Helldivers 2 poses the ultimate moral quandary in its new Major Order

Helldivers 2 players just wrapped up a campaign against the Terminid threat, culminating in the destruction of Meridia. The super colony — and the ominous black hole it left behind — is probably going to lead to some further consequences. But while we wait for all of that to resolve, why not deal with a moral question about orphans, as a treat?

The newest Major Order is aptly called Operation Trolley Problem, a reference to a long-standing philosophical puzzle: do you let five die to the titular trolley via inaction, or pull a switch and kill one? Except this is the over-the-top world of Helldivers 2, so the question is: do you save a bunch of sick children from being totally annihilated by killer robots, or go get some cool anti-tank mines?

There are two planets that need liberation: Vernen Wells, host to Super Citizen Anne’s Hospital for Very Sick Children, or the MD-17 Anti-Tank Mines on Marfark. The in-game Major Order text reads: “Only the first planet liberated is likely to be saved. The Helldivers are trusted to determine which course of action — rescuing the children, or the AT Mines — will ultimately save the most Freedom.”

At first glance, this might seem pretty bad! You might think that there’s only one obvious “right” choice, and it’s saving the children. But have you considered that the Helldivers have been denied access to these mines twice now? One time, Helldivers had to choose between it and the Airburst Rocket Launcher, and we chose the latter. Another time, we had to scrap a minimum number of bots to get the mines — a goal that we missed.

Also, as one wise philosopher once asked — what if these kids have bad vibes? We didn’t get to see or hear anything about their plight, besides it being a miracle that they’re still alive. Right now, both planets are totally untouched by conquering Helldivers, so this Order could really go either way in terms of what players will decide. The game makes sure to set the parameters of our decision: we should try to do what has the most associated Freedom. Personally, I’m itching to finally get my hands on those mines. But those kids could be very useful, considering that Super Earth has a pro-child labor policy. Truly, the latest Major Order offers much to think about.

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Cass Marshall