Earth Defense Force 6 delivers a Helldivers 2-style call to action in its launch date announcement trailer

Before there were the Helldivers, there was the Earth Defense Force: A die-hard unit of gung-ho go-getters who defend humanity against the insurmountable odds of a nigh-endless invasion of bugs from Planet Space. Soon those noble heroes will return to action once more: Earth Defense Force 6 is set to launch on PC and PlayStation 5 on July 25.

A great victory was won against the unknown invaders in Earth Defense Force 5, but it came at a great cost: 90% of the Earth's population was wiped out (wow), and civilization was taken to the brink of collapse. Three years later, before we even had a chance to properly clean up that mess, it happened again—and the EDF is understandably eager to put some new recruits on the front line.

It's less ironically fascist than Helldivers 2, but there's no mistaking the comedic approach to the whole thing. "The EDF is still hosting recruitment centers to get new soldiers to join the fight," Beat-on-the-Street reporter Shelly says in the trailer above. "Anyone interested can sign up at their open enrollment booth down by the burning rubble pile on the corner of Fifth and Main. The next 100 signups are eligible to win a juicy steak!"

The trailer carries a powerful Helldivers 2 vibe, but Earth Defense Force has been doing this kind of thing for a long time. Check out this "Do you have what it takes?" bit of action from Earth Defense Force 2, which launched in 2005:

More on point, here's a newcast-style trailer for Earth Defense Force 2025, which, slightly confusingly, was released in 2013—complete with "we thought the bugs were gone, then they came back!":

Of course there's plenty of room for both veins of bug-killing action: 20 years of Earth Defense Force games and the runaway success of Helldivers 2 are ample proof of that. And they are, at their core, very different sorts of experiences: Where Helldivers 2 is a smart, knowing, ever-evolving, and even kind of strategic shooter, Earth Defense Force is just balls-out videogames. 

"EDF is very videogames," UK editor-in-chief Phil Savage said in his Earth Defense Force 4.1 review. "Its name—Earth Defense Force 4.1: The Shadow of New Despair—is about as videogames as you get. The action is unabashedly non-immersive, to the point that it feels like a celebration of raw videogame artifice and jank. Even the plot is peak videogames. Giant insects threaten the Earth. You, as a member of the Earth Defense Force, must shoot them."

That, by the way, is all meant as a positive: He wrapped it up with an 80% score. Earth Defense Force 6 is available for wishlisting on Steam, and is also coming to the Epic Games Store on July 25.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.