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Helldivers 2 aims to channel the 'immersive' quality of Dungeons & Dragons, says game director

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Arrowhead Games Studios CEO and game director on Helldivers 2, Johan Pilestedt opened up about his approach to the sci-fi shooter's playful design. 

In an interview with our sister site PC Gamer, Pilestedt spoke about how he was inspired by tabletop role-playing games (TTRPGs) like Dungeons & Dragons

"We all together imagine it, and then we talk about it as if it was real life," said Pilestedt, talking about his experiences with TTRPGs. "We can joke about it decades later: 'Do you remember when you blew me up with that spell?'

"In [Helldivers 2...] it's still the same kind of tight-knit group that had the shared experience and it's going to be something that connects those four [players] that were there to a very special moment."

Pilestedt is referring to the scope for emergent storytelling offered by Helldivers 2's co-op sci-fi action. Missions in the third-person shooter are procedurally generated, ensuring that each deployment has the opportunity to feel fresh and unique. What's more, Helldivers 2's open-ended physics engine offers plenty of chances for weird and wacky things to occur. Not unlike a solid game of Dungeons & Dragons, Helldivers 2 manages to have an almost improvisational quality. 

The game director fondly reminisced about one such moment with his team where he hit a ragdoll with a heavy anti-tank weapon, causing it to fly off into the sky. "We're going to be able to retell that over and over when we're having beers."

This is, in part, thanks to the varied weapon design on offer in Helldivers 2. "We tried to be authentic at least, if not realistic, and celebrate the differences in the weapon systems, in the ways that things can unfold," offered Pilestedt. 

"We believe that when we do that, things will inevitably turn cinematic, and they will turn immersive, rather than locking that behind a cutscene. Let the player do the action, and you'll see what happens."

In other wholesome Pilestedt news, the CEO has come out against petty video game squabbles, urging fans not to spark a "rivalry" with the Halo games and, instead, to "just let gamers love and enjoy both." 

We think that Helldivers 2 is one of the best co-op games out there, but, if you're looking for a change of pace, try our list of the best single-player games, instead.

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