hugging in helldivers 2
Screenshot by Destructoid

The Helldivers 2 hug exploit sends a positive message for those who may just need one

We all need a hug sometimes, even if it's virtual.

There’s no denying that Helldivers 2 is a great game to play if you need a few laughs. Especially if you’re playing with a group of friends. The screams as fellow players are swarmed by Terminids or crushed by Stratagems have had me crumpled up on the floor like a Helldiver with every bone in their body broken from laughing too hard.

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While it’s probably an unintended bug, the Helldivers 2 hug exploit has emerged as something that I think gives players a lovely little in-game boost but also a mental boost in real life. As far as bugs go, it might just be the healthiest a community could have discovered.

How the Helldivers 2 hug exploit works

helldivers 2 exclusivity
Image via Arrowhead Game Studios

So how does this bug work? Well, a player wearing the game’s Shield Generator pack must hug a fellow Helldiver just as a 500 KG Bomb drops on their position. Yes, the Shield Generator has to be live, protecting the player, for this to work. During the hug emote animation, both players become immune to the explosion.

This means it’s possible to kill a swarm of Terminids that’s surrounding you by calling in one of those big old explosives and holding your teammate tight while it decimates everything outside of the shield radius.

Why the Helldivers 2 hug exploit matters (not for the meta)

Helldivers 2 How to kill a Tank
Screenshot by Destructoid

During the COVID-19 pandemic, games were a lifeline to so many of us. We used the digital and online worlds they provide as places to escape to and interact with others within, be they real or fictional characters.

Life changed irrevocably during that time, and the world hasn’t recovered. More than ever, it’s safer to share how you’re feeling with others, friends, and strangers. In fact, I’d say it’s encouraged so that we all know there’s no need to go through the toughest times alone.

The reason the hug exploit matters in Helldivers 2 is that it’s a tangible way to connect with friends or just other players in a community you love. Yes, it’s a silly way of avoiding instant death by explosives, Terminids, or Automatons, but it’s also a way to open up the lines of communication to say, “I’m struggling.”

Society encourages us to be busy and say that we’re fine, that we’re burdening others if we reveal how we’re truly feeling. But that’s rubbish. Our friends want to know how we’re really feeling, and they can see it in your eyes when you lie. Even strangers you’re blasting bugs alongside will know something’s not right if you’re suspiciously quiet when returning after a glorious victory for democracy.

A hug can go a long way, whether it’s digital or physical. But it’s also a two-way street. Just as you need to be open to hugging others and telling them how you’re really doing, you need to be open to hearing from others.

two helldivers hugging in helldivers 2
Screenshot by Destructoid

There’s a reason so many people have stories about having met their significant other in a Discord server or chat lobby in an MMO. We find it easier to bear our souls to strangers because we’re freed of the judgment we fear in our friend’s eyes. While I’d say they’re not true friends if they judge you, I also have close friends I’ve only ever met online, and I’ve told them things I’m yet to tell friends I’ve known since I was in school.

Sometimes, though, you physically can’t bring yourself to say a single word. That’s okay, we’ve all been there. We know how we feel, but if we acknowledge it, it’ll break us. That’s why hugs like this one are so important. They’re like an accidental hug when someone is saying goodbye or hello.

They can be awkward in the moment, but you feel so much better for them once that first hug is over. You feel freer to speak and chat and maybe delve into how you’re actually feeling.

Hugs aren’t for everyone, but they’re certainly for the Helldivers 2 community right now. Don’t deny yourself this tiny interaction with another soul somewhere out there in the world. Helldivers 2 is a safe space, and I bet you’ll be surprised by the kind of conversations you can have while playing.

After all, the game has a meta loadout, but the most common message from every single player is to use what you want. Don’t forget to be who you are as well. It’s part of your build.


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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.