Helldivers 2's next major order is to 'completely destroy the Automaton Legion'—and if the first game's any indication, the galaxy could really be robot free for a while

A horde of automaton bots from Helldivers 2 marchers mercilessly on.
(Image credit: Arrowhead Games)

The war against the bots has been going shockingly well in Helldivers 2, despite the best efforts of the Automaton scourge. Gunships and giant walkers have barely stopped the march of liberty from rolling over the machine worlds—there was a minor speedbump via the major order to free Tibit, but things have been going great otherwise.

Great enough, in fact, that players have a chance to clean up that galactic scrapheap for good. The Automatons have been cornered in a tiny slice of the Severin sector, holding onto the piddly bastions of Maia, Durgen, and Tibit.

(Image credit: Arrowhead Games)

"All Helldivers are ordered to make an all-out push to completely destroy the Automaton Legion. Despite the enemy's losses, Automaton messages still include references to 'The Reclamation'. They must be annihilated before this plan can be carried out," reads an in-game dispatch.

It'll be a tall order, though. Helldivers only have, at the time of writing, three days to liberate those planets. The first push has ramped Maia up to 43% liberation, and while Helldivers.io projects it'll be captured in a far-too-slow 15 hours, it's a sure thing that the liberation rate will ramp up as brave soldiers pour in this evening, and over the weekend.

The introduction of the effective LAS-99 Quasar Cannon has likely helped, since it can knock the game's new gunships out of the sky—though I'm personally a fan of the recently-buffed Anti-Materiel Rifle. There's something very satisfying about two-tapping automaton hulks in the face, especially after my many hours of terror at the hands of their flamethrowers.

The question remains, though: What happens if we win? Can we actually wipe out the Automatons?

The answer's a solid "maybe", soldier. The galactic war of Helldivers 1 operates in a never ending cycle—Super Earth either wipes out the bugs, bots, and psychic aliens, or it gets conquered entirely. Win or lose, a cutscene plays and everybody resets to square one. It's like Groundhog Day if Bill Murray had a rocket launcher. Or 50 First Dates, if Adam Sandler also had a rocket launcher.

There is a very real chance that developer Arrowhead Games will repeat the same gambit here. Granted, we're still waiting for the arrival of the Illuminate faction which—despite Super Earth's best efforts to deny it—is definitely coming. 

In Helldivers 1, however, these cycles would last around a month, meaning you wouldn't be deprived of the joy of fighting a faction for long. Helldivers 2 is pushing two months young, and we're just about to snuff out the Automaton front. Assuming we still have a couple more months of fighting left, that's a long time to remove half (soon to be a third) of the game's content, even if it's temporary.

On the other hand, there's also the Joel-fuelled anxiety. The Helldivers universe is not a kind one, and there's every chance that this approaching victory will only be a chance for another shoe to drop. Whether that shoe lands in the form of an Illuminate horde or another surprise addition to the Galactic Map remains to be seen. Until then, you've got the whole weekend to spill oil.

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.