They fly now: Helldivers 2 patch stealthily adds flying Shrieker bugs that dive from above to cut you to ribbons

Helldivers 2
(Image credit: u/Litnos on Reddit)

What you need to know

  • Earlier today, Helldivers 2 got a new patch that nerfed Charger and Bile Titan spawn rates while also reducing the amount of health Charger heads have.
  • However, players have discovered an undocumented addition it brought: new flying Shrieker Terminid bugs that dive players from above and attempt to cut them to pieces.
  • Shriekers, like Stalkers, aren't encountered in every mission. You'll only fight them when the map you're on has one of their nests — mushroom-shaped structures similar to Spore Towers — as a destructible side objective.
  • Shriekers are nimble, but have low health, so taking automatic weapons and automated drones and sentries into battle against them is a good idea.

Arrowhead Game Studios' red-hot PvE co-op shooter Helldivers 2 got a new patch today, and overall, it's made the fight against the Terminid bugs a bit easier. While weaker units now swarm players in greater numbers, tanky elite units like Chargers and Bile Titans spawn less frequently, and the former can now even be instantly killed with a rocket launcher shot to the head. In the hours after the update's release, though, players have slowly started to realized that it's not all good news.

You see, while the patch notes made the nerfs to the bugs clear, they failed to mention that there's now a new type of Terminid on — or should I say above? — the battlefield: Shriekers. With high-pitched screeches that give them their name, these large bat-like creatures divebomb players from above and attempt to slash them apart with their razor-sharp talons.

Notably, like Stalkers, Shriekers aren't encountered in every mission. Instead, they appear only when a Shrieker Lair is one of the side objectives on the map you're playing on. These look like smaller versions of the mushroom-like Spore Towers that perpetually keep a large area around them covered in a thick haze, and like Spore Towers, they can be destroyed from afar with explosive support weapons and air/orbital strikes or on-site with a Hellbomb stratagem. You can see what Shriekers and their lairs look like in the embedded clip below:

Oh weird, there are three mushrooms. Oh hello there, Cock Rock. OH SWEET LIBERTY! WHAT ARE THOSE!?? from r/Helldivers

I love that Shriekers were added stealthily and left for fans to find on their own, as they've proven to be quite a fun (and terrifying) surprise for everyone jumping into the game this afternoon. What I honestly love even more, though, is the bit of fun that Arrowhead's CEO Johan Pilestedt is having with the news over on X (Twitter) right now.

"I've heard rumors of flying bugs in @helldivers 2. I want to officially refute such preposterous claims. Everyone knows that 'Bugs can't fly'. And I'm not alone in thinking this," he wrote, fully committing to the bit with a #Lies hashtag. "The Ministry of Truth agrees that this is propaganda from bug sympathizers that want to brainwash good people." Then, in reply to someone trying to debunk a sneaky picture of the Shrieker on Helldivers 2's cover art: "This is a true Patriot."

I don't care what the Ministry of Truth says; they don't know what it's like on the front lines of the Galactic War. I know what I've seen, Pilestedt, and what I've seen are flying bugs. Wake up, sheeple.

The new Terminid unit comes as Helldivers 2's biggest-ever Major Order against the bugs kicks off. (Image credit: PlayStation Studios)

Admittedly, Shriekers don't seem to be as scary as Stalkers are, but even so, finding their nest and taking it out should be your top priority if you encounter them while you're helldivin'. And encounter them you will, because right now, the latest Major Order is directing everyone to liberate the four planets in the Umlaut Sector from the bugs. We've only got a week to do it, and it's going to be an uphill battle — but we'll get to use the galaxy's deadliest bug spray if we succeed. Also, don't forget we have new Exosuit mechs at our disposal thanks to our efforts on Tien Kwan and the Automaton front last week.

It's too early to say what the best weapons or best stratagems to use against the Shriekers are, but rapid-fire firearms and automated drones and sentries seem like a safe bet. That means automatics like the Liberator rifle and Stalwart machine gun, as well as the Gatling Sentry and the Guard Dog/Guard Dog Rover.

Helldivers 2 is available now for $39.99 on both PS5 and PC, and so far, it's one of the best PC games of the year. Notably, the game also supports cross-platform play between PS5 and PC.

Helldivers 2 — $39.99 at GMG (Steam)

Helldivers 2 — $39.99 at GMG (Steam)

Battle aliens, robots, and other beasts in humanity's quest to spread democracy through an unforgiving galaxy. It's 4-player co-op at its absolute best, and its most refined.

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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.