Split-Screen Returning To Halo Games
Polygon reports that future entries in the Halo first-person shooter series will bring back split-screen, something that was removed for 2015’s Halo 5: Guardians. 343 Industries’ Bonnie Ross revealed the news at the DICE Summit in Las Vegas. She added that the removal and fan backlash was something they’ve learned from. She said 343 is proud of its attempts to “honor the core” of the franchise and evolve past what Bungie did, “even if that means sometimes we fail.”
She added: “I like what we’ve done moving it forward. We’ve also had a lot of learnings along the way. You know when we fell down with the multiplayer launch of [Halo: The Master Chief Collection], or when we didn’t put split screen in with Halo 5. I think it’s incredibly painful for the community and for us. It erodes trust with the community, as the community is part of our world building. [We’ve had a] lot of learnings from that, and I would say for any FPS going out forward we will always have split screen going forward.”
Split-screen co-op and competitive multiplayer have been a part of the series since 2001’s Halo: Combat Evolved. At the time of its removal, then-creative director Josh Holmes said the decision was “one of the most difficult ones we’ve ever had to make as a studio.”
He said at the time: “To move Halo’s gameplay forward and deliver a true next-gen experience, tough choices had to be made,” Holmes said at the time. “Our decision was driven by a desire for scale, fidelity and focus to ensure that we would deliver the best quality experience possible. With Halo 5 we are delivering massive scale environments, improved AI behavior, increased visual and gameplay fidelity… something that truly takes advantage of a new platform. Many of our ambitious goals for Halo 5 would be compromised in a split-screen setting and the time spent optimizing and addressing split-screen-specific issues would take focus from building other parts of the game.”
Ross, meanwhile, said 343 is working on how to tell stories in the world of Halo, using outside media for world-building.
She added: “While we love our transmedia, sometimes I do think we tell a bit too much story in our games. You know when you have a gun and aliens shooting at you, it is kind of hard to digest a lot of story. Hopefully we’re showing in Halo Wars 2 a more simple story and using transmedia as part of the way to get the deeper story but keeping the game story more simple.“