Helldivers 2 CEO reveals the origins of the game’s name

Helldivers 2 CEO reveals the origins of the game’s name
David Coulson Updated on by

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If just three months ago you heard the names ‘Arrowhead Game Studios’ and ‘Helldivers’ there is a good chance they would mean nothing to you. But, after the meteoric rise of Helldivers 2, which has gone on to become one of the biggest PlayStation games of all time, selling 12 million copies in three months, beating out games such as God of War Ragnarok.

Today, the name is on the tip of everyone’s tongue, and for good reason, Helldivers 2 is one of the most popular games in the world and its momentum doesn’t look to be slowing down any time soon.

Helldivers 2 squad
Image credit: Arrowhead

In an interview with PlayStation Blog, Arrowhead Game Studios CEO Johan Pilestedt revealed the origin of the studio’s name, as well as how the team settled on the name Helldivers when creating its now iconic shooter series.

“When we tried to come up with a studio name, we had a long day of throwing ideas around, but ultimately, only Arrowhead stuck, and without much competition.

The name “Arrowhead” mainly came out of two main ideas. One, my last name is Pilestedt, which can be directly translated to English as “arrow stead.” We also liked the idea that “Arrowhead” sounds like a serious company. Tip of the arrow. Cutting edge. Then you see the logo and the meaning changes into something dumber.

A black silhouette of a person with an arrow passing through their head; below, in bold capital letters, is the word "Arrowhead," reminiscent of the precision needed in Helldivers 2.
Image via Arrowhead Game Studios

We did, somewhat cheekily, decide to call our studio “Arrowhead Game Studios” plural, just in case we would grow to encompass more than one studio someday. Now, the name stands as a reminder of our student beginnings, when we were five people in a small room on LTU campus. Even the logo hasn’t changed much since then. We’re still chasing the same dream: to change the games industry with the power of fantasy-first co-op games.”

When it comes to creating the name Helldivers, Arrowhead Game Studios combined two common phrases when describing war to create the name and it suits the game perfectly.

“Helldivers was a thought on the phrases “war is hell” and “diving into war.” So Helldivers it became. Also, we wanted a name that reflected the activity that you would do in the game. The “Helldivers” name had also lingered in the back of my name since I learned the name of the World War II era Curtiss SB2C “Helldiver” dive bomber. I’ve always wanted to do something with it.

The Helldivers name fit so well that it actually stayed the same from the earliest pitches to the final product. On an emotional level, we wanted the name “Helldivers” to evoke the feeling of going up against insurmountable odds and that you’ll probably die.”

Helldivers 2 soldier with helmet off
Image credit: Arrowhead Game Studios

Even though the Helldivers are facing “insurmountable odds,” that doesn’t mean taking down the Automatons and Terminids isn’t worth doing, and there is a lot to take down in the latest Major Order, which calls for the extermination of over 3 billion combined enemies. To ensure victory and so you can be in the best position to rack up a hill kill count each mission, we highly recommend checking out our Helldivers 2 best weapons guide and best armor guide. To cause maximum destruction, check out our best Statragems guide to rain down bombs and missiles on your opponents.