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Helldivers 2 Players Losing It Over The Fall Of 'Robot Vietnam'

If you’ve heard of or seen Helldivers 2, a co-op third-person shooter inspired by the movie Starship Troopers, you more than likely caught a glimpse of Malevelon Creek. It’s one of the game’s playable planets, controlled by one of two enemy factions, the automatons. You likely haven’t heard the world’s proper name though, as players have taken instead to calling it “robot Vietnam” due to how hellish the missions there tend to be, the prevalence of jungles on the world, and the aforementioned robotic overlords who have held onto it. After two weeks of fighting for control of the planet, the helldivers have unfortunately lost their foothold on Malevelon Creek to the automatons, and they’re not being very brave about it.

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I first got the news via my group chat, which sent me a couple of memes bemoaning the loss. In particular was this one which likened the loss of Malevelon Creek to another famous loss in video games history: the fall of Reach in Halo.

Part of Helldivers 2’s meta game (not that one) is the ongoing conflict in the galaxy and how it evolves. When you pick a location to drop into, you’re picking from a galactic map that notes, among other things, which enemy faction controls the system and how close the planet is to liberation. The ultimate goal of the players as helldivers is to “spread democracy” by completing missions (as well as side objectives) successfully enough to increase the percentage of a planet’s freedom. Completing objectives on Malevelon Creek barely budged the percentage though, no matter how often players succeeded there. As a live-service title, it’s a logical and succinct way to frame your in-game actions in a flexible narrative, which sees players bouncing between worlds in conflicts that feel overwhelmingly stacked against them and sets the stage for both huge wins and huge losses.

And so when players woke up today to find that they failed the planet they’ve spent weeks fruitlessly fighting for, the overly involved community that’s formed around the game more than delivered.

One of the comments under that last Tiktok reads, “People don’t understand how crucial taking over malevelon creek was. For starters, the creek was a large hub for the production of automatons.” I can’t confirm the veracity of that statement without intimately knowing Helldivers 2’s lore, but the seriousness with which the comment delivers it is wild. For god’s sake, the video is even tagged #rememberthecreek, which is a thing that’s actually going around. You cannot make this shit up, folks!

If there’s one thing I’ve learned watching Helldivers 2 players, it’s that they are wildly, and hilariously, dramatic about every little thing that occurs in the game. The analogs to real and fictional conflicts is emblematic of that. Big laughs as well as big drama have become core tenets of the experience and community—which now boasts a propaganda broadcast channel on Tiktok—and play a pivotal role in why the game’s exploded on social media and brought in unprecedented numbers of players in such a short period of time. Now, Helldivers 2 has experienced its first real narrative beat, and not only is everyone into it, they’re using it as fuel for the next campaign.

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