Helldivers 2 still delisted in 177 countries despite Sony's PSN U-turn, but Arrowhead's fighting the region lock: "I won't rest in my desire to have it available everywhere"

Helldivers 2
(Image credit: PlayStation Studios)

What you need to know

  • Helldivers 2 players on Steam recently review bombed the game to protest publisher Sony's plan to force PC users to link their Steam account to a PlayStation Network (PSN) one.
  • If this requirement was implemented, it would have locked players who bought the game in non-PSN territories from being able to access the co-op shooter.
  • Sony axed this plan on Sunday, but not before delisting Helldivers 2 from sale in 177 regions where PSN isn't supported on Saturday. In those countries, the game still hasn't been made available to buy again.
  • CEO of Helldivers 2 developer Arrowhead, Johan Pilestedt, has confirmed that he's speaking directly with Sony and Valve and fighting to get the game sold in these regions once again: "I won't rest in my desire to have it available everywhere."

Though Helldivers 2 players scored a major victory against publisher Sony earlier this week when it retracted its decision to force PC users to sign up for the PlayStation Network (PSN), the PlayStation firm still hasn't reversed its move to delist the co-op shooter from Steam in 177 countries where PSN isn't available. Though fans in those regions can now play the game if they purchased it previously, it's unavailable to anyone that currently wants to buy it there.

Sony's call to remove Helldivers 2 from sale in these areas was largely perceived as the company doubling down on its PSN account linking requirement, which is why it was assumed the game would become purchasable again in short order after the company axed its plan to reintroduce that requirement on Sunday. However, that still hasn't happened, and Sony hasn't offered any statements or updates on the matter.

As a result, players are turning to developer Arrowhead Game Studios for answers — answers that the studio unfortunately doesn't have. However, Arrowhead is pushing for Sony to sell Helldivers 2 in these regions, with CEO Johan Pilestedt confirming in the official Helldivers Discord server that he's directly speaking with the publisher as well as Steam developer Valve:

Arrowhead CEO Johan Pilestedt confirming he's speaking to Sony and Valve about getting Helldivers 2 back up for sale in non-PSN countries. (Image credit: Windows Central)

"Sorry no, I'm speaking to our partners at Playstation and Valve and pushing for it to be undone," he wrote in reply to a fan asking for an update on the availability issue. "Getting the account linking [reversed] took a herculean effort — but I won't rest in my desire to have it available everywhere."

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A "herculean effort" is certainly a good way to describe the review bombing uproar that Sony's initial decision led to, as it would have locked players located in non-PSN areas who bought the game from being able to play it. Over 200,000 negative reviews were posted to the Helldivers 2 Steam page in just four days; the protest plummeted the game's recent review score into "Overwhelmingly Negative" territory and its overall score down to "Mixed" (previously, they were both very positive), and it was such a landmark moment that Arrowhead may be memorializing it in-game with a cape design based on Sony's blunder (the studio was on the player base's side throughout the ordeal).

Since the publisher reversed the planned PSN account linking requirement, players have coordinated to flip their reviews positive once more, with the r/Helldivers community on Reddit even calling this process "Operation Clean Up" and treating it like a Major Order in Helldivers 2's Galactic War metagame. Consequently, the game's lifetime score has risen back up to "Mostly Positive" — but some are still leaving their negative reviews up until Helldivers 2 is once again made available in non-PSN territories.

"Dont ask me to change it, I WILL once the country delisting has been officially addressed," writes Steam user Foxtrot39 in their negative review. "That's a promise."

Analysis: Why is Sony dragging its feet?

A Helldiver wearing armor from the Democratic Detonation Warbond released in April. (Image credit: PlayStation Studios)

I'll be blunt: what Sony is doing here is incredibly dumb, and frankly, it makes zero sense. I can't think of a single reason why putting Helldivers 2 back up for sale in countries where PSN isn't supported would be a bad thing since the PSN requirement itself has been cancelled, and by keeping it down, I'm sure there's plenty of money on the table the publisher is losing out on. After all, Helldivers 2 is one of 2024's biggest and best PC games, and currently holds a third place position on Steam's Top Sellers chart three months after its February launch.

The takedown also seems like the type of thing that should only take a few simple button presses to reverse — and if it's not, then Sony should communicate that through official channels to let potential players know the game will once again be made available in their country as soon as possible. Due to the firm's silence, though, neither customers nor Arrowhead developers know what's going on.

The silver lining here is that Arrowhead is at least pushing to get some answers from Sony, so hopefully we'll have them soon. Until they come, I and every other Helldiver in the Super Earth Armed Forces will remain hopeful that Helldivers 2 will be sold in these regions once again. We dive together or not at all.

Helldivers 2 — $39.99 at GMG (Steam)

Helldivers 2 — $39.99 at GMG (Steam)

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Brendan Lowry

Brendan Lowry is a Windows Central writer and Oakland University graduate with a burning passion for video games, of which he's been an avid fan since childhood. You'll find him doing reviews, editorials, and general coverage on everything Xbox and PC. Follow him on Twitter.

  • fdruid
    It's done, they killed the game. This is how you lose good will and a playerbase which is so hard to earn in this competitive industry.

    And no, he won't care about the countries that suddenly can't play it, and he will rest and sleep perfectly because he's a liar.