No, Helldivers 2 will never need weapon customization… ever

No, Helldivers 2 will never need weapon customization… ever
Antony Terence Updated on by

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Weapon customization is a hotly debated topic in the shooter space. Games like Call of Duty and Battlefield have a dizzying selection of attachments to pick from, resulting in a near-infinite number of loadouts. Visual flourishes like skins can make a gun feel like an extension of yourself, especially after spending dozens of hours honing your skills. Despite the advantages that custom weapons bring, I don’t think it belongs in Helldivers 2.

And I’m not saying that because Helldivers 2 is strictly PvE or because it can be a chore to implement. No, I’m saying that it just isn’t necessary. In fact, adding customization could negatively impact an average democracy spreader’s experience. Not every game needs the in-depth customization of Escape from Tarkov.

Guns free from customization get to own an identity for themselves. There’s no further proof of this than the weapons from the Halo franchise or even those from The Finals. While some Halo games have experimented with an unhealthy number of variants, its iconic Assault Rifle and Plasma Pistol designs are instantly recognizable and fill specific combat roles. Power weapons like the Energy Sword, much like Helldivers 2’s stratagems, are used less often but pack a bigger punch. Add the ability to fiddle with scopes and muzzles and you risk making existing weapons redundant or worse, pointless.

Helldivers 2 weapon customization: A player runs towards a Gatling Sentry firing at enemies. Image captured by VideoGamer.
Stratagems and weapons shouldn’t lose what makes them unique. Image captured by VideoGamer.

If you’re well-acquainted with Helldivers 2, you must be aware of the fiery discussions that emerge whenever a balance patch is released. Balancing dozens of distinct weapons tailored to specific scenarios and enemies is hard enough. Weapon customization would only make things more difficult. True, adding a suppressor or a different stock/magazine sounds good on paper. But instead of expecting a single gun to fulfill several roles, Arrowhead Game Studios wisely sticks to variants. Want a gun with subsonic ammo? Ask for a variant, not a new system.

Pooling in resources and working together is encouraged instead of reducing combat to attachment shopping.

This lets the devs drum up excitement for future Warbond additions that tweak existing guns while ensuring that each variant has its strengths. For instance, the bug-clearing Breaker shotgun has an Incendiary cousin that deals damage over time and a Pray and Spray variant that boosts fire rate. This idea isn’t perfect, considering how the Concussive and Penetrator variants barely compete with the original Liberator assault rifle. But it’s a start at giving players choices that are effective in the right situations. This also encourages squads to strategize and pick guns suited for different enemies. Pooling in resources and working together is encouraged instead of reducing combat to attachment shopping.

While it doesn’t feature weapon customization, Helldivers 2 does let you make minor changes in combat. Hold down the reload key to tinker with the fire rate, flashlights, sights, and the Railgun’s unsafe mode. It’s not as significant as adding armor-piercing rounds or a laser box but this limitation protects guns from being reduced to multi-purpose tools.

Helldivers 2 weapon customization: A Call of Duty bundle featuring the Cybercat Operator skin. Image captured by VideoGamer.
This game doesn’t need skins that don’t fit with its universe. Image captured by VideoGamer.

Fair, it’s not impossible to implement weapon customization while respecting the roles that weapons fill. But it’s a challenge that Arrowhead Game Studios doesn’t need. Even a balanced approach like Rainbow Six Siege would erode the dedicated roles provided by Helldivers 2’s weapons. Let Call of Duty appease players who crave outlandish weapon skin grinds and a min-max numbers game with attachments. Helldivers 2 wisely places skill at the forefront of Automaton skirmishes and Terminid slaying.

Attachments would only muddy the playing field that Arrowhead Game Studios has crafted after rigorous testing and deliberation. While some fans still want underbarrel attachments and custom builds, I’m glad the developers decided against it. If an attachment could alter a weapon in a meaningful way, please let it be a gun variant. Even if a low-level player borrows a high-level supply weapon from an ally, their skills should determine how well they use it. Let weapons feel like a fundamental, unflinching part of the game’s lore (other than buffs and nerfs).