What’s Going On With Helldivers 2? Refunds, Removal From Sale, And Review-Bombing [Updated]

What’s Going On With Helldivers 2? Refunds, Removal From Sale, And Review-Bombing [Updated]

Update 6/5/2024, 4:24 p.m. AEST: Helldivers 2 Creative Director and Arrowhead CEO Johan Pilestedt has taken to X (formerly Twitter) to thank PlayStation for their decision to roll back the mandatory account linking (thus squarely putting the blame on the publisher for the whole sage to begin with). He’s also commended the community for their “willpower” and “ability to cooperate” in the wake of the weekend’s news. Original story continues below updates.

Update 6/5/2024, 2:20 p.m. AEST: PlayStation has confirmed via X that the plan to make PSN account linking mandatory for Helldivers 2 PC players won’t be going ahead. Whether this is enough to settle the dust in the community after so much drama over the weekend remains to be seen. Original story continues below.

Helldivers 2 drama continues. Steam has removed the game from sale in 177 countries and begun refunding players with hundreds of in-game hours, just days after publisher Sony announced that PC players would be required to link a PSN account to continue playing after next month.

The announcement that Helldivers 2 players would be required to link a PSN account to keep playing Arrowhead’s smash-hit title came on Friday. The statement said that account linking would allow the developer to uphold “the values of safety and security” and “protect players from griefing and abuse,” with all new Helldivers 2 players on Steam required to connect their accounts to a PSN one as of May 6, and current players required to do so by June 4. The linking requirement was previously made optional when the game was initially released due to server issues.

Helldivers 2 players are frustrated with the change, with the game receiving over 250,000 negative reviews on Steam since the announcement – tipping it into “Overwhelmingly Negative” territory. The original Helldivers is also copping some heat on Steam, with almost a thousand recent negative reviews as fans take out their frustrations on the whole damn franchise. Some have even gone so far as to request refunds from Steam despite playing for upwards of a hundred hours. Steam appears to have so far been obliging these requests, despite the general practice of only providing refunds for games where players have only clocked a couple of hours. 

One user, posting to Reddit, confirmed they had received a refund after 97 hours of game time by submitting a request which read: “Sony has retroactively changed how the game works and forced legal agreements upon me I do not accept.” 

While PC players in regions where PSN is available have been up in arms and demanding refunds for Helldivers 2, it also appears that players from locations not covered by PSN may be fully locked out of the game come early June. As shared by SteamDB, the game has been removed from sale on Steam in 177 countries and territories – Japan is on this list, although this appears to be due to being replaced with a different version, likely due to localisation, as opposed to being fully removed from sale. 

An FAQ from Sony posted to the Helldivers 2 Discord server seems to advise players who might be otherwise locked out due to their location to set their PSN account to a different country than the one they live in as a solution – although it’s worth noting this violates Sony’s terms of service. Even Arrowhead CEO Johan Pilestedt seemed stumped for solutions to the obstacle – one player asked what they should do now the game isn’t supported in the country, to which he replied: “I don’t know.”

Despite Helldivers 2’s woes at the hands of the PSN linking saga, not all hope is lost though. Pilestedt took to X (formerly Twitter) to let fans know that Arrowhead was “talking solutions with Sony, especially in non-PSN countries” to try and find a fix. “Your voice has been heard, and I am doing everything I can to speak for the community⁠—but I don’t have the final say.”

It’s not clear yet exactly what solution might be reached for Helldivers 2 players at risk of being locked out of the game once the account linking requirement becomes mandatory in June. However, given the waves the situation has been making online and the overwhelming community response, it’s likely we’ll be hearing more very soon about what’s to come next for the game.

What do you think of the mandatory PSN account linking for Helldivers 2 players? Let us know in the comments.

Image: Arrowhead Studios / Sony / Kotaku Australia

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