Helldivers 2’s CEO demotes himself as player count drops by 20,000

Helldivers 2 artwork
Helldivers 2 artwork
Helldivers 2 – Managed Democracy Takes a Blow (Sony Interactive Entertainment)

Big changes are in store for Helldivers 2 and Arrowhead Studios, as the CEO demotes himself while tens of thousands of players leave the game.

While Helldivers 2 took the gaming world by storm upon launch in February and became one of the most played games on PC, player numbers for the live service shooter have recently started to decline at an alarming rate.

According to SteamDB, Helldivers 2 now has 20,000 fewer players on PC this week than the week before, just as Arrowhead Studios CEO and Helldivers 2 creative director Johan Pilestedt announced he will demote himself to Chief Creative Officer.

This move was made so that Pilestedt can work more closely with the game’s developers, which fans have seen as a positive decision.

In a tweet, Pilestedt said, “I have decided to hire Shams Jorjani as the new CEO of ArrowheadGS! We go way back and I wouldn’t trust the company in any hands but his. (…and he comes with an impressive resume and love for games)

“I’m taking on the role of Chief Creative Officer, which means I will spend MORE time on the team and 100% of my focus on the games and the community!”

Pilestedt elaborated in an interview with Gamesindustry.biz, where he said:

‘I realized that running an organization of more than a hundred people, no matter how big it becomes… it means that I will also [have to choose] between deepening my love for making games, or the business path.’

Shams Jorjani is the new CEO of Arrowhead Studios (Twitter)
Shams Jorjani is the new CEO of Arrowhead Studios (Twitter)

While Helldivers 2 has been a huge success, it certainly hasn’t been an easy ride, as both the studio and publisher Sony were heavily criticized when the latter required all players to log into a PlayStation Network (PSN) account to play the game.

Sony eventually backtracked, but not before Helldivers 2 fans reviewed the game and Sony delisted the game from 177 countries that didn’t have easy access to PSN.

Helldivers 2 is now only the 31st most played game on Steam, having previously always been in the top 10, and it’s not entirely clear why it’s suddenly started to drop considering the PSN scandal is now mostly over.

Another possible reason for player numbers dropping is criticism from fans that too many weapons have been nerfed in recent updates, something Pilestedt agreed with.

YouTube poster

Pilestedt is a popular figure in the Helldivers 2 community and fans are thrilled with the news that his work will bring him closer to the game in the future.

Fans have praised his decision to demote himself, with many comparing it to Sargeant Zim in Starship Troopers – a film that Helldivers 2 is heavily influenced by – asking to be demoted so he could see the battle.

Pilestedt also revealed some of Arrowhead Studios’ future plans and ambitions, telling Gamesindustry.biz in the same interview:

“We have to see what the future holds, but there is nothing in the plans where we want to be taken over by anyone.”

‘I want to see how high we can fly. And bring [new CEO] Shine [Jorjani] on board we have good potential to realize that future of the next From Software or Blizzard.’

Johan Pilestedt demotes himself to Chief Creative Officer (Nordic Game)
Johan Pilestedt demotes himself to Chief Creative Officer (Nordic Game)

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