Everything we know about the Helldivers 2 Illuminate faction

Helldivers 2
(Image credit: Arrowhead Game Studios)

The Illuminate are being rumoured as Helldivers 2's third faction, a race of aliens with psionic and/or psychic abilities, mixed with powerful technological vehicles and protective measure. Now, to clarify - right now it's not been officially confirmed that the Illuminate will be added to Helldivers 2, but that's the prevailing theory right now, given some validation by what appear to be teases and references to them in-game, as well as datamined information. We'll cover everything we know about the Illuminate faction in Helldivers 2 so far, including abilities, details and a potential release date.

All Helldivers 2 Illuminate and third faction details, leaks and more

Helldivers 2 Illuminate

(Image credit: Sony)

The following information about the Illuminate in Helldivers 2 is noteworthy when considering their potential involvement in the future:

  • The Illuminate have not been confirmed as being added to the game officially by developers Arrowhead. While the community seems very certain they'll show up, nobody on the creative team has actually said that they will be the third of the Helldivers 2 factions. This actually means that the Illuminate coming to the game is technically still just rumour, and isn't necessarily guaranteed to happen.
  • However, characters in the game - crewmembers on the ship - refer to the Illuminate from time to time as a previous threat in random dialogue.
  • This is a reference to the first game, in which there were three factions for the players to fight - the Terminids, the Cyborgs, and the Illuminate, who were added later after release.
  • Datamined info from Helldivers 2's files is highly suggestive of the impending addition of the Illuminate, with them mentioned more than once and referencing specific enemies from that faction. Still, keep in mind that this isn't a guarantee they're coming - as we mentioned in our broader page on the Helldivers 2 roadmap and future updates, files in the game could always just be leftover and redundant data from abandoned elements in the game's development.
  • Lights in the sky have been reported appearing for a few lucky players (thanks u/ImDaBooii). We can't verify the accuracy of this ourselves, but a lot of the community are reading into these random events as intentional teases for the eventual return of the Illuminate.

Who are the Illuminate in Helldivers?

Helldivers 2 Illuminate

(Image credit: Sony)

In Helldivers 1, the Illuminate were the third faction the Helldivers were fighting, a group of psionic aliens also known as the Squ'ith, vaguely reminiscent of the Covenant from Halo, with a fondness for barriers, shields and protective technology, as well as sleek technological devices and projectile weapons. If the goal of Arrowhead turns out to be to translate the Illuminate accurately to Helldivers 2, then players will likely spend their time navigating the aliens' superior defensive abilities and fighting at range.

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Joel Franey
Guides Writer

Joel Franey is a writer, journalist, podcaster and raconteur with a Masters from Sussex University, none of which has actually equipped him for anything in real life. As a result he chooses to spend most of his time playing video games, reading old books and ingesting chemically-risky levels of caffeine. He is a firm believer that the vast majority of games would be improved by adding a grappling hook, and if they already have one, they should probably add another just to be safe. You can find old work of his at USgamer, Gfinity, Eurogamer and more besides.