Helldivers 2 Boss Says Sorry After Game Gets Review-Bombed To Hell [Update: Steam Removes Game In Some Regions And Offers Refunds]

Helldivers 2 Boss Says Sorry After Game Gets Review-Bombed To Hell [Update: Steam Removes Game In Some Regions And Offers Refunds]

It’s been a terrible day for Helldivers 2 and the team behind it. Angry players swarmed the co-op shooter’s Steam page to review-bomb it like a giant hive of Terminids after a PlayStation Network login requirement was reinstituted on PC. “Ouch, right in the review score,” Arrowhead Studios CEO Johan Pilestedt tweeted after the hit game’s rating turned to “mixed” on the Valve-owned storefront.

“Well, I guess it’s warranted,” the head developer continued. “Sorry everyone for how this all transpired. I hope we will make it up and regain the trust by providing a continued great game experience.” The statement came after a more formal acknowledgement of the situation earlier in the day that simply told players to contact Sony’s support team if they had any questions. Thousands more negative reviews had poured in since.

The outrage began last night when players on PC noticed that the Sony-published game’s PSN login requirement had returned. Originally removed amid massive server strain in Helldivers 2’s early launch period, it was the first time many new players were seeing it. Despite being a relatively quick and easy process, the idea of having to create a second login and hand over their information to the PlayStation 5 manufacturer didn’t sit well with many. It’s even caused a mini-civil war between players on console who don’t think it’s a big deal and those on PC irritated they now have to play by another platform’s rules. There are also a number of places around the world where PSN isn’t supported, potentially locking those players out of the game.

Screenshot: Valve / Kotaku
Screenshot: Valve / Kotaku

Steam’s aggregate review ratings can make or break a game’s sales prospects. While Helldivers 2 has already secured its status as one of the top-selling games of the year, anyone new stumbling upon it for the first time might mistake the mixed rating for an indication that there was actually something functionally wrong with it. Valve has struggled to deal with review-bombing campaigns for years, attempting to increase the requirements for leaving reviews and filtering out bogus complaints to protect the integrity of its store ratings.

Pilestedt’s earlier tweet was hit with a “community note” claiming that the customer support page he referenced said PSN logins were optional on PC while the one for Helldivers 2 was mandatory. Some of the outpouring of frustration has also resulted in the game’s community managers being targeted online for harassment by angry fans. Not everyone’s upset. “As long as I don’t have to download a launcher I’m good lol,” wrote one player in support of Pilestedt and his team. “Thanks for the amazing game!”

Update 5/5/2024 10:08 a.m. ET: Over 48 hours later, Helldivers 2 is still getting bombarded by negative user reviews on Steam after it re-implemented its controversial PSN login requirement. The online shooter now has a rating of “overwhelmingly negative” from more than 150,000 recent complaints. Democracy manifest, I suppose.

Valve also appears to have begun processing refunds for some players in regions where PSN accounts aren’t supported, even if they had dozens of more hours of playtime in the game than the usual two hour limit. The company behind Steam has also pulled Helldivers 2 from sale on the digital storefront in those countries, including places like Egypt, Serbia, Philippines, and Puerto Rico. Concurrent player numbers, while down slightly from recent weeks, appear to remain mostly unchanged, however. One player asked Arrowhead Studios what they should do now that the game is not supported in their country. “I don’t know,” replied Pilestedt.

“Waking up to the sunshine of yesterday replaced with a dreary drizzle and shivering winds makes me reflect on how I spent my time those rare few moments when all was perfect,” he tweeted earlier today. “Yet rain is essential to growth and is what changes spring into summer. I will just have to wait for sunshine to return.” Later on, the Arrowhead CEO wrote that the studio was “talking solutions” with PlayStation, especially for non-PSN countries, adding that players’ voices have been heard but he and the development team don’t have the final say.


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