Helldivers 2 director says new de-listings are an 'administrative error correction' by Valve on Sony's orders, but 'we still want the game to be available everywhere'

helldivers 2 democratic detonation
(Image credit: Arrowhead Game Studios)

Sony may have walked back its disastrous decision forcing Helldivers 2's PC players to link their accounts to PlayStation Network, but this hasn't stopped the game from remaining delisted on Steam in several countries where PSN is not available. Now, as more countries are added to that blacklist, it's been put upon Arrowhead CEO to discover this was "an administrative error correction" by Valve to comply with Sony's demands.

To briefly summarize this messy affair, Sony originally planned for PC players on Helldivers 2 to link their accounts to PSN. But when the game suffered extensive launch issues, that mandate was temporarily waived. At the start of May, Sony suddenly decided to reinstate the requirement, resulting in Helldivers 2 being delisted from 177 countries.

This was the PR equivalent of spraying Termicide all over the Helldivers 2 community. Where Sony sought control, they instead incubated outrage, triggering a ferocious review-bombing campaign that ultimately convinced the publisher to walk back the PSN requirement. However, the game remained delisted from Steam in many regions.

Then, over this weekend, three more countries were added to the blacklist, namely Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania. This seemingly blindsided Arrowhead's CEO Johan Pilestedt, who wrote on the Helldivers 2 discord "We have no idea what's going on. Most devs are on a bank holiday and we just found out through the community."

Pilestedt then went to investigate, returning some time later with a new message. "It was an administrative error correction–they should have been part of the original restriction and It was noticed when the restriction was put in place for [Ghost of] Tsushima" (which was also recently delisted on Steam in over 200 countries that do not have PSN access.)

The Arrowhead CEO then goes on to say that "this was noticed and executed independently by Valve". To be clear, this is Valve following Sony policy regarding where the game should be made available. This was seemingly confirmed by a recent post by Steam support responding to a player requesting a refund of Helldivers 2. While explaining why the refund request would be denied, Valve's representative for Steam support wrote "it looks like this game is not available on Steam right now for specific regions as decided by the publisher".

So, as Pilestedt neatly summarizes "While it doesn't look positive. It is not an indication of further restrictions." What it is an indication of, however, is one massive communications snafu. We've got a publisher making sudden decisions about a third-party game without informing its developer or the enormous, hugely passionate community that has sprung up around it, while another company notorious for being a black box is the one responsible for pulling the lever.

Whether or not Sony pulling its games from Steam in certain regions is the right thing to do (in my opinion it is a stupid and shortsighted thing to do) both it and Valve really need to get on the same page with Arrowhead so these changes can be properly communicated.

Regarding the ongoing region restrictions. Pilestedt says the conversation "is still ongoing and is independent of this". For his part, Pilestedt is very much in favour of there being no restrictions whatsoever. "We (Arrowhead) still want the game to be available everywhere".