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Helldivers 2 is powered by a relic from another time… and it works

Helldivers 2 is a game that is being a resounding success, but the most surprising thing is that it doesn't use any of the major engines, but rather a discontinued one.

Helldivers 2 is powered by a relic from another time… and it works
Álvaro Arbonés

Álvaro Arbonés

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Sometimes it seems like there are only two game engines: Unreal Engine and Unity. We can add to the list the proprietary engines of some big companies, like the RE Engine, or some engines from small companies that have gained traction in the last year, like Godot, but the field of game engines is very closed. Not a duopoly, but something close. That’s why it’s interesting when a big game decides to step out of that manic struggle between the two giants. Especially when we’re talking about engines that theoretically you shouldn’t be using in 2024.

Helldivers 2 DOWNLOAD

Developer Andy Touch has investigated what engine Helldivers II is using, and he was in for a big surprise. It doesn’t use Unreal Engine or Unity or any kind of proprietary engine. It uses Autodesk Stingray, formerly known as Bitsquid. Something that is, at the very least, surprising.

While it is true that the first Helldivers used Bitsquid, a 3D engine that uses the Lua encryption system, it is surprising that they used this engine because it was discontinued in 2018. After being renamed Autodesk Stingray after being acquired by Autodesk in June 2014, they eventually stopped supporting it four years after its acquisition. Later on, it became a plugin for 3DS Max, called 3DS Max Interactive, but it was also discontinued in March 2022.

It is surprising that they have used this engine because, being discontinued, it means that it does not have new updates. It does not have technical support. All the changes and capabilities that are not already in the engine must be done by the technical team of the studio. So, why did they decide to continue with Bitsquid/Autodesk Stingray? Probably because they had already been working on the game for a while, because the engine was so familiar to them that it was a waste of time to migrate from it, or even both possibilities at the same time. After all, with all the foundation of the first Helldivers, they already had a lot built.

And it seems to have worked for them. Helldivers 2 is breaking records for simultaneous players, positioning itself as one of the most played games on Steam, and the queues to enter are endless, because the servers do not have the capacity for the number of players they have. Something that demonstrates that the newest or standardized is not always the best. Sometimes the best tools are the ones we are familiar with.

Helldivers 2 DOWNLOAD
Álvaro Arbonés

Álvaro Arbonés

Cultural journalist and writer with a special interest in audiovisuals and everything that can be played. I'm not here to talk about my books, but you can always ask me about them if you're curious.

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