Helldivers 2 lore is funny and unapologetically political: bugs are oil, bots are commies, 'Managed Democracy' is a scam

An image of a citizen of Super Earth giving a PSA, holding his hands out in a calming manner while the word: INVASION is stamped in block-type over a screaming man crying for sweet liberty.
(Image credit: Arrowhead Games)

It's pretty clear from the opening cutscene that Helldivers 2 takes place in a satirical, Starship Troopers-esque future where a dystopian government glorifies the idea of dying for "democracy." So it may not shock you too much to find out Super Earth isn't exactly all that democratic, and many of the problems we're out solving with our bullets and lasers are of our own making. Especially if you didn't play the original Helldivers, a lot of this isn't made super obvious. 

I probably only have a few minutes here before you and your squad drop a 500KG bomb on my apartment for 50 experience and some common samples after I'm charged with treason, so I'll be brief:

"Managed Democracy" is basically a Facebook personality quiz that decides where your vote should go

You may have noticed that Super Earth is committed to spreading Managed Democracy. That first part, as it turns out, is the kicker. The in-game encyclopedia from the original Helldivers reads:

"Utilizing computer aided voting software, citizens are asked to answer several questions, and the outcome of their vote is decided upon by the computer. This removes the uncertainty that existed in the old systems where voters didn't understand fully what they were voting for, giving us Managed Democracy."

So you don't actually vote for a candidate or a party as a citizen of Super Earth. It's more like telling the voting machine who your favorite Ninja Turtle is and which of these dresses you'd wear to the Academy Awards, and then you blindly and patriotically trust that your vote will be allocated appropriately. 

helldivers 2 lore

An "illegal" terminid broadcast that reads: "This threat is all about oil! The government made this!" (Image credit: Arrowhead Game Studios)

The bugs turn into oil when they die, so Super Earth wants to make sure we never fully eradicate them

This one is hinted at if you get the objective to destroy an illegal broadcast station on a bug-occupied planet in Helldivers 2, with messages like "THIS THREAT IS ALL ABOUT OIL!" and "WAKE UP PEOPLE! THE BUG MENACE IS A SUPER EARTH CONSTRUCT!" As it turns out, when a terminid dies, its corpse conveniently breaks down into oil. There are also some insinuations that they may have been created or genetically modified by Super Earth scientists, like in the Alien franchise—to present a more compelling threat, produce more oil, or maybe both. Oh Super Earth, what'll you think of next?

The fact that fossil fuels are still in use in a future where we can build advanced plasma weaponry and warp drives is a major tell. Super Earth doesn't really want the bugs gone. They want to leave enough of them alive to repopulate so they can keep sending you and your friends to die, then harvest that sweet black gold.

helldivers 2 lore

An "illegal" terminid broadcast that reads: "Wake up people! The bug menace is a Super Earth construct!" (Image credit: Arrowhead Game Studios)

The robots are communists who rebelled against Super Earth

The Automatons we see in Helldivers 2 seem to be an evolution or possibly an offshoot of the Cyborgs faction from the original Helldivers, who were a bit more human in their appearance. They were originally rebels who seceded from Super Earth's militaristic empire to form what Arrowhead's Johan Pilestedt described in a 2014 interview with GamingBolt as "a socio-anarchistic feudal society," and were quickly labeled as terrorists.

The 'borgs even used to try to recruit Helldivers sent to fight them in the first game. They seem to have abandoned that idea now along with what little flesh they had left, but you can still see their propaganda when you're shutting down a broadcast tower on an Automaton planet announcing things like, "WE HAVE ELIMINATED INEQUALITY!" If you sneak up on a patrol of Automatons, you can even hear them chanting in unison.

On top of this, Hellpods were originally created to suppress a peaceful socialist breakaway state called Northman's Creek. This event is brought up a couple of times as a historical curiosity if you chat up the bridge officers on your super destroyer.

Real, actual things people have been arrested or executed for on Super Earth, according to the lore:

  • Suspected of being an alien sympathizer
  • Failing to honor the flag of Super Earth
  • Questioning official government narratives
  • Being a "hippie"
  • Calling for peace with the cyborgs
  • Having a child without a government-issued permit (reinforcing how not-nice the Super Earth government is, apparently this "C1-PERM" form is complicated and difficult to complete)
  • Doing science the government doesn't like (Did you ever think about why we keep getting paid to blow up research outposts?)
  • Publishing an article on the GWW (Galactic Wide Web, which is monitored by the state) exposing Super Earth's lies. No more frags for oil! Remember Northman's Creek!

Len Hafer is a dangerous terrorist who was terminated for spreading lies and sedition among the ranks. This archive is provided for training purposes only, to aid you in identifying traitorous broadcasts before they can spread.