saluting in helldivers 2
Image via PlayStation's YouTube channel

Hundreds of Helldivers 2 players salute fallen comrade in touching memorial

Players are connected regardless of whether they ever met.

Earlier this week, a Helldivers 2 player lost their life in a tragic accident. It’s brought out a touching response from the community that shows how connected it can feel, regardless of whether players have even met or played together.

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I’ve seen a few stories over the years about tributes developers have made to dedicated fans of their games. Be it the Robin Williams tribute in World of Warcraft or the time Bungie gave a weapon to a Destiny 2 player who had overcome tremendous adversity that no one else has gotten to this day. It’s always heartwarming to see a developer notice how important a game is to its fans, but it’s another thing entirely to see the game’s community demonstrate real compassion when someone they’re only connected to through a fictional universe loses their life.

More than multiplayer comrades

Helldivers-2-hug-2
Image via PlayStation’s YouTube channel

On March 27, 2024, Cordell Dunning sadly lost their life in a motorcycle accident. The news was posted by user Affectionate_Ear6472 on the Helldivers 2 subreddit and caused an outpouring of compassion, camaraderie, and respect from 1,000 players and counting. The details, outside of the fact that Dunning served in the US Army, of the post have since been removed to protect Duning’s family and out of respect for those involved.

The thing that struck me about this post, outside of just how sad any human loss of life is, was the GIF being used in almost every one of the over 1,000 comments. The GIF is part of the Helldivers 2 introductory cutscene, a section where we see Helldivers standing together and saluting as a unit.

As Helldviers 2 players, we’ve all been working towards a common goal since the game’s release. It’s simple, we work to liberate the galaxy in the name of Super Earth, and we do that by blowing up aliens. For the majority of us, every player we drop onto a planet with is a soldier in arms. It doesn’t matter who they are, where they come from, or anything else because they’re fighting with us, they’ve got our backs, and they’ll be with us to the end if a 500 KG Bomb drops and we need to use the hug exploit.

helldiver salute with charger helldivers 2
Image via PlayStation’s YouTube channel

These players, myself included, had an immediate response to the news that a fellow player, a fellow soldier, had passed away. We recognize their efforts; we know how much they’ve been through on Malevelon Creek and against the Automatons in general, and feel that shared camaraderie. They might have been another one of those faceless, desperate divers fighting alongside us.

helldivers 2 ceo in reddit comments
Screenshot by Destructoid

Arrowhead Game Studios CEO Johan Pilestedt also commented on the thread, too, with his own touching story of loss: “I am so sorry for your loss. My battle brother of 20 years passed away 3 years ago. To this day, I still see his username on Discord, Steam, and other platforms and fondly remember the many fond gaming memories we shared. I will speak to the team on how to remember one of the fallen.”

It seems as though Dunning could be memorialized with an in-game tribute in Helldivers 2 in the future, giving his friends a way to remember him somewhere they must have had a lot of fun. Any memorial, even just a Dispatch, will be something all players can latch onto to help them pull together in trying times and remind them of what they’re fighting for: each other.


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Author
Jamie Moorcroft-Sharp
Jamie is a Staff Writer on Destructoid who has been playing video games for the better part of the last three decades. He adores indie titles with unique and interesting mechanics and stories, but is also a sucker for big name franchises, especially if they happen to lean into the horror genre.