Helldivers 2 developer Arrowhead Games has a new CEO—with Johan Pilestedt taking on a different role to direct '100% of my focus [to] the game and community'

A helldiver stands, patriotic in front of a Super Earth flag, while holding a helmet in Helldivers 2.
(Image credit: Arrowhead Games)

Johan Pilestedt, soon-to-be-former CEO of Arrowhead Games, will be stepping down to take on new responsibilities at the company as revealed by the man himself on Twitter today

This move comes off the back of a difficult month for Helldivers 2, as the game suffered tremendous backlash over a controversial decision—courtesy of Sony—to require PC users to sign up for a PSN account in order to continue playing the game. 

That's not the only sign of trouble in intergalactic paradise, though. A mixture of comments from Pilestedt (as well as dev team sentiment passed on by community managers) paints a picture of a studio re-evaluating itself in the wake of massive success, and looking to maybe slow down the pace

That's not to say the rapid-fire deployment of Warbonds and new content in Helldivers 2 hasn't been exciting, but I'm glad to see I wasn't off the mark when I said the studio was burning the candle at both ends, wrestling with balance issues and technical difficulties since day one. It feels like everybody needs a breather.

Pilestedt is looking to "spend MORE time with the team and 100% of my focus on the games and community!" as Arrowhead's Chief Creative Officer—which is a commendable move, considering that CCOs tend to rank under CEOs on the corporate ladder. Pilestedt seems committed to leading from the front.

(Image credit: @Pilestedt on Twitter/X.)

In an interview with Gamesindustry.biz, Pilestedt further outlined his thoughts behind the change. "I realised that running an organisation of over 100 people," he reasons, would put him between a rock and a hard place: "I will [have to choose] between deepening my love for game creation, or the business track."

Replacing Pilestedt will be Shams Jorjani—who gained over a decade experience at Paradox interactive before leaving the company in 2021. "I reached out to Shams," explains Pilestedt, "We had a lunch, and we asked him that if I was to reconsider running Arrowhead for the next decade, and I needed to hire a new CEO, would he be interested?

Jorjani himself has high hopes for the future as Arrowhead Games' resident business guy: "What I'll be bringing to the table is organisation and leadership …  It's a lot of the, frankly, boring business administration stuff that is a necessary part of running a company, which is hard to do when you're also juggling the chairman's hat and the creative director's hat and also being the one who is in the trenches doing a lot of the designing that Johan has been doing over the years."

Pilestedt has always been remarkably outspoken and involved in the community for a CEO—cheekily hinting at upcoming stratagems, denying the existence of flying bugs, and stepping in when relations between the community and its development team got a little hairy on the game's Discord. In other words, this shift makes a certain kind of sense:

"I finally came to the proper conclusion that I will have to follow my heart," says Pilestedt. "It's not only right for me, but it's also right for the organisation. Having a reluctant CEO is not something that will turn out that well, I think."

Harvey Randall
Staff Writer

Harvey's history with games started when he first begged his parents for a World of Warcraft subscription aged 12, though he's since been cursed with Final Fantasy 14-brain and a huge crush on G'raha Tia. He made his start as a freelancer, writing for websites like Techradar, The Escapist, Dicebreaker, The Gamer, Into the Spine—and of course, PC Gamer. He'll sink his teeth into anything that looks interesting, though he has a soft spot for RPGs, soulslikes, roguelikes, deckbuilders, MMOs, and weird indie titles. He also plays a shelf load of TTRPGs in his offline time. Don't ask him what his favourite system is, he has too many.