Helldivers 2 studio wants to slow down the pace of updates: 'We feel a slightly lower cadence overall will benefit both us, you, and the game'

helldivers 2
(Image credit: Arrowhead Game Studios)

Helldiving hero Harvey Randall said last week that things need to change at Arrowhead, because the blistering pace of Helldivers 2 updates is starting to take a visible toll on developers and players alike. Apparently Arrowhead agrees: In response to an inquiry about the release of the next patch, community manager Twinbeard said it'll be out "when it's done."

It's been genuinely remarkable to watch Arrowhead build Helldivers 2 into a game experience that feels genuinely alive. Eschewing a regular schedule of updates, Helldivers 2 developers appear to just do things, an embrace of chaos that keeps everyone on their toes. For the most part it's been a smashing success, but it's also led to some criticism as fast-and-furious balance changes, sometimes bringing unexpected results, have frustrated some members of the community.

Personally, I'm inclined to agree with Helldivemaster Morgan Park's assessment that the meta doesn't much matter in a strictly PvE game, but I'm also someone who stuck with the IKELOS SMG for the entire time I played Destiny 2, meta be damned, because I like how it sounds. (For the Destiny fans out there, I have been informed that IKELOS actually was the meta, but that's not the point.) So, fair play, I may not be the best judge of these things, and in fact Arrowhead CEO Johan Pilestedt recently acknowledged that the studio's approach to game balance in Helldivers 2 hasn't been ideal.

It seems Pilestedt was serious about the need to shift gears on updates, as Twinbeard said on Discord that the next patch is going to take a little longer than usual to arrive, and future patches may as well.

"We want to take some more time for this one and potentially between future patches since we feel cadence has probably been a bit too high to be able to maintain the quality standard we want and you deserve," Twinbeard wrote. "Patching a lot can easily disrupt work flow and takes more resources than you might think; it needs planning, implementing, monitoring, possible tweaking in hotfixes etc. For this one we prefer to stretch it out a little, hopefully with a good result."

(Image credit: Twinbeard (Arrowhead Game Studios, via Discord))

In a separate message on Discord, Twinbeard said the specifics of a new, slower update schedule haven't yet been decided. "I'd say it's something we have to try out and get a feel for," he wrote. "[at the moment] we feel a slightly lower cadence overall will benefit both us, you, and the game."

It's a tough spot for Arrowhead. A large portion of the player base wants more updates and Warbonds, but there's also a growing sense that too much is, well, too much: There's a risk that quantity may outweigh quality. And even when that's not the case, as online editor Fraser Brown wrote in April, none of it really gets a chance to breathe. Let us not forget that developers need to sleep now and then, too. It's been an admirable effort on Arrowhead's part, and Helldivers 2 has been great for it, but I think at this point it will be even better if all involved can slow down a little bit and take some time to smell the victory.

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.