Helldivers II is the Starship Troopers Game We’ve Always Wanted

The only good is a dead bug.

by Drew Kopp
Image: Arrowhead Game Studios AB

The PlayStation Showcase came out swinging with a gloriously gory preview of Helldiver II, the sequel to 2015’s Helldiver. Much like its predecessor, Helldriver II is an ultra-violent multiplayer cooperative shooter that burrows more than a few elements from the cult-classic 1997 film adaption of Robert A. Heilein’s dystopian military science-fiction novel Starship Troopers. Here’s why Helldiver II is the Starship Troopers game we’ve been waiting for.

Helldiver II’s Trailer is a Shameless Starship Troopers Tribute

Image: Arrowhead Game Studios AB

The original Helldivers didn’t hide that it was influenced by Paul Verhoeven’s cinematic adaption of Starship Troopers. Set in the far future, the universe of Helldivers is one where humanity has been united under the banner of the totalitarian Federation of Super Earth. This “managed democracy” keeps the population of Earth and various colonized worlds in line through propaganda and political suppression. As members of the titular military unit, Hellriders players were tasked with “protecting humanity’s freedom” by waging war on various alien races and plundering their worlds’ resources.

Nearly every aspect of Helldivers’ dystopian vision of humanity’s future is burrowed from the film version of Starship Troopers. While the novel presents the fascistic world government that replaced the “inefficient” democracies that preceded it as a force of justice and stability, the movie paints the United Citizen Federation as a brutal dictatorship that only grants fundamental human rights to those who serve in its military. Borrowing visual elements from propaganda films like Triumph of the Will, Starship Troopers ruthlessly satirizes fascism with the same cinematic tactics often used to glorify it.

While Helldivers II trades the original’s top-down perspective for an over-the-shoulder third-person view, the series’ satirical tone hasn’t changed. Juxtaposing a cliche-ridden narration that espouses the inherent glory of defending the Federation of Super Earth’s “democratic” way of life against gameplay footage of Helldiver troopers ruthlessly cutting down scores of extraterrestrial arthropods with advanced weaponry, Helldrivers II’s trailer does an excellent job setting the tone for this grim parody of military space shooters.

Helldivers II is set to release on the PlayStation 5 and PC sometime later this year. As of the time of writing, an exact date specific date has not been provided.

- This article was updated on May 24th, 2023

About The Author

Drew Kopp has been a writer at Attack of the Fanboy for three months and has covered Sons of the Forest, Pokemon, and developments in the entertainment industry. He has a Bachelor's in Creative Writing and loves writing about indie games and celebrity gossip. When he isn't writing, he can be found reading fantasy books or rocking out as Bard in Dungeons & Dragons.