Helldivers 2 creative director explains that the team ‘really applied’ themselves to keep the game from being pay-to-win

In-game screenshot of Helldivers 2
(Image credit: Sony/PlayStation)

Johan Pilestedt, the CEO of Arrowhead Game Studios and creative director of Helldivers 2, has made some interesting comments about their approach to monetization.

In a recent Twitter thread highlighted by PCGamesN, Pilestedt responded to a post that mentions some complaints that the title could be considered ‘pay-to-win’. 

If you’re currently out of the loop, Helldivers 2 is a third-person shooter that was released on February 8, 2024, for the PlayStation 5 and PC. Set in a sci-fi future in which hyper-patriotic space marines battle to defeat alien forces across the galaxy, you drop down onto large planets either alone or with a team of friends to complete challenging objectives while fending off hordes of enemies.

Successfully completing some additional objectives awards Super Credits to spend on arsenal upgrades, weapons, armor, and more. These Super Credits can also be bought outright with real-world money, however, which has naturally led some players to argue that particularly wealthy gamers could spend in order to give themselves an advantage.

“I’m partial but we really applied ourselves to not make [Helldivers 2 pay-to-win] even though items are functionally different,” Pilestedt said in his response. “The only item that’s [pay-to-win] is the revolver - which will win you any ‘cool gun’ competition.”

Later in the same thread, he goes on to outline his personal philosophy regarding monetization. "'You have to earn the right to monetize’ I truly believe that," he explained. “If people want to support this title they have an option, but we are never forcing anyone to do so.”

This seems like quite a reasonable approach to monetization, especially when you compare the cost of items in Helldivers 2 to those in a game like Foamstars - another recent third-person shooter available on PlayStation 5 and PlayStation 4. 

Certain cosmetic packs in Foamstars can cost up to $44.99 / £36.99, which is actually slightly more than the $39.99 / £49.99 retail price of the entire Helldivers 2 game. Even so, it is still early days for Helldivers 2 and only time will tell how the presence of any kind of monetization will affect its ability to keep players engaged in the long run.

For some other games like Helldivers 2, see our guides to the best multiplayer PC games or the best PS5 games.

Dashiell Wood
Hardware Writer

Dash is TechRadar Gaming's Hardware Writer. Before joining TechRadar, he was a print journalist writing articles for some of the UK's biggest gaming magazines including PLAY, Edge, PC Gamer, and SFX. Now, when he's not getting his greasy little mitts on the newest hardware or gaming gadget, he can be found feverishly devouring the latest Nintendo Switch otome.