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'The act of over-hiring to then do layoffs is a horrible practice and a bad experience for employees.'

Chris Kerr, News Editor

February 21, 2024

2 Min Read
Key artwork for Helldivers 2
Image via Arrowhead

Helldivers 2 creative director and CEO of developer Arrowhead Game Studios, Johan Pilestedt, says the studio won't be making any knee-jerk decisions in response to the title's meteoric launch success.

The title has sold around 1 million copies on PC and PlayStation 5 since landing earlier this month and recently passed 450,000 concurrent players on Steam (thanks, SteamDB).

That burgeoning player base has resulted in persistent matchmaking and login issues, and seems to have drastically exceeded the studio's expectations. It means some players have been stuck queuing around the proverbial block in a bid to spread democracy, despite Arrowhead doing its best to distribute fixes.

Discussing how the studio has coped with that booming demand, Pilestedt said Arrowhead's team of backend engineers has gone above and beyond to prevent the entire experience from buckling completely.

"I want to do a massive shout-out to Arrowhead's backend engineers," he wrote on X. "I mean, four people 5x-ing the max of what they designed for in one week, and are now looking to go beyond. I don't think you understand what a massive feat this is. It's like tuning a vespa to compete in F1."

He added that Sony is currently supporting the studio, but noted that integrating additional developers into Arrowhead's workflow isn't an instant fix. "The trick is that [bringing in new people] takes time away from our engineers to onboard new ones—so it's a bit of a balancing act," he said.

Notably, Pilestedt said Arrowhead won't embark upon a hiring spree to address launch issues that might ultimately turn out to be a short term problem. There's no telling whether Helldivers 2 will sustain its current player count, and Pilestedt believes that going on a huge recruitment drive right now would be dangerous.

Short-term solutions for short-term problems

"The act of over-hiring to then do layoffs is a horrible practice and a bad experience for employees," he explained. Use short term solutions for short term problems, such as outsourcing, contractors or limited time agreements."

Pilestedt has been incredibly candid when interacting with fans on social media, and earlier this week encouraged players experiencing FOMO (that is, the 'Fear Of Missing Out') to wait until Arrowhead has addressed server issues before buying Helldivers 2.

"I mean, as a CEO I of course want the game to be as profitable as possible, but if you spent your last dollars and got stuck in server queues I'd be heartbroken," he said on X.

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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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