Helldivers 2 Sparks Unexpected Popularity Boost for Starship Troopers

The popularity of the video game Helldivers 2 has sparked renewed interest in the 1997 sci-fi film Starship Troopers. It is clear as day that Helldivers 2 was inspired by the book Starship Troopers. I love the book and would say Helldivers 2 is far more faithful to its inspiration than the movie was, but it seems more people are learning that same thing.

Discussions about Starship Troopers have been on the rise across social media platforms, experiencing a significant increase in online activity. According to an interview with PC Gamer and the CEO of Arrowhead Studios, it’s estimated that the increase has been 3,000% since the release of Helldivers 2. Johan Pilestedt, the CEO referred to, expressed his happiness. Pilestedt expressed his delight at the film’s resurgence in popularity and even shared a brief online interaction with Casper Van Dien, the actor who played Johnny Rico in Starship Troopers.

Similar pop culture sources inspire both Helldivers 2 and Starship Troopers. They both want to capture the excitement and danger of being thrown into the heart of a large-scale war against an overwhelming enemy force. In Starship Troopers, characters survive the conflict, while Helldivers 2 takes a different approach, emphasizing the high stakes and vulnerability of the soldiers involved.

“There is always this kind of desire and love from us as a studio to be able to put the player into the shoes of those kind of significant pop-culture moments. [we want you to] experience that without the plot armor… There was this one clip of this guy shooting a brood commander, and it just wouldn’t die. And eventually he whips out this pistol lying down on [his] back, and it just dies over him. It’s like, that’s a movie.[a] picture-perfect movie.”

Johan Pilestedt

Unlike the movie Starship Troopers, in the book, the infantry would land from pods. This is exactly like the game, and the enemies and setting are so close to it that I thought it was a Starship Troopers game. The surprising link between a new video game and a classic film shows the ongoing popularity of both works.

While one is an interactive game focused on vulnerability, the other is a satirical movie illustrating the perils of war. However, they both share a common theme in portraying an exciting and potentially deadly battle against an unbeatable enemy.

According to Pilestedt, the team at Arrowhead, who developed Helldivers 2, expressed their satisfaction with player-created videos that depict intense survival scenarios in the game. Pilestedt mentioned that these videos effectively capture the dark satire and underlying danger reminiscent of Starship Troopers, highlighting the constant peril the in-game soldiers face.

I absolutely love memes on Helldivers 2, and I would agree that they capture the silly-seriousness that the book and movie portray. I remember one meme had someone trapped between a bomb and a wall, screaming for help about how they didn’t want to die. The comments were filled with “we didn’t recover the com logs but it was reported that he accepted his fate for freedom. A true example to us all.”

According to the interview, that kind of stuff makes the CEO pretty happy.