How the names Arrowhead Game Studios and Helldivers 2 came to be

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How the names Arrowhead Game Studios and Helldivers 2 came to be

Arrowhead Game Studios CEO Johan Pilestedt explains how the studio name comes from a name translation, plus the background on the game title “Helldivers.”

Gamers take a lot of unique and interesting names at face value, but there’s always an insightful origin story to be told. We spoke with Arrowhead Game Studios CEO Johan Pilestedt about how the name of the studio and Helldivers franchise came to be. Read on to learn how a translated last name, WWII airplane, and tongue-in-cheek humor played into these titles.

Behind the name “Arrowhead Games”

PlayStation Blog: How did your team come up with the name for Arrowhead Game Studios?

Johan Pilestedt: When we tried to come up with a studio name, we had a long day of throwing ideas around, but ultimately, only Arrowhead stuck, and without much competition. 

The name “Arrowhead” mainly came out of two main ideas. One, my last name is Pilestedt, which can be directly translated to English as “arrow stead.” We also liked the idea that “Arrowhead” sounds like a serious company.  Tip of the arrow. Cutting edge. Then you see the logo [a person with an arrow comically piercing their head] and the meaning changes into something dumber. 

We did, somewhat cheekily, decide to call our studio “Arrowhead Game Studios” plural, just in case we would grow to encompass more than one studio someday. Now, the name stands as a reminder of our student beginnings, when we were five people in a small room on LTU campus. Even the logo hasn’t changed much since then. We’re still chasing the same dream: to change the games industry with the power of fantasy-first co-op games. 

How the “Helldivers” game title came

On the surface, “Helldivers” is a perfect title for a game about soldiers dropping into hostile planets brimming with enemies. What else is there to say about the title’s origins?

Pilestedt: “Helldivers” was a thought on the phrases “war is hell” and “diving into war.” So Helldivers it became. Also, we wanted a name that reflected the activity that you would do in the game. The “Helldivers” name had also lingered in the back of my name since I learned the name of the World War II era Curtiss SB2C “Helldiver” dive bomber. I’ve always wanted to do something with it. 

The Helldivers name fit so well that it actually stayed the same from the earliest pitches to the final product. On an emotional level, we wanted the name “Helldivers” to evoke the feeling of going up against insurmountable odds and that you’ll probably die.


For those prepared to dive into the insurmountable opposition of Helldivers 2, Arrowhead Game Studios’ sci-fi co-op shooter is available now on PS5 and PC. Learn more about the latest Polar Patriots Premium Warbond available in Helldivers 2.

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