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Helldivers 2 Developer Arrowhead Studios Appoints New CEO

Helldivers 2 developer Arrowhead Game Studios has appointed former Paradox Interactive executive Shams Jorjani as its new CEO, replacing company founder Johan Pilestedt in the role.

However, Pilestedt will remain the chief creative officer and chairman of Arrowhead Game Studios.

Speaking to GamesIndustry.biz, Pilestedt explained the reason for him leaving the role of CEO:

“I’ve been thinking about the journey ahead for Arrowhead, the future games we’re going to be making, and running the organization beyond the 120 or so developers we have currently. I realized that running an organization of over 100 people to however large it is going to get… it means I will [have to choose] between deepening my love for game creation, or the business track.

Over the last year going to launch of Helldivers II, I’ve been pulled more towards the business side of things, and not able to focus as much on the creative side. That made me realize I needed to make some decisions, both for the success of the business but also myself.

So I reached out to Shams. We had a lunch, and we asked him that if I was to reconsider running Arrowhead for the next decade, and I needed to hire a new CEO, would he be interested?

After some contemplation and deep anxiety on how things are going to pan out, I finally came to the proper conclusion that I will have to follow my heart. It’s not only right for me, but it’s also right for the organization. Having a reluctant CEO is not something that will turn out that well, I think.”

Jorjani was previously at Paradox Interactive for more than 12 years, serving in various roles, as well as also having been a chairman of the board and investor in indie publisher Hooded Horse, and an investor in CULT Games.

In a statement, Jorjani said:

“When you’re talking to creatives like Johan, it’s not like he wants to retire. Helldivers II isn’t the highlight of his career. Hopefully it’s the fourth best game he ever makes. So the question is how do we set Johan and the team up to get to that in a more consistent manner, rather than skill plus luck plus happenstance… all the things that led us here.

What I’ll be bringing to the table is organization and leadership. What I did at Paradox, where I joined as the 23rd person and then helped grow the company into the behemoth it was… it was about organization, leadership and business focus. It’s a lot of the, frankly, boring business administration stuff that is a necessary part of running a company, which is hard to do when you’re also juggling the chairman’s hat and the creative director’s hat and also being the one who is in the trenches doing a lot of the designing that Johan has been doing over the years.

Bethesda has Todd Howard, Kojima Productions has Kojima, Remedy has Sam Lake… but when you ask who is running these companies, who is the CEO or managing director… you can’t name the humble servant [laughs] behind the scenes.

So that’s the set-up. How do we enable Johan to make more Helldivers, and what I bring is a structure around that.”

Developed by Arrowhead Game Studios and published by PlayStation, Helldivers 2 is a third-person squad-based shooter that sees the elite forces of the Helldivers battling to win an intergalactic struggle to rid the galaxy of the rising alien threats. From a 3rd person perspective, players use a variety of weapons (pistols, machine guns, flamethrowers) and stratagems (turrets, airstrikes, etc.) to shoot and kill the alien threats. Players can also aim down the sights for a more accurate 1st person-camera view.

Combat is accompanied by frequent sprays of blood and dismemberment as players exterminate the alien forces or players and squad mates are hit by environmental explosions or friendly fire. Enemy encampments and battlefield environments depict bloodstains and dismembered corpses.

In the meantime, check out our review of Helldivers 2 by heading over here.

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