Helldivers 2 is a nice example of a live service game working well

Two months since Helldivers 2 hit the ground and the gaming world took to saving Super Earth. This game is a pleasant surprise to how a live service game can work in today's industry.
Helldivers 2 screenshot. Courtesy Arrowhead Game Studios.
Helldivers 2 screenshot. Courtesy Arrowhead Game Studios. /

Live service has become a derogatory term in video gaming. Those entries that are meant to keep people playing and spending money for as long as possible are some of the key issues hampering business today. Yet, Helldivers 2 is a shocking entry that fans have rallied around. In many ways, it can be considered the “anti” live service game.

Since its launch on February 8, Helldivers 2 has remained one of the biggest surprises in gaming this year. The game was welcomed with strong scores, including sitting at 90 percent on OpenCritic and 82/83 percent on Metacritic. Not only did outlets rave about the enjoyment of playing this game, but content creators like the Kinda Funny Games team continued to stream the game two months after its release.

It has and remains comically fun to accidentally blow up your friends with an orbital strike. Or narrowly escape robot forces converging on the extraction point while epic music plays in your ears. While fun, those are the reasons why Helldivers 2 is a success whereas so many other live-service games have failed. Instead, it’s how easy this game is to dive into the fun without the invasive tactics that other live-service games take to get players to spend real money. The warbonds are there and readily available to those who want to purchase them with real money. But if you’d rather get them through grinding in the game, that doesn’t seem like an insurmountable goal. Helldivers 2 is fun and makes it easy for players to have fun. A part of the equation that too many games frequently miss.

Along with those in-game developments, the growth of the Helldivers 2 lore outside of gameplay keeps dragging fans back into the fight. Whether it was the announcement of mechs or the other hints found via social media, it’s clear that the minds behind the game are invested in the long haul.

There’s a lot to complain about in the video game industry. Massive layoffs, the increasing cost of games, and a lack of quality releases typically stand out. But Helldivers 2 is one success that deserves praise. It’s even a successful example of how a live service game can work well.