Helldivers 2 abruptly presses pause on its war on bugs, urges players to go kill millions of robots instead

Helldivers 2
(Image credit: Arrowhead Game Studios)

The galactic campaign against the Terminids isn't close to over, but Super Earth has bigger problems on its hands.

As announced on social channels, Helldivers 2 is pressing pause on its bug war and pointing fleets of helldivers toward an emerging front. The Automatons, a faction of titanium death machines and Terminator wannabes, have launched "surprise invasions of multiple developed worlds" in the Xzar sector.

As a result, two playable planets have unlocked in the Xzar sector and a new major order has come in: "Complete at least eight Defend campaigns against the Automatons."

The update came as a surprise to players. Up to this point, the community has cumulatively completed missions to "liberate" planets and gradually progress deeper into enemy territory, but today's unannounced Automaton pivot suggests developer Arrowhead Game Studios isn't above throwing a few curveballs at its cooperative war simulation. Considering Helldivers 2 has now been out a full week, this sort of developer intervention might become a regular occurrence.

It's a good time to switch things up. As much as I've enjoyed racking up a buggy body count that'd put your local exterminator to shame, I've been waiting for the opportunity to shoot at something that'll shoot right back. High-difficulty Terminid missions are an exercise in enemy kiting and horde management, but Automaton missions play out more like a war sim. You have to prioritize the deadliest targets, take cover to avoid instant annihilation by laser tower, and deploy smoke cover to throw off the enemy scent.

A few Automaton planets have been open since release day, but since there hasn't been a reward for liberating them until now, it's been tough to pull my friends away from the bugs.

helldivers 2

The new front on in the Xzar sector. (Image credit: Arrowhead Game Studios)

Now there's a very good reason to take them on: 12,500 Requisitions. That's enough in-game currency to unlock the most expensive stratagems in the game, and a slightly higher payout than the one we just earned for liberating the first two Terminid planets.

The Xzar sector offensive is set to go on for at least the next few weeks, if the timer on the major order is to be taken seriously. After that, it's back to bugs, I presume? Part of the fun with Helldivers, a live service game with no roadmap or schedule so far, is not knowing.


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Morgan Park
Staff Writer

Morgan has been writing for PC Gamer since 2018, first as a freelancer and currently as a staff writer. He has also appeared on Polygon, Kotaku, Fanbyte, and PCGamesN. Before freelancing, he spent most of high school and all of college writing at small gaming sites that didn't pay him. He's very happy to have a real job now. Morgan is a beat writer following the latest and greatest shooters and the communities that play them. He also writes general news, reviews, features, the occasional guide, and bad jokes in Slack. Twist his arm, and he'll even write about a boring strategy game. Please don't, though.