The planets home to many gory battles in Helldivers 2 are the perfect place for any player to turn themselves into a legend within the game’s community.


One figure has already achieved that status, becoming something of an enigma in the process. He goes by one name: Joel.

Like all great science-fiction epics, Helldivers 2 has a deep lore surrounding it, which makes it more than just a fun shooter.

It is set in a galaxy divided into 53 sectors, harbouring 253 planets. The citizens of Super Earth are embroiled in a war against volatile bugs called Terminids and Automatons - murderous robots - in a satirical take on the distant future.

All of that context is easy to grasp for the majority of players, but the presence of Joel in Helldivers 2 is proving more of a headache.

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So, who is Joel and what does he do?

Who is Joel in Helldivers 2? Community legend explained

Soldiers firing guns in Helldivers 2
Helldivers 2. Arrowhead Game Studios

Joel is the game master in Helldivers 2. He is an actual, real-life person whose job is to manage the game world.

Joel’s role is similar to that of a dungeon master in the tabletop role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons. The DM, or in this case GM, often represents the players’ enemies, and can have a significant influence on the narrative’s direction.

In a recent interview with PC Gamer, Arrowhead Game Studios CEO Johan Pilestedt confirmed this, saying: "We have an actual person with the job title of game master. His name is Joel and he takes his job very seriously."

For anyone who has played Helldivers 2, this will not come as a surprise. The game has a vast ever-changing warfront that shifts depending on how the players logging in around the world perform.

Soldiers can team up with each other and complete missions on a variety of different hostile planets, which impacts the status of the war that is at the centre of the game.

Joel has the ability to counter any player success with the creatures at his disposal, which can subsequently alter the game’s difficulty.

Pilestedt added in his PC Gamer interview: "We have a lot of systems built into the game where the game master has a lot of control over the player experience. It’s something we’re continuously evolving based on what’s happening in the game."

The action shooter has exploded in popularity since it launched on 8th February 2024.

At an all-time peak, 458,709 people were playing the game. The volume of players even caused the game to have a rocky launch, as there were huge delays on its servers as gamers queued to get online.

Arrowhead community manager Baskinator revealed in a Discord exchange with Games Radar that the unexpected surge in popularity left poor Joel overwhelmed and in need of reinforcements from the developer.

Baskinator added that they were planning on conducting a deep dive with Joel to share with fans how he works when playing against the rest of the world.

So, that’s the mythos of Joel dispelled. For more on Helldivers 2, why not check out some more of our writing on the game below?

Read more on Helldivers 2: Helldivers 2 release date | Helldivers 2 player count | Helldivers 2 server status | Helldivers 2 mechs | Helldivers 2 enemies | Helldivers 2 stratagems | Helldivers 2 difficulty levels | Helldivers 2 trophies | Helldivers 2 ‘Rickroll’ Steam Deck players | Helldivers 2 solo guide | Helldivers 2 crossplay | Helldivers console exclusivity explained | Is Helldivers 2 on PS4? Alternatives explained | Helldivers 2 roadmap

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