Terminids, Automatons, and Illuminate, oh my!

Arrowhead Studios may just be adding a third front in the ongoing war to liberate the galaxy. Recent reports from players, alongside data mining, has found signs of an incoming enemy faction called the Illuminate. But when will the Illuminate come to Helldivers 2 and what sort of enemy are they?

Here’s everything we know about the Illuminate, including enemy types, powers, and when they’ll invade our (mostly) peaceful galaxy.

What are the Illuminate?

The Illuminate are a highly technologically advanced race that first appeared in the first Helldivers game. This is the Illuminate description from Helldivers 1:

“Highly sophisticated, their civilization as endured for several hundred thousands of years. They call themselves the Squ’ith and are originally an aquatic species. These creatures dressed in ceremonial robes have managed to create a vast and extremely complex neural network for space travel.

The species have since taken their first tentative steps towards the stars, produced weapons of mass destruction in large scale and as such, they are something that the people of Super Earth cannot ignore.”

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Visually, the Illuminate look a lot like various species from the Covenant in Halo. The more high-difficulty enemies have the distinctive look of the Prophets (with a dash of Engineers) while the more common enemies look like Elites and Jackals.

What is the Illuminate fighting style?

The Illuminate are a highly intelligent species that, based on Helldivers 1, prefer to use guerilla style tactics. Illuminates utilize shields and electricity-based weapons in their combat. It seems likely that the Illuminate will use the same style in Helldivers 2.

Illuminate units with shields in Helldivers 1 (Image via DS Synchro on YouTube)
Illuminate units with shields in Helldivers 1 (Image via DS Synchro on YouTube)

Additionally, they employ drones that search for Helldiver presence on their planets, which then teleport in units to fight. In Helldivers 1, the Illuminate have a habit of teleporting when damaged too much which can be frustrating to fight against.

While the bots and the bugs will overwhelm you with numbers, the Illuminate will play more strategically. They prefer to keep some distance, use technology to give themselves an edge, and teleport at will to protect themselves.

Illuminate leaks and in-game hints

Though Arrowhead has not confirmed the Illuminate is coming, player reports and data mining of game files makes us pretty confident the third faction will come sooner than later. On r/HellDiversLeaks, u/IronS1ghts found a model for what they believe is an Illuminate Warp Gate. The file certainly doesn’t match the style of the Terminids or the Automatons.

The Illuminate gate (Image via u/IronS1ghts/Arrowhead)
The Illuminate gate (Image via u/IronS1ghts/Arrowhead)

An additional leak was recently posted by the same user. These leaks include images of ground soliders, named Adept and Guy in the files. Both have a very unique style that most definitely points to the Illuminate.

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However, other in-game sightings seem to hint towards the Illuminate, including one ominous transmission you can sometimes hear on-board your ship.

“Super Earth lies… they didn’t want you to know… the Illuminate… they’re coming.”

Players have also been posting online about mysterious encounters and experiences they’re having in-game. Some have seen strange blue beams and pillars made of light that don’t seem like they belong while others claim to have been shot by an unseen enemy.

Arrowhead is infamous now for gaslighting their players about in-game events, like the flying Terminids AND Automatons. It wouldn’t be incredibly surprising if the devs and Joel created another denial based build up, this time for the Illuminate.

When are the Illuminate coming to Helldivers 2?

Currently, no one knows when the Illuminate will appear to threaten our managed democracy. In fact, the entire species is thought to be extinct by the year 2184 when Helldivers 2 takes place.

However, with the recent increase of leaks and rumored sightings of the third faction, it seems likely that the Illuminate will come sooner than later. We'll be sure to update you when there's more concrete information.

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