Helldivers Q&A with Designer Patrik Lasota

Arrowhead Game Studios motto is “Games should challenge the creativity of the individuals that play them,” and their latest release, Helldivers, especially challenges players. In this top-down shooter, gamers protect Super-Earth from three alien races that seek to destroy all vestiges of humanity.

One of the primary challenges for players in Helldivers is that everything can kill you and I’m not just talking about the enemies, everything is death in disguise; friendly fire is always on, an ammo drop could turn necessary supplies into a lethal payload. Even the dropship at the end of level, just as victory is almost secured, can kill unsuspecting players.

Arrowhead Game Studios previously worked on Magicka, The Showdown Effect and Gauntlet but Helldivers is their most successful and high profile release to date. I had the opportunity to send a series of questions to Patrik Lasota, designer on Helldivers.


Helldivers Developer Q&A Combat GameplayQ: What is your design philosophy while creating Helldivers?

Our design philosophy is the studio motto “A game for everyone, is a game for no one.” In addition to that we really wanted to make a game where you wield awesome and powerful weapons, and have to be careful when using them.

Q: Are there any lessons learned from Magicka that helped with this release?

Definitively, some of the larger issues with Magicka was how hard it was to get in a game together. We early established that we wanted players to be able to join each other at any time, to ensure that playing multiplayer is the best way to play. Magicka also suffered from some stability and network issues. things we have really tried to work hard on this time around.

Q: Were there any challenges with developing for console after working on PC games?

Console is a very limited medium, you have what you have, and you have to adapt to what is available. On the other hand, you have to take far less variations of hardware and resolutions into account, and you can count on everyone having the same type of controller input. All in all it has been a learning experience, and I would love to work with consoles again.

Q: Was there ever a version in the works where friendly fire was an option instead of mandatory?

No, friendly fire was a core component, all the way from the beginning. I think that we have proven that friendly fire can be fun, in the right circumstances.

Q: For players who own a PS4, PS3 and Vita is there an ideal platform to play on?

Well, the PS4, being a more powerful device, is obviously the best place to play. But if you are on the go, you aren’t going to drag your PS4 with you, but you might bring your Vita along. All three versions are mechanically identical, the only difference being controls for the different platforms.

Helldivers Interview Developer Q&AQ: Randomly generated levels are typically known for their grueling challenge. Will players be tested to the limit in Helldivers?

I think we have difficulty enough for most players, but that said there are always those super hardcore players that you just can’t predict how good they will get. If it isn’t difficult enough, we will have to crank it up even further 🙂

Q: I’m a huge trophy hunter. How many players do you think will earn the platinum? Was it difficult to build and balance the trophy list?

I think a fair amount of players might get the platinum, but they are going to have to work for it! The hardest part about the trophies was really making them as interesting as possible, and to make sure that they held true to our humoristic side. I was actually scared that our trophies were too boring until I saw that people loved them after release.

Q: Is there a weapon or stratagem that stands out as being your favorite?

I’m a big fan of the laser weapons, and I like the Napalm strike a lot. I guess I’d say those are my favorite.

Q: So far each game from Arrowhead has been a standalone entry for the studio. Will you continue this trend or can fans anticipate a sequel?

A sequel is far from impossible, but it all depends on what people feel like doing next. If the team is psyched about a sequel that might happen, but if the team feels that they want to do something different for a while, then that is what we will do. You can’t make games if you aren’t passionate about them.

Q: Thanks for taking the time to answer all of these questions. Is there anything additional you’d like to comment on?

Yes! I’d like to thank our wonderful community who has sent us so much love and who fight hard every day for Humanity’s freedom!


Helldivers is available on the PS3, PS4 and Vita as a cross-buy title.