Helldivers 2 director wants Arrowhead to be "the next FromSoftware" and like "Blizzard before 2004"

Helldivers 2
(Image credit: Arrowhead Game Studios)

Helldivers 2 creative director and outgoing Arrowhead CEO Johan Pilestedt says he wants his studio to be the next FromSoftware or Blizzard, but he stipulates that it's pre-2004 Blizzard he's aspiring toward.

In an interview with GamesIndustry in which it's revealed Pilestedt is stepping down as Arrowhead CEO to take a more active role in Helldivers 2's development, the developer said he hopes the new CEO, Shams Jorjani, will help usher the studio into a new, even more high-profile era. 

"I want to see how high we can fly," Pilestedt said. "And bringing Shams on board, we have a good potential to realise that future of turning into the next FromSoftware or Blizzard."

However, a fan expressed concerned about Arrowhead going in Blizzard's direction in a Twitter comment, and Pilestedt replied clarifying: "Blizzard before 2004 :)".

Pilestedt didn't add any further comment, but did he really need to? Despite creating a bunch of beloved IP, Activision Blizzard has been at the center of a years-long controversy over alleged sexual harassment and toxic work culture that culminated in a lawsuit and a $35 million settlement in 2023.

In the same interview, Jorjani said he wants to avoid turning Arrowhead into a giant "500-person" studio and getting involved in public trading, two things you could argue are contributing to some the biggest issues plaguing the industry at the moment. This is music to my ears, but we'll see if the philosophy sticks as Arrowhead continues growing in the wake of Helldivers 2's massive success.

One downside that's already sprouted from the game's momentum are what Pilestedt rightfully calls "shitty individuals."

"The big difference now, which is horrifying, is the amount of threats and rude behavior that people in the studio are getting from some really shitty individuals within the community," Pilestedt said. "That's something new we have to deal with."

Expanding on that, Jorjani added: "When you hit this big, much bigger than anyone thought – Sony, us, everyone – what happens is the game finds an audience outside of that niche fan group. So you get this amplification of different voices. Almost all games have a bit of toxicity in the community, but with these big numbers you just get so many, so we need to work with the community to get them to self-moderate, give people the tools to speak with each other in a positive fashion, so we can keep talking to the players openly. The more voices being added to the choir does add complexity."

Elsewhere in the interview, Pilestedt said he agrees Helldivers 2's guns are too weak, its armor is too boring, and planets are too repetitive.

Jordan Gerblick

After scoring a degree in English from ASU, I worked as a copy editor while freelancing for places like SFX Magazine, Screen Rant, Game Revolution, and MMORPG on the side. Now, as GamesRadar's west coast Staff Writer, I'm responsible for managing the site's western regional executive branch, AKA my apartment, and writing about whatever horror game I'm too afraid to finish.