Helldivers 2 players' new battle: A petition for the reinstatement and 'canonization' of community manager fired for supporting review bombing and refunds

helldivers 2 operation swift disassembly
(Image credit: Arrowhead Game Studios)

Update: In a statement to PCG, Spitz says they cannot discuss their removal, but that "it's been great to see the huge outpouring of community support and it's definitely helped keep my spirits high during this transition period." They add that "I've always been proud to represent the Helldivers community as far back as nine years ago and it's incredible to see how much they've had my back through all of this."

Fresh off their campaigns against a Sony-imposed PSN sign-in requirement, Helldivers 2 fans are diving into a new battle. This one's with Arrowhead itself, and it comes in the form of a player petition to get the studio to reinstate its recently fired community manager (CM), Spitz (via RPS).

Spitz, as you might recall, was the Arrowhead CM who—at the height of the PSN sign-in debacle—told players that negative Steam reviews and refunds would be an effective way of convincing Sony to back down. In fairness, they were right: Sony has since surrendered, but it's still not exactly community management 101 to actively encourage your playerbase to go review-bomb your game. 

Originally, Spitz told the community after the rage had died down that their actions had "Almost. Not quite" gotten them fired. Not much later, Spitz returned to update fans with the news that they had, in fact, been let go from their CM position: "Every war comes with casualties," said Spitz. 

I've reached out to Arrowhead to ask for comment on the matter, and I'll update this piece if I hear back.

Anyway, this new fan petition aims to reverse Spitz' dismissal. Titled "Re-hire the legendary community manager General Spitz," the effort is a Change.org petition that has accrued nearly 2,000 signatures at time of writing. Calling Spitz "the reason many Helldivers felt optimistic about returning to the game" as well as "the reason many of us didn't attempt a refund," the petition reads: "ARROWHEAD: We implore you to return this icon to their previously held position in recognition of his bold Community Management strategy—which not only worked, but restored the faith of much of your community."

Even more boldly, the players call on Arrowhead to canonise Spitz in Helldivers' lore: "For freedom. For democracy. For the good of the game and its dedicated community alike."

The petition seems to have at least a bit of momentum behind it, but of course Arrowhead is a private company under no obligation to do a single thing the signees call for. Plus, Spitz' reputation among players is more split than the petition suggests: While the community Discord is filled with plenty of people asking Arrowhead to justify their dismissal, there are a number of players arguing that Spitz brought it on themself.

So I'd be surprised if the petition got any response at all from Arrowhead, but one thing is clear: The Sony blow-up has left behind a mass of difficult, ugly, and almost entirely unnecessary fallout for players and devs alike to reckon with.

Joshua Wolens
News Writer

One of Josh's first memories is of playing Quake 2 on the family computer when he was much too young to be doing that, and he's been irreparably game-brained ever since. His writing has been featured in Vice, Fanbyte, and the Financial Times. He'll play pretty much anything, and has written far too much on everything from visual novels to Assassin's Creed. His most profound loves are for CRPGs, immersive sims, and any game whose ambition outstrips its budget. He thinks you're all far too mean about Deus Ex: Invisible War.