Helldivers 2 dev says melee weapons are a 'plausible' addition but they won't be Star Wars lightsabers: 'we don't want to be Fortnite'


Helldivers 2 has emerged as one of the year's standout titles, not least because it's been supported post-launch in a highly unusual fashion. The distinctive element is that developer Arrowhead clearly prepared to go full-bore on the game's promise of an unfolding galactic war by having a whole bunch of significant additions and assets ready to go.

These are sometimes deployed 'secretly' into the game for certain players to discover before appearing for everyone, while sometimes their arrival is more expected, but the effect is that a fairly straightforward third-person shooting game (not a criticism) has and continues to show the capacity to surprise. Since launch Helldivers 2 has added enormous pilotable mechs (after their factories were liberated, of course), various new weapons, and of course the flying bugs that definitely didn't exist. Next? Who knows, but one thing is a widespread ask among players: melee weapons.

Helldivers 2 does have a melee attack and, though it can be useful against bugs in particular, it's more of a last resort than a major offensive element. But there are melee weapons visible in some of the promotional art, the original Helldivers included rifles with bayonets alongside energised sabers, and so over on the official Discord some players have been putting the question to Arrowhead (thanks, GR+). What's going on?

Community manager Twinbeard responded to the query. "What happened? Well, it's been a month, not a year [since devs mentioned melee]. It might still happen. As you know, we've been fairly busy the past month. Melee is still branded 'plausible'."

Obviously democracy hath no truer expression than a giant hammer but, when responding to another question about potential crossovers, Arrowhead made it clear that players won't be spinning around like Yoda.

"We look at them with interest but also with a very large respect for the game fantasy and lore," says Twinbeard. "As a couple of examples: Melee weapons could be plausible in Helldivers. Lightsabers from Star Wars would not. A Helldiver finding a remnant, artefact or a letter from someone from another game/cultural universe is plausible. Mickey Mouse writing a Helldiver would not [...] We don't want to be Kingdom Hearts or Fortnite."

Helldivers 2's weapons are what you could call grounded sci-fi: assault rifles, shotguns, lasers, flamethrowers and so on. So were the game to go down the melee route I'd expect it to be things like clubs, swords and bayonets rather than spinning chainsaws and gravity hammers. The major factor in whether Arrowhead does it or not will surely be whether they fit the game's style, because Helldivers 2 is a game where, when you're swarmed, you're largely screwed. A weapon that needs the player to get up-close with enemies that can basically kill you in an instant may not be the fantasy that some players think.

It does seem likely we'll at least get more melee options in the future, particularly given the previous game did include some, but for now we'll have to content ourselves with Twinbeard's "might still happen" and "plausible". Lest you doubt the commitment some have, there's one maniac who's just been bludgeoning hundreds of bugs to death for the past month, and says "I won't stop till I'm given a melee weapon". I suppose, in the hyper charged democracy of Super Earth, that's what passes for peaceful protest.