Sweet liberty, are Helldivers 2 players not happy about having to link their Steam accounts to the PlayStation hive mind

A Steam chart showing a recent spike in negative reviews due to Sony's insistence on players linking a PSN account.
(Image credit: Steam / Arrowhead Games)

Helldivers 2 is going to make you link your PlayStation Network account—and boy, are liberty's finest upset about it. If you dare to venture into the game's Discord server at the time of writing, you'll find the place is thoroughly on fire, with timeouts being issued left and right. 

As a recap in case you didn't see the news earlier: Helldivers 2 will require you to link your Steam account to PlayStation Network starting May 6, though said requirement will roll out piecemeal. By May 30 Steam users will be confronted with a login screen, and by June 4 they'll absolutely, 100% need to register.

This move, Sony claims, is to "protect players from griefing" among other 'benefits'—and was only ever delayed thanks to the state of Helldivers 2's servers at launch. Here's the proper rundown of the change—or, more accurately, reinstatement—in policy. For now though, let's turn our gaze towards the community.

First up, people are—understandably—worried about region locks. PSN serves around 69 countries at the moment which, as you might have put together, is not all of them. From where I'm sitting this whole debacle is mostly just irritating, and a great example of Sony putting its foot in it, but this is by far the most legitimate worry surrounding the controversy.

I guess this is Goodbye...(Level 90 HELLDIVER) from r/Helldivers

Considering players from these countries will have previously been able to play the game—and could have, reasonably, missed the section on the game's store page that said it required a PSN account—it's a nightmare customer service issue. If you lie about it, Sony is technically within their rights to ban you, according to its Terms of Service.

"Sony MUST find a solution for this and it can't be: Lie about your credentials and risk that we might ban your helldivers account," writes one player calling attention to the issue on the game's subreddit. "What an absolute clusterf*ck", adds their fellow diver—blunt, but by no means incorrect.

The game's been thrown into the grinder on Steam, too. Over the course of one day, over 10,000 negative reviews have flooded in. That number's set to grow over the coming hours, and at the time of writing has knocked the game's recent reviews into "Mixed" territory.

(Image credit: Valve)

The whole debacle had led to plenty of conspiracies flying around to the tune of 'Sony wanting to sell your data' or 'Sony just wants to boost its PSN numbers for investors, considering over half of Helldivers 2 players experience the game on Steam'. 

I'm firmly in the camp of not attributing to malice what can be explained by stupidity, especially since this is something we've (technically) known is going to happen since day one. As dumb as this decision is from an optics standpoint, "Requires 3rd-Party Account: PlayStation Network" is pretty clear.

But the handling from Sony has clearly been catastrophic. A huge part of the problem, as Arrowhead Games community manager Twinbeard writes, is that the development studio—while knowing about the shift—didn't craft the statement itself. "We're chasing Sony to get more info" regarding the region-locking issue, Twinbeard writes on Discord, in the middle of a swarmed general chat that's gone full Lord of the Flies.

johan pilestedt

(Image credit: Johan Pilestedt on Twitter)

(Image credit: Helldivers 2 Discord)

Arrowhead Games CEO Johan Pilestedt has also issued a statement on Twitter, directing players towards Sony support: "if you have any further questions you can reach out using the 'Contact PlayStation Support' at the bottom of the page." One can't help but wonder whether the studio itself was given much advance warning.

Regardless, democracy does, certainly, appear to be in action. Whether Sony will listen and change tack remains to be seen—baseline, I don't think anyone should be locked out of shooting bugs and bots just because they happened to buy the game in a certain country. The joy of an Eagle 500kg Bomb (delivered by everyone's favourite pilot) should know no borders.

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.