Helldivers 2’s Illuminates have popped back up in an unexpected way

The blue lasers seem clearer now...

It’s all but certain by now that Helldivers 2 might eventually play host to most, if not all of the original Helldivers‘ content. The Illuminate faction, really, is the biggest cog that’s missing from the machine, but the stage for their return is already set according to the game’s API.

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Notably, while the Automatons are now fielding immensely powerful mobile bot factories and the Terminid bugs have taken to the skies, we’ve heard virtually nothing about the Illuminates so far. If you disregard all the mysterious Helldiver deaths and blue laser attacks, that is. Speculation is, of course, all we’ve got so far, but one of the websites that keeps track of Super Earth’s galactic war effort via the Helldivers 2 API has logged over two dozen dead Illuminates on – wait for it – Super Earth itself. And Cyberstan, too, for that matter, which is very curious indeed.

Helldivers 2 is already counting Illuminate deaths

According to HD2Galaxy, a third-party Helldivers 2 Supply Line website, Super Earth has played host to 16 dead Illuminates so far. Similarly, Cyberstan has got 12 dead Illuminates logged as of early April. There’s no real explanation for this information to speak of, but the mere fact that Illuminate kills are tracked by the game’s API tells us two things:

  • Illuminates are most definitely coming.
  • The developer, Arrowhead, is doing something with the Illuminate faction on the live server.

Note, too, that Helldiver forces have not yet been deployed on either Super Earth or Cyberstan, which means players haven’t yet seen them in action. Virtually anything could be going on there, and Arrowhead may be testing things out in the backend, before the fighting begins proper.

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Since Helldivers 2 places heavy emphasis on reactive, live-action narrative development where players make their choices as they go, one of the explanations for these strange dead Illuminates is that the faction may have sent out offerings of peace to both Cyberstand and Super Earth. Offerings that were refused with extreme prejudice. That, however, is just a theory for the time being, and we’ll need to see how the narrative surrounding the Illuminate develops in the coming months.

We shouldn’t expect Arrowhead to plainly announce the release of a whole new faction in Helldivers 2, note. So far, the developer has been enjoying its ability to stealthily introduce large batches of content to the game in a way that players are first exposed to new enemy units as they deploy onto new operations. It’s a very exciting take on the classic live-service formula, so there’s much that could be done with the Illuminates’ seemingly inevitable arrival to the galactic war front.


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Filip Galekovic
A lifetime gamer and writer, Filip has successfully made a career out of combining the two just in time for the bot-driven AI revolution to come into its own.