO Johan Pilestedt has revealed that the war is all orchestrated by one person – the Helldivers 2 game master.

“We have an actual person with the job title of Game Master”, Pilestedt explains in an interview with PC Gamer. While we’re all busy holding back the robot offensive on Malevelon Creek – ultimately met with crushing defeat – Helldivers 2’s game master Joel Hakalax is pulling all the strings behind one of the best co-op games on PS5 right now.

“We have a lot of systems built into the game where the Game Master has a lot of control over the play experience. It’s something that we’re continuously evolving based on what’s happening in the game,” Pilestedt goes on to explain. “As part of the roadmap, there are things that we want to keep secret because we want to surprise and delight.”

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Arrowhead’s community lead Katherine Baskin claims that “he isn’t just checking boxes and automating events”. No, “he is planning, organizing, monitoring community sentiment”. So, after the debilitating blow of defeat in the so-called Battle of Malevelon Creek, we’re worried about what else the game master has planned – especially as it’s clear they’re a double agent. Will they give the automatons another victory or will they swoop in with Helldivers 2 vehicles to reinforce us? Only time will tell.

Taking inspiration from Dungeons & Dragons, Pilestedt notes that Arrowhead devises various setpieces and predicts how these battles will play out – though  it still leaves room to change the ongoing Helldivers 2 story based on player behavior.

“There have been some sudden moments where maybe one planet was too easy or one was too hard and [Hakalax] had to get up in the middle of the night to give the Automatons a bit of reinforcement so the players don’t take [the planet] too quickly,” Pilestedt claims.

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On another occasion, however, the game master powered us up to spice up the action in the new PS5 game. After players fervently pushed back the first Terminid threat faster than Arrowhead expected, Hakalax made the incendiary mine Stratagem available for free during missions to subtly reinforce our victory and make up for the downtime between the automaton uprising.

In a separate post, Pilestedt explains that “the majority of the [game master] role is to choose which major order takes place, what daily is active and decide where the enemies attack. The war fought and liberation of planets – that’s all you”. In other words, the outcome is in our hands even if Arrowhead occasionally meddles to change the odds.

Excitingly, Pilestedt teases “other stuff [they] haven’t revealed yet” regarding the ever-evolving galactic war, so be prepared for anything. Nevertheless, after seeing the relationship the community has made with certain planets, such as Malevelon, Arrowhead is considering how to make “these planets to become more of a character going forward”.

So, while the unfortunate defeat against the automaton menace wasn’t entirely our fault, it could result in some even more amazing moments in the future. This community-wide war is one of the many reasons why Helldivers 2 has quickly established itself as one of the best PS5 games and arguably one of the best games on any platform right now.

Looking ahead, Helldivers 2’s upcoming weapon balance patch will seemingly leave the best-in-class Breaker alone, though that doesn’t mean it will still be king. Meanwhile, PS Plus subscribers are being treated to a great lineup in the PS Plus free games for March.