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Helldivers 2 developer gets new CEO, 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 remain in a leadership position following this change, and will now serve as Arrowhead’s chief creative officer and chairman.


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Helldivers 2 – Report for Duty Trailer | PS5 & PC Games. Watch on YouTube

“We were both at a stage where we’re wondering what’s next in our careers,” Jorjani told Eurogamer’s sister-site GamesIndustry.biz today. “And we realised we probably couldn’t quite get to those places if we didn’t have the other one to help us get there.”

Pilestedt added: “When it comes to the overall direction of the organisation, I am still the chairman. So me and Shams are still going to have strategic conversations on how we are going to take Arrowhead into the future.”

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The pair likened themselves to Frodo and Sam from Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy making their way to Mordor. “The oblivious approach of ‘we’ll take one step at a time, and then we will solve the issues as they come’,” Pilestedt said, adding the “strength of Arrowhead is the camaraderie that we share amongst the team, and the desire to help each other”.

Elsewhere in the conversation, the duo also touched on any potential 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 bringing Shams on board, we have a good potential to realise that future of turning into the next From Software or Blizzard,” Pilestedt said.

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

“We feel there we have so much more to give, and so many more games we want to make,” Pilestedt shared. “The ambition level and appetite of the organisation has grown significantly. We now have a taste of blood, and we want more.”

Jorjani added Arrowhead’s goal is to “make really great co-op games”, and ultimately turn the company into a “flagship studio, where people who want to make these kinds-of games say to themselves: ‘I want to work at Arrowhead'”.

The newly-appointed CEO stated this does not mean the studio will suddenly begin employing 500+ members of staff. “We will see growth, but growth as a means to an ends, not as an end itself,” he said. “We don’t have plans to go public. None of those shenanigans. Measured growth that allows us to make amazing games and be a good place to work.”

“We don’t run the business for monetary gain. The humbleness and the desire to just make great games is the only reason we exist,” Pilestedt closed.


Helldivers 2 screenshot showing a Helldiver defeating a mech enemy on an icy planet
Image credit: Arrowhead

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 some more time for this one and potentially between future patches,” Helldivers 2 community manager Twinbeard explained on Discord. “We feel cadence has probably been a bit too high to be able to maintain the quality standard we want and you deserve.”

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

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