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Summary

  • The mystery of Karl in Helldivers 2 has players decoding cryptic messages and theorizing about his identity as part of a larger metagame.
  • The recent binary tweet asking “WHERE IS KARL?” has sparked speculation and fan theories about Karl’s role in the game’s lore.
  • While some believe Karl’s identity may tie into a collaboration with Deep Rock Galactic, others speculate about Automaton involvement or a Cyborg faction return.



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The latest Helldivers 2 mystery revolves around the identity of a mysterious figure known only as Karl. Thanks to its developers’ penchant for shadow dropping new content, then denying its existence on social media, Helldivers 2 is full of mysteries. It’s all part of a massive roleplaying metagame: Helldivers 2 players pretend they’re actually soldiers of Super Earth, and its developers their commanding officers, with the former eating up the propaganda the latter spreads.


Sometimes, lore drops or new faction teases for Helldivers 2 take the form of cryptic puzzles. It’s not unheard of for official Helldivers accounts to post strings of binary that must first go through several ciphers before it can be translated into a readable form. These transmissions are usually considered treasonous, and the decoding, difficult as it may be, is all part of the fun. The latest of these binary Tweets has caused quite a stir. It may be the shortest Helldivers 2 lore drop to date, but there’s a hidden complexity in its simplicity.

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Who Is Karl In Helldivers 2?

Binary Tweets & Deep Rock Galactic Crossover Rumors Explained


A mysterious, now-deleted post on X (formerly Twitter) by the official Helldivers 2 account, since shared on Reddit by users like tansiboy04, contains a string of binary text that, when translated, references the identity of an unknown person named Karl. Thankfully, this one doesn’t have to go through any ciphers – a simple binary-to-ASCII translation reveals that it simply says, “WHERE IS KARL?” (Yes, in all caps.)

The official Helldivers 2 account later followed up with a retraction, simply explaining the message away as a bit of meaningless static. But the damage was already done, and players in the replies already had a litany of questions about Karl.


Answers about Karl were not immediately forthcoming. No one could say who he was, why he was missing, or where he might have gone. A common fan theory emerged, however, suggesting that the use of Karl’s name might be a reference to Deep Rock Galactic, another co-op shooter with many similarities to Helldivers 2. Like Helldivers 2, Deep Rock Galactic requires players to jet off to distant planets in search of rare resources. Once there, they fend off giant bugs, working together to gather whatever they can and return to the extraction point alive. Sound familiar?


Of course, there are many significant differences between Deep Rock Galactic and Helldivers 2, both in tone and in gameplay mechanics. In Deep Rock Galactic, players control funny little space dwarves, not militant, brainwashed patriots. And Deep Rock Galactic focuses more on exploration and traversal than Helldivers 2, which is more about against-all-odds survival. Still, it’s undeniable that both games have similar concepts, and the developers of Deep Rock Galactic have even expressed interest in a collaboration with Helldivers 2. This sudden reference to Karl could be the first sign of a Deep Rock Helldivers crossover soon to come.

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No one really knows who Karl is in Deep Rock Galactic, either. Characters often invoke his name as they delve into perilous mines or slay giant bugs, referencing his record-setting hauls and penchant for cold beers. The prevailing theory is that Karl was a former coworker, who disappeared or died on the job. However, if the collaboration theory is correct, Helldivers 2 may actually send its players in search of Karl, finally getting some answers about his fate.

Other Theories About Karl In Helldivers 2

Automaton/Cyborg Invasions Are Also Possible

A Helldiver holding an assault rifle backed by an explosion. The background shows Terminids attacking a squad while Hellpods drop from the sky.
Custom Image by Katarina Cimbaljevic

Although the Deep Rock Galactic theory is the most compelling, there are many other identities Karl could take on. The explanatory Tweet is careful to debunk one specific rumor: that the binary transmission was the result of an Automaton hack. It’s a general rule that, whenever these propaganda posts explicitly deny something, it’s usually true. As strange as it may seem, Automatons could also be responsible for the strange message about Karl.


But it seems unlikely for an Automaton to be named Karl, let alone to be concerned about someone by that name. This could go hand-in-hand with another fan theory, which holds that Helldivers 2 is gearing up for the reintroduction of the Cyborg faction. Featured in the original Helldivers, Cyborgs were half-human, half-machine. There’s ample evidence in the sequel that the two are related somehow – it’s likely the Cyborgs created the Automatons as their successors.

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With Automatons returning to Helldivers 2 after their recent defeat in Major Order “Swift Disassembly,” the mechanized faction is currently at the forefront of the story. This would be the perfect time to explore lore around their creators, and Karl could factor into that somehow.


But for the time being, Karl’s true identity remains a mystery. And that’s likely how the developers of Helldivers 2 want it. While there’s likely a good explanation for the deleted Tweet, it’ll have to wait until more details are officially revealed. Until then, Helldivers 2 players are left to wonder who Karl is, and why he’s missing.

Sources: tansiboy04/Reddit, @Helldivers2/X

Helldivers 2 Game Poster

Helldivers 2

Helldivers II is the follow-up to the 2015 multiplayer top-down single-player/co-op shooter from Arrowhead Game Studios. The sequel, which has shifted gears to a third-person shooter format, drops players into the boots of elite super-soldiers who fight to protect Super Earth from invading alien forces while taking the fight to those who threaten the “democracy of Super Earth.”

Franchise
Helldivers

Released
February 8, 2024

Developer(s)
Arrowhead Game Studios

Publisher(s)
PlayStation Studios

ESRB
M





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