Ex Halo devs speak out on alleged Helldivers 2-style ODST game pitch

Brad Norton
Halo ODST cover next to Helldivers 2 gameplay

Former Halo developers have spoken up amid the shocking surge in popularity of Helldivers 2. They claim to have pitched dozens of ideas to no avail, with one being an ODST title in the same vein as the latest PlayStation smash hit.

There’s no two ways about it, Helldivers 2 has skyrocketed well above anyone’s expectations. With hundreds of thousands of players jumping in all at once, devs have been rushing to expand server capacity and accommodate the rapidly growing fanbase.

Evidently, not even those in the studio or at Sony predicted such a monumental rate of engagement for a sequel nearly a decade in the making. Its popularity is so widespread even Xbox owners are petitioning for a port, including Phil Spencer himself.

Given its impact on the industry, many have been outspoken in recent days. With its clear similarities to Microsoft’s Halo franchise, especially the ODST installment with its near-identical hot drop sequences, it’s attracted the attention of former Halo devs too.

One particular tweet caught fire on February 18, as one player claimed to learn of a Helldivers-inspired pitch from 343 Industries, one leaning heavily into the ODST label, putting players back in the armor of Orbital Drop Shock Troopers.

This post quickly garnered over a million impressions on the platform before it caught the eye of former Halo devs with experience working under the 343 banners.

While one simply replied with an eyes emoji, refusing to elaborate, Ex Lead Designer Kevin Schmitt chimed in with some proper insight. During his nearly 12-year tenure, Schmitt claimed to have pitched “20-30 game ideas that would have totally worked in the Halo universe.”

“Many [singleplayer] & [multiplayer] ODST-themed ones. Some galaxy-spanning, some more intimate…and one that was really dark.”

So while not explicitly confirming the Helldivers-esque pitch, there’s every chance it was among the few dozen Schmitt and others at 343 were eager to get across the line.

For now, Halo fans simply have to imagine a world where ODST got a little more love. It’s been 15 years since Xbox owners dropped into combat ODST-style, but all this time later, it may now be Helldivers 2 delivering the “perfect” experience in that regard.