- "Violence has its own economy. Therefore be thoughtful and precise in your investment."
- —Helghast philosophy[src]
The formation of the Helghan Empire occurred some time after the First Extrasolar War against the Interplanetary Strategic Alliance and United Colonial Nations, but no more than a decade before the second war. Helghast leaders, including Scolar Visari, continue to impose the belief that the Helghast race is superior to humanity, creating not only intense distrust, but also an expanding hatred of UCN, ISA, or any other form of foreign rule. The Helghast think of themselves as a master race, who should be ruling the perceived "lesser" human race. They serve as the primary antagonists of the original Killzone trilogy. As of Killzone: Shadow Fall, their strength is greatly reduced.
Following the First Extrasolar War, the Helghan Corporation was dismantled and all its assets seized by the UCN. Vekta, once a planetary holding of the now-defunct Helghan Corporation, was turned over to direct ISA rule, and colonists from Earth were brought in to supplement Vekta's corporate-affiliated population. However, tensions soon rose between the Earth minority and Helghan corporate majority, resulting in Helghan resistance fighters targeting and killing many Earth-loyal citizens in terrorist attacks. The ISA governors' response was to enact more and more economic sanctions and military punishments on the Helghan-affiliated colonists in retribution for the Helghan persecution of Earth-loyal colonists.
By 2220, in the face of such persecution, all loyal Helghan corporate colonists had chosen voluntary relocation to planet Helghan, where years of hardship awaited them. In order to leave for Helghan, they purchased and refurbished the original colony ships they had used to reach Alpha Centauri. Since neither the UCN or ISA wanted to fund this new colonization attempt, they were then declared to be a sovereign nation, with Helghan being their territory in perpetuity - subject to ISA blockades and restrictions until, "diplomatic relations" were normalized. The Helghan settlements recreated the former Helghan authority to rule over all affairs on Helghan, but this rule was often inefficient and corrupt. Their human bodies were ill prepared for the harsh environment of Helghan, resulting in most of the first generation dying only a short while after they arrived in the system. However, by 2305, future generations had evolved an increased biological resistance to the harsh atmospheric conditions, some even discarding the common breathing masks that many colonists still relied upon.
In 2330-2350, due to incredibly unfair trade rates enforced by the ISA, Helghan was hit by a major economic depression, leading to widespread poverty and famine across the planet. This allowed Scolar Visari to stage a successful popular coup against the ruling Helghan Administration in 2347, and declared himself the "Autarch".
Birth of the HelghastEdit
Seeking to further transform the Helghast, Visari created his brand of Helghast culture based on Helghan superiority. He immediately instigated Helghan into a highly secretive militant state (much like Nazi Germany), instigating a complete media takeover on Helghan. He re-established hostilities with the ISA in his bid to conquer Vekta and exact revenge on the UCN, and this conflict became now known as the Second Extrasolar War.
Second Extrasolar WarEdit
The Helghast attempted to conquer and subdue Vekta by utilizing two spies within the ISA in order to disable the Orbital Defense System on Vekta, allowing the Helghast Third Army to land on Vekta without any resistance in space. Although they nearly conquered the planet, ultimately, the invasion failed and the Helghast were pushed off Vekta entirely. The ISA subsequently launched a retaliatory strike against Helghan, establishing a beachhead at Pyrrhus in a bid to capture Scolar Visari and dismantle Helgast regime.
During the first hours of D-Day for the second wave, the Helghast forces set up a defensive perimeter consisting of Arc Pillars. After the Arc Pillars destroyed Avenger Convoy, which was en route to Visari Palace to capture the Autarch, the ISA decided it was best not to move forward as such an action would only result in more losses.
The ISA dispatched Alpha Squad to locate the source of the Pillars' power. After finding a Petrusite Grid under the Maelstra Barrens, the ISA Fleet tried to destroy the Grid, but was beset by a surprise attack by a Helghast armada in a daring raid to obtain the nuclear launch codes for several ISA nuclear warheads captured by the Helghast in their failed invasion of Vekta.
During a pitched battle in the skies above Helghan, the Helghast fleet successfully destroyed several ISA cruisers, including the ISA flagship, New Sun. However, the New Sun crashed itself into the Petrusite Grid as it came down, destroying it and deactivating almost all defenses in Pyrrhus. However, as the ISA celebrated, the Helghast used the codes they had acquired to detonate a nuclear warhead in Pyrrhus, wiping out the vast majority of the ISA invasion force, and the remaining Helghast forces within the city.
In a desperate effort to capture Visari, the remaining ISA forces launched a daring raid against Visari Palace during which they destroyed a massive Arc battery in Visari Square, fighting their way to the palace courtyard and front entrance in a relentless attack. Thereafter, ISA commandos Rico Velasquez and Tomas Sevchenko fought their way through the last of Visari's forces within Visari Palace itself, killing Colonel Mael Radec, military leader of the Helghast troops and personal bodyguard of Scolar Visari himself.
Afterwards, Velasquez and Sevchenko stormed Visari's throne room to arrest him, but Visari was killed by an enraged Velasquez. Before he died, Visari swore that he would be seen as a martyr if he was to be killed and that "Helghan will dissolve into chaos", which is exactly what happened. Helghan fell into a state of civil war as different political factions rose to claim power. The remaining ships of the ISA fleet were either destroyed or withdrew from Helghan entirely, while the ISA troops that weren't able to withdraw became stranded on Helghan, with no way of receiving any further aid, and no other transportation off Helghan.
With Visari dead, the Helghast military and the main Helghast weapons manufacturer, Stahl Arms, began to wage a political struggle to take control of the Helghast government, while the stranded ISA troops were forced to battle for mere survival. Eventually, the political struggle for control of the Helghast government came to a climax, only made worse by successful operations conducted by the ISA remnant.
In a meeting between the Helghast military leader (and recently crowned Autarch) Orlock and Stahl Arms chairman Jorhan Stahl, a skirmish erupted between forces led by the two leaders, resulting in the death of Autarch Orlock. This plunged the Helghast race into civil war, allowing the ISA forces to destroy Stahl's experimental cruiser before he could enact his plan to eradicate all life on Earth. The resulting petrusite explosions from Stahl's cruiser destroyed a massive space station, the entire Helghast invasion fleet destined for Earth, and violently irradiated all unprotected life on the planet Helghan in which this devastation is later known as the Terracide.
With the ISA forces having escaped Helghan onboard hijacked Helghast strike fighters and currently en route home to Vekta, with at least one, or possibly two most capable successors to Visari's throne killed, and its own homeworld irrevocably devastated by energized petrusite radiation, the Helghan Empire is currently in a state of disarray or even totally destroyed.
Following the destruction of Helghan, the empire's remaining population was forced to emigrate to Vekta. However the Helghast largely refused to assimilate into "Human" culture, creating a societal divide between the native Vektans and imbittered Helghans. Over the next thirty years this societal divide would continue to grow and widen, leading to the planet wide wall and subsequent cold war. The Vektan and Helghast governments would engage in covert operations against each other. The remaining survivors on Helghan were united by Jorhan Stahl, and under the guise of mining operations prepared for 30 years to invade Vekta once again, amassing a vast armada of ships and military forces hidden under the surface of the planet.
The Helghast peoples' lives of extreme hardship naturally make them hardened soldiers. Most of Helghan's fiscal and natural resources go towards the military, leaving little for domestic development. The Helghan military's primary tactics primarily relate to the implementation of vicious, rapidly sweeping surgical strikes reliant on the element of surprise, focusing almost completely on offensive based strategies. However, the Second Extrasolar War has shown that the Helghast military is adept in defensive tactics as well, springing numerous traps and ambushes on unwary ISA forces.
However, thirty years after the destruction of Helghan and their resettlement on Vekta, the new Helghast government has made several reforms on the military. Because of the major decrease of population, the government now relies on more highly trained soldiers with better equipment and weaponry, rather than lightly trained ones who rely on overwhelming numbers. (see here)
- Trooper - Also known as Assault Infantry, these are the most common Helghast enemy type in all three games. They are rarely found alone or even in pairs, preferring to work in larger groups. Typically armed with an StA-52 Assault Rifle.
- Squad Leader - Seen in Killzone, these soldiers are slightly tougher than regular troopers and usually carry an StA-52 or an IvP-18 Tropov Machine Pistol. They wear gray shoulder pads and their respirators do not have air hoses attached to them.
- Officer - Seen in Killzone and Killzone: Mercenary, These are high ranking soldiers are stationed at forward posts and checkpoints. They also seen working alone or in pairs with leading regular troops. They armed with StA-52 Assault Rifle and occasionally M327 Grenade Launchers.
- Light Soldier - Seen in Killzone, these are the weakest of all the Helghast ground troops, but their light armor also makes them the fastest. They usually carry assault rifles, but sometimes they carry BP-02 Pup Grenade Launchers and pistols.
- Commando - Seen in Killzone 2 and Killzone 3, these are close combat specialists armed with LS13 Shotguns and thicker armor.
- Rifleman - Seen in Killzone 2 and 3, these sharpshooters are armed with StA-14 Rifles and deal precise damage on the battlefield.
- Sniper - Helghast troopers trained to eliminate enemies from a distance. Rarely seen in the games, they are recognized by the red scope goggles they wear as well as their camouflaged (later cloaking) armor. As their name suggests, they carry StA-52 SLAR or VC32 sniper rifles, but will switch to pistols if the player gets close. They have as much health as common soldiers.
- Shock Trooper - Seen in Killzone: Liberation and Killzone 2, these troopers were chosen by General Metrac to swiftly intercept and eliminate enemies in close quarters. They are armed with S-FOX machine pistols or StA-11 Submachine Guns, and often draw knives at extremely close range.
- Specialist - These soldiers consist of the brightest and most athletic of the entire Helghast Army's infantry. They are sent through an extensive and brutal training regime for them to fulfill important and critical mission roles. They are armed with the S-FOX pistol.
- Elite Soldier - Seen in Killzone and Killzone: Liberation, these heavy troops are typically armed with StA-3 Light Machine Guns. They are very strong and are much more resilient than average troopers, whom they are often found fighting alongside. Elites do not wear helmets, but still wear the iconic orange goggles.
- Assault Soldier - Seen in Killzone, these are much tougher than Elites but slow-moving due to their distinctive, thick armor, which makes them incredibly resilient to damage. They are also considerably more dangerous than assault soldiers thanks to their reliance on M327 Grenade Launchers.
- Support Trooper - Seen in Killzone 2 and 3, these are similar to Assault Soldiers, albeit with less substantial armor. They are typically armed with VC9 Rocket Launchers.
- Base Commander - Seen in Killzone, these are as strong as an Elite despite their minimal armor. As their name suggests they are only found in Helghast camps, making them quite rare. Base Commanders are easily recognized by their long overcoats and lack of helmets. They commonly carry pistols.
- Bodyguard - Seen in Killzone and Killzone: Liberation, bodyguards are the strongest enemy in the game. They are intelligent, seek cover when injured and look for opportunities to ambush the player. They usually are seen carrying StA-3s and have a distinctive visor on their helmets.
- Heavy Trooper - Seen in Killzone 2 and 3. Heavy Soldiers are hulking brutes who serve as the heavy hitters of the Helghan Empire. They are slow but very strong and they carry devastating StA-6 Chainguns. Their only weak point is the gas tanks on their backs.
- Pyro Trooper - Seen in Killzone 2 and 3, these troopers are armed with VC1 Flamethrowers and are typically employed to clear bunkers and trenches. They are also equipped with fire-proof suits that protect them from the flames, however, they may still be killed by explosions.
- Supreme Trooper - Seen in Killzone: Liberation. The Supreme Troopers function as support units and personal guards for General Armin Metrac. Dressed in their experimental servo-assisted armor, and brandishing heavy VnS-10B Scylla Chainguns and pneumatic manipulator arms, they resemble nothing but a walking tank.
- Air Trooper - Appearing in Killzone Liberation and Killzone 3, these soldiers make use of SL-06 Personal Jet Propulsion systems that give these troopers mobility to fly across the battlefield. Production was ordered by General Metrac himself after witnessing the device's effectiveness.
- Stahl Arms Hazardous Material (HAZMAT) Trooper - First appearing in Killzone 3, these troopers are the most common in Stahl Arms' private military. Their training, equipment and armor are superior to the regular Helghast soldiers. They use the VC5 Arc Rifle effectively - facing them directly is dangerous.
- Capture Trooper - Also appearing in Killzone 3, these elite soldiers are armed with arm-mounted blades. They are notable in that they are the only enemies to have an instant-kill melee animation in the game's campaign. They have greater strength, speed and endurance with light yet strong armor. These physical advantages may be due to possible drugs acting as steroids.
- Sentry Bot - These flying gun platforms attack with dual machine guns. They are not well-armored but can be hard to hit because of their tendency to stay on the move. When they are destroyed, they explode, inflicting moderate damage to anything close by.
- Guard Dog - Only appearing in Killzone: Liberation, these dogs wear armor similar to the common Helghast soldier, even down to the iconic orange goggles and black respirator, adjusted for the dogs' physiology. Their only weapons are their razor sharp teeth and claws.
- Spider Mine - Seen in Killzone: Liberation and Killzone 3. These mines are robotic spiders that chase after any living thing, whether it be friend or foe, until it detonates when it gets close enough to a target.
- Police - Seen in Killzone: Mercenary. They wear riot gear with helmets marked with two yellow stripes. Unlike other Units, their duty is to enforce the law of Helghan. They are armed with StA-52 Assault Rifles.
- Bounty Hunter - Only appears once in Killzone, when Templar and his squad encounter a heavily defended beacon. The bounty hunter (as referred to on the Vekta Today website) uses a laser designator to coordinate artillery onto the team, but will switch to a pistol when they get close. About as tough as a common soldier. His name suggests he is not a member of the Helghast military, but rather a private contractor.
Known Helghast military units include:
The Helghan Empire's nationalistic ideals emphasize the superiority of the Helghast, a strong military, and total commitment to the Helghast government. Their ideals are symbolized by the Helghast Triad, which emphasizes duty, obedience, and loyalty.
Helghan brutality is not directly shown in previous Killzone releases, but in the opening sequence of Killzone it is shown they do not hesitate to execute those who are not born up to standards or who sympathize with humanity. However, Helghan atrocities are quite prevalent during the events of Killzone 3, mostly from Stahl Arms mercenaries, as surrendering ISA troops are often executed on the spot, or are told to run away while the mercenaries shoot them when their backs are turned.
Also, a notable example is shown when Jorhan Stahl casually shoots an ISA prisoner, causing a bound and startled Captain Narville (who was scheduled to be executed on live television) to shout "We are prisoners of war! We have rights! You have violated the Stockholm Treaty!" to which a cruelly bemused Stahl chuckles and replies "Stockholm? What planet do you think you're on?!" Prisoners of the Helghast are often tortured to death or even used as unwilling test subjects for a number of agonizingly fatal experiments, showing the sadistic habits of Stahl Arms affiliated personnel.
The military is above all the most prized element of the Helghan Empire. The vast majority of the Helghan Nation's resources are spent on the military and Visari's propaganda-related structures in Pyrrhus, leaving very little for the average Helghast civilian's well-being. Also, many high ranking officials in the Helghast military hold very little compassion for their own soldiers or even Helghast civilians in general, let alone any shown to the people of Vekta and anywhere else in the galaxy. The Helghast military's extensive damage inflicted towards Vekta, and the detonation of a nuke in their own capital of Pyrrhus shows their deep hatred for human life and complete disregard for collateral damage, only having a total commitment to their objectives no matter the cost.
The Helghast use their own form of a symbol alphabet, similar to Eastern Asian written languages. Visari implemented this system claiming it was an attempt to control speech by restricting the use of 'outmoded' Earth alphabets. This is actually a form of newspeak, designed to dissuade alternative thinking, as there is no symbol for 'surrender'.
- The Helghast are based on the Kerberos Protect-Gear created by Japanese mechanical designer Yutaka Izubuchi (it's not clear whether the developers have permission from Izubuchi to use Protect-Gear as basis for the Helghast however).
- Most Helghast speak with a multitude of different British accents. Regular troops have an east London or Welsh accent, Shock troops and a few commanding figures such as Colonel Armin Metrac speak in a central London dialect, while their Autarch Scolar Visari (voiced by Brian Cox) has a Scottish voice.
- Guerrilla Games have confirmed that the Helghast were inspired by many former empires and/or regimes throughout history. One aspect of influence is the totalitarian regime of Stalin Communist Russia, with the implementation of a Cult of Personality being a central ideology used by Scolar Visari to hold power. However, arguably the strongest influence, and the group with which the Helghast are most often linked, is the Third Reich; much of the Helghast's society, imagery, military doctrine and attire strongly evokes images of Nazi Germany. In fact the term "Space Nazis" is a Killzone fan-coined term referring to the Helghast.
- As a result, most, if not all Helghan weaponry are based on weapons made and used by the Nazi forces during World War II, an example of this is the MG-42-based StA-3 LMG, both mounted and portable.
- The ISA sometimes refer to the Helghast colloquially as "Red Eyes" or "Higs".
- Occasionally when the player is killed in Killzone 2, 3 and more often in Mercenary and Shadow Fall the Helghast soldier responsible will taunt the player's corpse as they die, provided the soldier is close by and facing the player.
- A Helghast Soldier appears as a unlockable minion in PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale as well other Helghast characters as icons.
- The Helghast Sackboy Costume was released on the PSN Store for LittleBigPlanet and included 32 Killzone-themed stickers.
- Interestingly, the Helghast soldiers had Dutch names in the multiplayer of Killzone 1, as did multiplayer bots in Killzone 2. This is likely because the developers of Killzone are Dutch.
- There has been criticism from UK fans towards the Helghast seen in the titles prior to Killzone: Shadow Fall as the Helghast all have british accents and following similar ideas to the Nazi party.