Halo 5 Split Screen is dead

Halo 5: Guardians — The Death of Split Screen Games

Well, that sucks…

According to a post I read on Kotaku, 343 is officially not including split screen play in Halo 5: Guardians. Reportedly, Frank O’Connor (Development Director for the Halo franchise) responded to fan questions on a NeoGaf message board, citing the decision to not include split screen play was made to ensure players would always be experiencing Halo at 60 frames per second.

Is that all there is to it, though? It seems that this has been a growing trend, and it’s hard to ignore the feeling that these big-name developers are making these decisions to line their own pockets. More and more developers are abandoning split screen cooperative game play in their games, regardless of whatever frame rate there happens to be.

Take Valve’s Left 4 Dead series. While there is two-person split screen in these games, including the other two players requires somebody else to have a second copy of the game. While I enjoy Left 4 Dead — and to a lesser extent, Left 4 Dead 2 — it just seems ludicrous not to have at least the capability to have four friends together on one box fighting hordes of zombies. The game literally has the NUMBER FOUR in it’s own god damn title, for crying out loud! Those games even ran at 30 fps at the time, so I’m not sure that’s the sole reason.

Obviously, games publishers want to make as much bang for their buck as humanly possible — that’s why tactics like launch day DLC and pay-to-win features are so prevalent anymore. It seems as though 343 wants as many people to buy the game as they can, and eliminating split screen play ensures that if players want to play together, they each have to have their own copy of the game to do so.

Don’t get me wrong, I totally get this strategy. It’s also very possible that people may enjoy the slick frame rates that this provides. I just think it’s kind of sad, and it feels like a long-loved tradition of mine will be dying off soon.

Whenever a new Halo game released, I’d always enlist the help of my brother (who was never a big enough Halo fan to actually buy a copy), and we would tackle Legendary campaign together to experience the thrills and excitement in unison, while simultaneously benefitting from all of the achievements. Those days are now gone.

Gone also are the days of the now mythic system link Halo parties, where you and a group of seven other friends would squeeze together in a couple of rooms and duke it out for ultimate supremacy in PvP. There’s nothing wrong with party chat, but there was just something about sharing in those experiences in person that truly made those moments special. At least we don’t have to worry about that one friend everybody had that would peek on everyone’s screens to win. That was just part of the experience, though!

The whole thing has me a little soured about Halo 5 in general. I wasn’t necessarily planning to purchase the game on day one necessarily, but the prospect of actually playing games with friends gets exceedingly more unlikely the older I get. It’s only one of many disturbing trends that are becoming prevalent in this industry. I will mourn the days of the glorious past and push forward, though. There’s always Fallout 4, at least.

What are your thoughts on this recent news? Do you think maintaining 60 fps is more important to you than having a more personal experience with your closest friends? Let us know in the comments below. Thanks for reading!

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