Helldivers 2 developer gets new CEO and plans to remain an independent studio

Helldivers 2 developer Arrowhead has a new CEO.

Earlier today, it was announced that Shams Jorjani – who was previously part of the team that published Arrowhead’s game Magicka – will take over the leadership role at the company, replacing founder Johan Pilestedt.

Pilestedt will continue in a leadership position following this change and will now serve as Chief Creative Officer and Chairman of Arrowhead.

Helldivers 2 – Service Trailer Report | PS5 and PC games. Watch on YouTube

“We were both at a stage where we were wondering what’s next in our careers,” Jorjani told Eurogamer’s sister site GamesIndustry.biz today. “And we realized that we probably wouldn’t be able to get all the way to those places if we didn’t have the others to help us get there.”

Pilestedt added, “When it comes to the overall direction of the organization, I’m still the chairman. So me and Shams are still going to have strategic conversations about how we’re going to take Arrowhead into the future.”

The pair compared themselves to Frodo and Sam from Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy heading to Mordor. “The unconscious approach of ‘we’ll take one step at a time, and then we’ll solve the problems as they arise,’” Pilestedt said, adding that “the strength of Arrowhead is the camaraderie we share within the team, and the desire to help each other”.

Elsewhere in the conversation, the duo also discussed possible acquisitions following the huge success of Helldivers 2. For now, the plan is for Arrowhead to remain an independent studio. “I want to see how high we can fly. And by bringing Shams on board, we have good potential to realize that future where we become the next From Software or Blizzard,” said Pilestedt.

While the focus for the team remains on Helldivers 2 for now, Arrowhead is also looking to the future and what could come next.

“We feel like we have so much more to give, and so many more games to make,” Pilestedt said. “The ambition level and appetite of the organization have grown considerably. We now taste blood and want more.”

Jorjani added that Arrowhead’s goal is to “make really great co-op games,” eventually turning the company into a “flagship studio, where people who want to make these types of games say to themselves, ‘I want to work at Arrowhead.’ “.

The newly appointed CEO stated that this does not mean that the studio will suddenly employ more than 500 staff. “We will see growth, but growth as a means to an end, not as an end in itself,” he said. “We have no plans to go public. None of those gimmicks. Measured growth that allows us to make great games and be a good place to work.”

“We don’t run the company for monetary gain. The humility and desire to simply make great games is the only reason we exist,” Pilestedt concluded.

Helldivers 2 screenshot shows a Helldiver defeating a mech enemy on an icy planet

Image credit: Arrow-head

Elsewhere in Arrowhead news, the Helldivers 2 team is considering a “slightly lower” update frequency after a busy first few months.

“We want to take a little more time for this and possibly between future patches,” Helldivers 2 community manager Twinbeard explained on Discord. “We feel that the cadence has probably been a little too high to maintain the quality standard that we want and that you deserve.”

This follows on from Pilestedt’s earlier admission that Helldivers 2’s balancing has sometimes “gone too far.”

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