I don’t know the last time I actually fired up a game in split-screen, but that’s probably because I’m a complete recluse who loves gaming alone. Everything is online now, killing the need to buddy up and share some screen retail space. It’s exactly what 343 thought with Halo 5 too – even though they promised a few features along the way.
Previously, 343 reaffirmed fans that Halo 5 would be sticking to split-screen co-op and competitive play – just like the series has done since its debut on the original Xbox. At E3, the promise of local campaign co-op was replaced with four-player online functionality, but the dream of split-screen competitive teabagging still remained. That too is now just a faint memory.
Speaking to Ars Technica, Microsoft and 343 Industries confirmed that they have decided to completely remove split-screen and LAN features from Halo 5. The decision, it seems, spawns from the need to keep the game running pretty – and smoothly.
“343’s focus is to ensure that fans get the best Halo experience yet, and the team felt a split-screen experience would compromise the gameplay design and the visual bar they’ve set.”
Sure, split-screen compromises things like framerate and resolution, but the thousands of people still playing games locally with friends aren’t the ones really caring about that. Being able to easily lob plasma grenades at friends as fast as verbal insults at a friendly, evening video game party is the foundation that Halo was built on – so it’s gut wrenching to see the choice stripped from the franchise entirely.
It’s still all entirely possible online, but nothing quite matches that sort of personal multiplayer experience. And really, Halo 5 will probably just be weaker without it.
Last Updated: June 30, 2015