Image via Arrowhead Studios

What Helldivers content is missing from Helldivers 2?

The xenos won't know what hit 'em.

Helldivers 2 quickly made a name for itself as one of the most notable new live-service offerings, but it’s all too easy to forget that it didn’t spring out of nothing. The original Helldivers, too, was pretty darn awesome, and some of its content may yet arrive in the sequel!

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Now, right off the bat, it’s important to keep in mind that not only does Helldivers 2 take place roughly a century after Helldivers, but the sequel also effectively reimagines many of the original title’s weapons in a more up-to-date format. Case in point: the Liberator family of bull-pup carbines and rifles. The original game’s AR-19 has been effectively phased out in lieu of the more modern AR-23, which plainly suggests that Super Earth has moved on from the older design.

Similarly, though the MP-98 Knight has transferred over from Helldivers to Helldivers 2, it’s an entirely different firearm that only has the same name as the original. To that end, our list of Helldivers content that may eventually be released in Helldivers 2 doesn’t touch upon returning items, their obvious substitutions, and stuff that’s been entirely superseded by newer gear. Instead, we’re looking at untouched niches and content categories, as that’s what we think makes the most sense for Arrowhead Studios to remake as Helldivers 2 goes on!

Helldivers together in Helldivers 2.
Image via Arrowhead.

Helldivers Stratagems, weapons, and factions that may return in Helldivers 2

As there’s a lot of ground to cover here, we’ve given the most amount of attention to the most meaningful and game-changing chunks of Helldivers. The potential introduction of the first game’s third faction, for example, would be a huge deal for Helldivers 2. The re-release of an old fan-favorite weapon is, obviously, far less important.

Helldivers 2 patch adds AFK kick timer
Image via Arrowhead.

The Illuminate faction

Helldivers veterans have known from day one that one major force on the galactic warfront is missing from Helldivers 2: the Illuminate. These extraterrestrials were a huge thorn in the Super Earth’s eye from day one, and they appear to have been pushed back for their technology during the events of the original Helldivers. It’s almost guaranteed that Arrowhead will end up introducing the Illuminate into Helldivers 2 at some point in time, and doing so via an organic war effort event, as shown with the game’s introduction of Mechs, would be a phenomenal choice.

Screenshot by Destructoid

Old Stratagems

It is practically guaranteed that Arrowhead Studios already has a huge expansion in mind for Helldivers 2’s already remarkable roster of Stratagems. While we’re positive some of the future Stratagem releases will introduce all-new gear into the mix, the first Helldivers is bound to be a key source of inspiration for the developer as well. Here are some of the key Helldivers Stratagems that are missing from Helldivers 2 at this time:

As was the case some content that did make the transition from Helldivers to Helldivers 2, many of these items may be renamed, repurposed, and/or simply upgraded to better fit into the new meta, but we fully expect all of these niches to fill out as time goes on.

mech in helldivers 2
Image via Arrowhead Game Studios

Classic vehicles

As Helldivers veterans will know, driveable mecha are just the tip of Super Earth’s mechanized spear. The original game played host to not just a wide variety of mech variants, but also a dedicated suite of troop transports and other assorted vehicles, and we’re positive at least some of them will make their way into Helldivers 2 proper. Here are some of the ones we think will be usable sometime down the line:

Each of these vehicles gives Helldiver troops an opportunity to respond to a specific type of enemy encounter, and having them all available would massively improve the players’ flexibility in tackling foes however they see fit.

A screenshot of Helldivers 2's custom-built slug shotgun weapon, one of the late-tier Veterans warbond rewards.
Screenshot by Destructoid

Returning weapons and gadgets

In truth, weapons are the one area of Helldivers 2 where we expect to see the least crossover with the original game. The new title’s upgraded graphics and mechanics lend themselves to a far more in-depth depiction of small arms combat, and Arrowhead has already shown that it will either adapt old armaments into something altogether different or provide in-universe modernizations that fill the same niche. Still, there are some highlights we believe will end up coming to Helldivers 2 in some shape or form:

As shown with the Cutting Edge Warbond, Arrowhead is already looking to bring back some of the first Helldivers’ most interesting weapons in an upgraded form. The new Warbond’s LAS-16 Sickle, for example, is an up-to-date variant of the old LAS-16 carbine, and the SG-80 Plasma Punisher may end up serving the same niche as the PLAS-1 Scorcher in some ways. It’d be strange not to see many of the weapons we highlighted above making a return as well.

Image via Arrowhead Studios

Key progression features and gameplay options

Finally, this is where we’d like to take a look at two key facts concerning Helldivers and Helldivers 2. Firstly, some of Helldivers’ key features – such as weapon and Stratagem upgrades – are still nowhere to be found in the sequel. Secondly, you only need to look around your Helldivers 2 Destroyer vessel to see there are a number of workbenches and consoles you cannot currently interact with. Take, for example, the consoles opposite to the armory module of the Destroyer: they’re perfectly positioned to be interacted with, and there are four of them – one for every Helldiver in a full fireteam.

With this in mind, we’re absolutely positive Arrowhead Studios is looking to substantially expand the gameplay features and customization available in Helldivers 2. Some of the features that may make an appearance are the following:

The first two features are, admittedly, just theorycrafting based on off-hand comments from the Arrowhead CEO, but the original Helldivers did allow players to upgrade their gear and Stratagems. Stratagem upgrades have, granted, been partially superseded by Destroyer upgrades, which afford passive bonuses across the board, so that’s not necessarily a given.

As for Faction boss encounters, the first game featured massive worm burrowers as the pinnacle of Terminid/Bug combat and huge biomechanical monstrosities on the Cyborg side of the equation. Arrowhead is bound to up the ante as the war effort goes on, so we do expect to see some truly massive monsters down the line.

We do not think the first game’s Perk system will return, however, simply because the new Booster system is positioned to fulfill the same niche with a bit more bite.

That about covers all the key Helldivers features we believe we’ll see over the course of Helldivers 2’s life cycle!


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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.