Helldivers 2 needed its own D&D-type game master because the co-op shooter "is going to run for a long time, we'd love to see it go for many years"

Helldivers 2 helmet
(Image credit: Arrowhead Game Studios)

Helldivers 2 appointed a D&D-style game master in order to keep the game "exciting" for many years to come.

Last week, Arrowhead revealed "an actual person with the job title of Game Master" is pulling the strings in Helldivers 2's eternal war for democracy. Essentially, the now-infamous developer, whose name is Joel, reacts in real-time to player behavior and events happening in-game and uses that information to decide things like which Major Order happens, which Daily Order is active, and where the enemies attack. In a new comment from community manager Katherine "Baskinator" Baskin on Discord, Arrowhead's broader strategy for the Helldivers 2 game master is revealed:

"It's really intended to keep the game exciting and keep the never-ending war engaging for players," she said."HD2 is going to run for a long time, we'd love to see it go for many years, and that means we need something more than just a calendar with automated events tied to major holidays. That's what I see in other live service games."

While Joel the D&D master is shouldering the blame for apparently stacking the deck against freedom fighters, Helldivers 2 has exploded to such a degree that Arrowhead has had to call in reinforcements for "emergency" assistance. Nonetheless, the studio insists on avoiding an automated schedule that decides the contents of updates.

"Most live service games have something like a game master, but it's a series of automated events," Baskin said. "Buffs/debuffs/events are activated automatically according to some schedule... instead of what we're doing here, which is a person who can analyze the campaign as it's happening and make more sensitive choices. We knew it would be divisive! But we hope overall that people enjoy it."

Doing absolutely zero favors for his image in the eyes of democratic defenders, Baskin recently revealed Joel was "watching it all go down" as Helldivers 2 players died over 10 million times in an effort to take a single planet from the Automatons, calling the struggle "a thing of beauty" as players barely clutched a win. She maintains that, "he's as dedicated to the community as I am" and just wants everyone to have a good time. 

Check out these Helldivers 2 tips to help you spread Managed Democracy.

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.