We may earn a commission when you buy through links in our articles. Learn more.

I’m worried Sony will learn the wrong lessons from Helldivers 2

Helldivers 2 could signal an important era for Sony going forward, but the hit multiplayer shooter may have worrying knock on effects.

Helldivers 2 PlayStation new multiplayer games: An image of a Helldiver from Helldivers 2 and the PlayStation logo.

Seeing games like Helldivers 2 thrive is incredible to see, and fellow PS5 players are echoing that sentiment. Picking and choosing our new games is a crucial decision these days, as economic setbacks have us all grasping our wallets tighter. But there are vital lessons to be learned from the game’s astronomical success, and I’m concerned that Sony will focus on the wrong ones.

Right now, you can’t look at your phone without seeing harsh realities in the gaming industry. Dozens of hardworking, talented developers are finding themselves in tumultuous situations as a result of mass industry-wide layoffs. There are a multitude of factors to consider, but one major aspect is the sustainability of creating huge triple-A titles.

Sure, like you, I love to celebrate new PS5 games like Spider-Man 2, but there’s a very palpable cost to getting these kinds of games over the finish line. According to internal documents from the unfortunate Insomniac Games breach, the cost of developing Spidey’s latest adventure totaled a staggering $300 million ($30 million over its original budget).

YouTube Thumbnail

To recoup that bewildering stack of cash, Insomniac would need to sell at least 7 million copies. Luckily, the Marvel open-world game has flown past that recently. However, studios like Insomniac Games are playing with risk, as profits earned are going straight back into high budget projects with minimal room for maneuvering. These gambles are having visible effects, resulting in over-reaching at the expense of jobs. Helldivers 2 could give Sony the blueprint for a more sustainable future in live service games, but I don’t want the catch 22 of Helldivers 2 to become real.

I don’t want more games like Helldivers 2, even if it is one of the best multiplayer games I’ve played in years. I’m worried Sony will see the game’s success as a sign to pump out dozens of co-op games, each of them trying to capture the same accolades as Helldivers 2. You just can’t recreate what Arrowhead Game Studios is conjuring up right now. Helldivers 2 is a true lightning-in-a-bottle moment for PS5 players. I’ve never seen anything quite like the game’s community, which is coming together to provide some of the funniest, and most wholesome content around. The fight for the ill-fated planet of Malelevon Creek is a testament to this.

Arrowhead also respects the times we’re living in, and it is genuinely refreshing to see Sony and the studio put forward an affordable game. For less than $40, you’re getting a polished, mechanically sound shooter with some of the most majestic feeling third-person gun play around. You’re getting an original concept that is lovingly cultivated by its studio, brimming with excellent ideas on how to encourage collaboration across the community. These are transferable tenets that Sony could learn to live by, allowing its deep roster of first-party studios to get truly innovative.

Not every game needs to be a mega high-budget titan, but trusting the creativity and originality of developers is essential when so many games are seemingly doomed to fail. Similarly, Remedy Entertainment and Larian Studios sold Alan Wake 2 and Baldur’s Gate 3 for respectable price points, avoiding the $70 mark.

YouTube Thumbnail

Coming in way cheaper than games like Spider-Man 2, Remedy’s acclaimed survival horror game reportedly cost $75 million to create, according to the Finnish Broadcasting Company. Baldur’s Gate 3’s development figures are more of a mystery, but discussion among fans estimates it to be at least $100 million. Now, Alan Wake 2 is Remedy’s fastest selling game ever, and Baldur’s Gate 3 has earned heaps of awards.

Game development is an exceptionally hard job, and I’m in awe of the people that make these adventures happen every day. I’m hopeful that things can change, especially in the case of Sony’s new goal to move away from existing IPs. Helldivers 2 is a strong example to study, but let’s hope the party isn’t over before it starts.