Helldivers 2 dwindling player count could speed up the arrival of The Illuminate

Helldivers 2 dwindling player count could speed up the arrival of The Illuminate
David Coulson Updated on by

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Helldivers 2 is a success story that very few saw coming. It saw a 68x increase in its peak concurrent players on Steam compared to the first entry, with it peaking at 458,000 compared to less than 7,000. This has led to it becoming the biggest PlayStation launch ever, selling 12 million copies in the first three months, beating the previous record held by God of War Ragnarok.

Despite it’s meteoritic success, things have begun to get turbulent at Arrowhead Game Studios in recent weeks, beginning with the PSN controversy at the start of the month, followed by many weapons being nerfed to the point they have become unenjoyable to use. This has led to the player count rapidly declining, going from 166,000 concurrent players this time last month to just 60,000 today.

The decline has become apparent with the recent Major Orders, which saw players unable to eradicate 3.1 billion Automatons and Terminids, something that would have been a sure victory with time to spare just a few weeks ago. With Helldivers 2 spiraling out of control, things need to change and they need to change fast, and one story update could soon turn the game around, the arrival of The Illuminate.

A menacing, four-armed alien creature with glowing blue eyes and elongated limbs crouches in a dark, blue-lit environment, embodying the threat faced by Helldivers 2 against The Illuminate.
Image via u/IronS1ghts

The Illuminate were one of the three factions featured in Helldivers 1. The futuristic creatures were confirmed to be coming to Helldivers 2 back in March 2024 when in-game models were leaked. Despite multiple leaks, which has given players a look at the new enemies, along with weapons and other objects related to the faction, The Illuminate have yet to make an appearance in the game. It has been rumored that The Illuminate will come to Helldivers 2 following the conclusion of a story surrounding a new Super Weapon which will create a portal that will allow the faction to return to the galaxy, coincidentally the Super Weapon was recently mentioned in-game which could mean that the story is about to start playing out.

A man with a beard and blue shirt sits on a chair, with a figure in a black futuristic Helldivers 2 outfit standing behind him.

There is some potentially bright news on the horizon though as it was recently announced that Arrowhead Game Studios CEO Johan Pilestedt has stepped down to become the CCO so he can focus all of his attention on the development of the game rather than the business side of the company. This means that he will be more hands off with the game and will be able to work closer with the developers to improve things such as adding new content and rebalancing weapons, two aspects that are desperately needed. Another thing that Pilestedt will be focusing on now is the story of Helldivers 2, which includes The Illuminate.

As with most live service games, Helldivers 2 is playing the long game and looks to be around for many years to come. So it is understandable that it’s popularity will dip and increase over time as players come and go while they play the latest releases. But, without some major changes made to the game soon, players may become too used to not logging into Helldivers 2, even occasionally, which could mean that some never return. The next few weeks and months will be very interesting to watch unfold as the outcome could cement the future of Helldivers 2 for better or for worst.