Democracy wins: Sony overturns Helldivers 2 PSN requirement after immense backlash

Jeremy Gan
Helldivers 2 splash art

Sony has backtracked on Helldivers 2’s mandatory PlayStation Network account linking requirements as the controversy led to review-bombing and its delisting from Steam in more than 170 countries. 

On May 3, Helldivers 2’s devs Arrowhead announced that Steam players would be required to connect to a PlayStation Network account as part of a new security measure, which quickly led to major controversy

As a result, the game was soon delisted from 177 countries on Steam as the regions did not have PSN support, while over 100,000 active players flooded its store page with scathing reviews. All the while, the game’s Director Johan Pilestedt admitted he had no “final say” in the matter

Sony has now responded to the immense backlash, retracting its requirement once and for all.

“Helldivers fans – we’ve heard your feedback on the Helldivers 2 account linking update,” Sony tweeted. “The May 6 update, which would have required Steam and PlayStation Network account linking for new players and for current players beginning May 30, will not be moving forward.”

Players went on to celebrate in the comment section, with many rejoicing on behalf of Arrowhead, but criticizing Sony for making the decision in the first place.

“While this is a victory for the players you’ve left a lasting stain on your brand as a publisher,” Twitch streamer Pirate Software commented on Sony’s tweet. “Many people have very little reason to trust Sony going forward.”

“Maybe next time listen to [the] devs. Clearly, Arrowhead is in tune with gamers,” another player said in response to Sony. Throughout the controversy, it was revealed Arrowhead internally was against the change, with the game’s community manager revealing that reactions within the camp were “universally negative”.

However, as Palworld’s community manager pointed out, it will still have to be seen how the onslaught of negative Steam reviews Helldivers got during the controversy will affect the game’s status.

Helldivers 2 Director and Arrowhead CEO Johan Pilestedt took the time to address PlayStation’s decision. Speaking directly to both Helldivers 2 players and the game’s publisher, he made sure to praise both.

“Firstly, I am impressed by the willpower of the Helldivers 2 community and your ability to collaborate. Secondly, I want to thank our partners and friends at PlayStation for quickly and effectively making the decision to leave PSN linking optional,” Pilestedt put forward. “We together want to set a new standard for what a live game is, and how developers and community can support each other to create the best game experiences.”

As of writing, Helldivers 2 is still sitting at an overwhelmingly negative rating based on recent reviews while at a mixed rating overall. Though many have already begun urging fellow fans to delete or update their reviews in light of the pivot from Sony and Pilestedt’s followup.