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The hit shooter leverages a game engine that was officially laid to rest back in 2018.

Chris Kerr, News Editor

February 22, 2024

2 Min Read
Players charge into a firefight in Helldivers 2
Image via Arrowhead

Helldivers 2 has joined Palworld to become one of 2024's early megahits. The chaotic shooter has sold around 1 million copies since debuting earlier this month and recently topped an estimated 450,000 concurrent users on Steam.

That success has created challenges for developer Arrowhead, which is struggling to bolster server capacity and patch bugs in the face of a burgeoning player base.

Arrowhead CEO Johan Pilestedt has been open with players about the hurdles facing the studio, and since launch has shared a litany of behind-the-scenes tidbits with inquisitive fans on social media—including the fact that Helldivers 2 was built using a game engine that has officially been declared dead

As noted by 80 Level and subsequently confirmed by Pilestedt, the title was created using Autodesk's 'Stingray' engine, which was officially discontinued back in 2018.

Helldivers 2 on Stingray

Breaking the news at the time, Autodesk explained it would cease support for Stingray (known as 'Bitsquid' before its original developers sold it to Autodesk) and make it unavailable for purchase. Autodesk said the move would allow it to better support its customers using Unreal Engine and Unity.

Ultimately, it meant Stingray was put out to pasture, with Autodesk confirming that version 1.9 (released in August 2017) would be the final update.

Sharing that 80 Level report on X, Pilestedt added that production on Helldivers 2 started before Stingray was discontinued, but suggested the move didn't exactly make life easier for the dev team. "This is true. Our crazy engineers had to do everything, with no support to build the game to parity with other engines," he added.

It's worth noting that Arrowhead used Stingray to create the original Helldivers (though the top-down shooter is an altogether different experience than its younger sibling), so at least the team could lean on past experience to chart a path forward once Autodesk had declared the engine surplus to requirements.

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About the Author(s)

Chris Kerr

News Editor, GameDeveloper.com

Game Developer news editor Chris Kerr is an award-winning journalist and reporter with over a decade of experience in the game industry. His byline has appeared in notable print and digital publications including Edge, Stuff, Wireframe, International Business Times, and PocketGamer.biz. Throughout his career, Chris has covered major industry events including GDC, PAX Australia, Gamescom, Paris Games Week, and Develop Brighton. He has featured on the judging panel at The Develop Star Awards on multiple occasions and appeared on BBC Radio 5 Live to discuss breaking news.

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