Uh oh: Helldivers 2 players glimpse cloaked warships over Automaton planets, and Liberty only knows what they’ll bring to bear against us

Helldivers 2
(Image credit: u/Firestorm_361 on Reddit)

What you need to know

  • In the aftermath of a historic victory against the Automatons on Malevelon Creek, Helldivers 2 players have begun to spot mysterious cloaked warships in orbit above bot-controlled planets.
  • Various screenshots of the vessels are shown or linked to below. Notably, they're very hard to spot unless they're visible against a bright backdrop, such as ones created by distant planets or asteroid belts.
  • These ships have a distinct silhouette and shape unlike anything in the game currently, including player-owned Super Destroyer vessels.
  • Some players suspect these are the new gunships Super Earth High Command recently revealed that the Automatons are building, but to me, they're too big to be those. I think they might be troop transports that'll bring about a resurgence of fierce bot attacks, though the presence of cloaking technology means this could be a teaser for the Illuminate faction as well.

Super Earth's elite space marines may be riding the high of a historic victory at Malevelon Creek right now, but here's something to sober you up: in the hours following the Automatons' defeat at "Space Vietnam," Helldivers 2 players have begun to report sightings of what appear to be colossal cloaked warships ominously hanging in orbit over the bot-controlled planets that still remain in the Severin Sector.

The community first became aware of these mysterious vessels on Monday afternoon after u/infinity__cube posted several screenshots of the ships on the Helldivers subreddit. Though they're quite difficult to make out in most of them — their cloaking blends them in with the sky and clouds alarmingly well — their silhouettes become much easier to spot whenever they're viewed against the backdrop of something bright like a distant planet or an asteroid belt. Images from players u/Firestorm_361 and u/Spartas72 show them clearly (Firestorm's picture is the header image of this article).

My first thought was that these might just be Helldiver Super Destroyers being rendered oddly due to a glitch, but that fin-shaped bit near each craft's stern is particularly distinct, and the rest of their contour doesn't match that of Liberty's iconic battleship, either. They also appear to be significantly bigger than Super Destroyers, too, so I doubt what's going on here is just a bug or something. And while today is April Fools' Day, I'm not convinced this is just a joke from the devs, as Helldivers 2 has done stealthy in-game teasers like this before with Exosuit mechs.

Cloaked massive ships over Automaton worlds. from r/Helldivers

Some players suspect that these are new Automaton gunships; Super Earth High Command recently informed Helldivers that the bots were broadcasting blueprints for these to an unknown location beyond the galaxy map's borders. To me, though, these seem far too large to be those, as they're massive cruiser-sized vessels that call Star Wars' Imperial Star Destroyers to mind. What seems more likely is that these are troop transports carrying tons of these gunships and various other kinds of bot reinforcements — reinforcements we'll likely have to deal with once we hold off the first wave of the Automatons' ongoing counterattack (if we do).

Another possibility is that these ships are actually the Illuminate's, and that the third faction from the original Helldivers is waiting for the Automatons to soften us up a bit more before it makes its explosive return to the galactic battlefields. Players were reporting mysterious blue laser beam attacks last month, after all, and the Illuminate used cloaking devices for its units in the first game. Admittedly, it'd be surprising if we got an entirely new enemy faction just two months after Helldivers 2's launch, but maybe this is just a very early teaser of what's to come later this year.

Whatever they are, I'm expecting the Ministry of Truth and developer Arrowhead's CEO Johan Pilestedt to tell us that the cloaked spaceships aren't real and that they can't hurt you. They did it for the new flying Shrieker Terminid bugs and they did it for the blue laser sightings, too, so it'll probably happen again during this developing situation as well. I don't care what they say, though — they're not on the frontlines like the Helldivers are. I know what I've seen!

One of the cloaked ships can be seen in front of the asteroid belt in this screenshot. (Image credit: u/Spartas72 on Reddit)

Whenever these warships and their occupants do enter the fray, it'll surely lead to some complex and challenging Major Orders. Players have failed a few of these recently, and one of the big reasons why seems to be a lack of awareness of the supply lines mechanic; luckily, Arrowhead has confirmed it's "talking about making this more clear," so hopefully some much-needed in-game visualizations of them come sooner rather than later.

At least Super Earth is keeping her troops well-equipped. Recently, two new support weapon stratagems rolled off the assembly line, including a Heavy Machine Gun with high damage and armor penetration but lots of recoil and a Quasar Cannon that's essentially a rocket launcher with infinite ammo, but a lengthy charge up time. Don't forget about all those snazzy energy and arc weapons in the new Cutting Edge Warbond, too.

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)

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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.