Helldivers is an exciting novelty for me. I’ve never touched on it before and as you may expect… I’m thrilled and excited about it. Why you might ask? Well because it allows me to explore one aspect of the game that I’m passionate about. Military Science Fiction.
Indeed. I’ll explore the Military Science Fiction theme in this particular article. But I’ll focus more on the two aspects that we love here at IndieGala. Video games and movies. However, if I take a closer look at my writings, I can clearly see that I’ve already touched on the theme of Military Sci-Fi. Just through different video games.
For instance, I loved my Commandos article a while back. Check it out here. And I adored writing about the mix of an alien invasion and military science fiction in Phoenix Point. Yup. You’re welcome. And there’s the even popular Sniper Ghost Warrior game. Which I explored through Liam Neeson’s Sniper Movie Review. But I’m here about something else. A different game in question and a different set of movies. Let me start with the game itself.
What’s Helldivers All About?
Developed by Arrowhead Game Studios and published by PlayStation Mobile, Helldivers is a fantastic top-down shooter game. Let’s take the HELLDIVERS™ Dive Harder Edition as an example here. It’s a hardcore, cooperative, twin-stick shooter. As part of the elite unit called the HELLDIVERS, players must work together to protect SUPER EARTH. And defeat the enemies of mankind in an intense intergalactic war.
Not to mention, Helldivers takes inspiration from military science fiction such as Aliens and Starship Troopers. Which I’ll explore more later in this article. And while solo play is possible, it is often beneficial to play cooperatively in this game. This allows the players to distribute the requirements effectively. This comes with its own risks. Most notably friendly fire but there are other risks involved yes.
So, Super-Earth, the fictional futuristic Earth is beset on all sides by three hostile enemy races. The Bugs, the Cyborgs and the Illuminates. According to the government, in one way or another needs to be subdued. And while the Helldivers are a pure combat unit, they are often tasked with retrieving technology, activating oil pumps. Or other activity that is deemed important by the government to preserve freedom and the Earth’s way of life.
And what are some of the Steam Comments Saying About It?
*I recommend this game as I have enjoyed it tremendously. Says Ambrax in his comment review.
*Still one of the best co-op games you can play after all this time with an active community in 2021. adds Jesus F. Christ.
While the journalist from Brash Games writes: “The gameplay is addictive and incredibly well done” –9/10.
Military Science Fiction: The Origins, Characteristics and Prime Examples
By the standard definition, military science fiction is a subgenre of science fiction. And a fiction that also features the use of science fiction technology. Mainly weapons, for military purposes of course. And usually has principal characters who are members of a military organization involved in military activity. Such as an ongoing war; occurring sometimes in outer space or on a different planet or planets. It exists in literature, comics, film, and video games.
Furthermore, the stories often use features of actual past or current Earth conflicts. With countries being replaced by planets or galaxies of similar characteristics. Battleships were replaced by space battleships, and certain events changed so the author can extrapolate what might have occurred. Additionally, there’s a huge emphasis on traditional military values in military science fiction. Such as courage under fire, sense of duty, honor, sacrifice, loyalty, and camaraderie.
The Later Years Are Filled With Real-Life Inspirations Too
But the idea of future war was a concept bred and multiplied in Europe (UK specifically) possibly even before it was popular in the United States. George T. Chesney wrote a story called “The Battle of Dorking” (1871) which was a speculative fiction piece, describing a successful German invasion of Britain. Furthermore, George Griffith’s serialized “The Angel of Revolution” and his later “The Lord of Labour,” helped popularize the future war concept. But it was Starship Troopers (1959) who put Military Science Fiction on the radar.
The book serves as an inspiration for so many artists, directors and even writers. And of course, the book had a major influence on Helldivers as well. But Starship Troopers isn’t the only Heinlein book that deals with the military or military action. Puppet Masters captures the heart of Cold War paranoia. Specifically in the manner that the aliens use mind control on their victims. There are so many other examples, but these few seem to be the obvious picks in the early era of the military science fiction subgenre.
Real Life Wars As Basis For Science Fiction Wars
That’s right. Art imitates life in this subgenre. And therefore a common theme in military science fiction is taking real-life wars or conflicts and turning them into a piece of Science fiction. So, WW2, the Korean War, Vietnam war and even the Cold War are successfully explored in this sub-genre. The Vietnam War brought to science fiction the same thing it did elsewhere, a polarization of ideas. Orson Scott Card’s Ender Series (starting in 1977) and David Drake’s Hammer Slammers (1979) really began to popularize the idea of military science fiction once again. However, According to Brian Stableford, Military Science Fiction has one limitation. The atom bomb. And especially in the Third World War, which is a popular theme in speculative future war writers, acted out with atomic weapons or worse, would result in the annihilation of the Earth. A theme that’s apparently popular now more than ever.
But what about the video games?
Helldivers And Some Cool Games And Movies
Yup. All of this talk about Military Science Fiction got us thinking about the games that fit in this sub-genre. Of course, the prime examples of this are the much-adored Halo series. Not to mention the Call Of Duty series which began in 2003 and has had 18 installments since then. But those are the big two. The obvious ones.
The Gears Of War game series is another great example, and so is Star Wars: Republic Commando. A game that now has a cult following among fans. But if you’re looking for some great military science fiction game series here at IndieGala… We’ll you’re in luck. We have the much-adored Quake series and it’s waiting for your undivided attention. Check it out here. Then there’s the Metal Gear Solid series. Yes. Metal Gear is a series of stealth-action games that revolve around military espionage and geopolitical conflicts in modern-day Earth. So there are no aliens or spaceships to fear, but there’s something else that’s equally scary.
It does involve genetically-engineered clones and mutant/cyborg soldiers. Furthermore there are rogue computers and weaponized robots in the series too. Oh and of course the titular bipedal walking tanks of the same name. Always a good choice we might add. And there’s the Metal Slug series. A cool run and gun classic that’s a great idea for the action buff in you. And while the series doesn’t start off as sci-fi… It becomes this in later sequels, which involve alien invasions and future soldiers. And last but not least… The X-COM series, has you commanding a multinational military force to combat alien invaders. It’s amazing and you can purchase it here.
And what about the movies?
Well, there are some honorable mentions here as well.
Aliens and Starship Troopers are pretty obvious choices here since they’re the main inspiration for the Helldivers video game. But the cinematic depiction of the subgenre doesn’t stop with these two. Universal Soldier is a great example, and so is Independence Day. Both of them are from the ’90s and both of them have the cult status they deserve. Edge of Tomorrow has a modern-day approach to the military science fiction subgenre, and I guess the same can be said about Tomorrow War. The 2021 movie with Chris Pratt in the lead role. You know our latest Super Mario. Stargate and the G.I.Joe franchise are fantastic picks for every military sci-fi aficionado, and let’s not forget about the classic that is Predator. Yes, that counts too and we also have it here at IndieGala as well.
Are You A Fan Of Helldivers?
Let us know if you are. And feel free to share some of your favorite pieces of military science fiction. We’d love to know all about them.