Developer 343 Industries believes the inclusion of split-screen gameplay would have “compromised” Halo 5: Guardians.
Halo 5: Guardians will be the first core game in franchise history to abandon split-screen gameplay, a feature the series has been renowned for since its debut in 2001.
In a recent Halo Waypoint post, developer 343 Industries declared that abandoning split-screen was an incredibly tough decision, but would ultimately provide the best experience for players.
"The decision to remove split-screen support from Halo 5: Guardians was one of the most difficult ones we've ever had to make as a studio," executive producer Josh Holmes said. "We know that for many of our fans, Halo has meant playing together with friends in the same room. We all have great memories of past Halo split-screen multiplayer matches.”
"To move Halo's gameplay forward and deliver a true next-gen experience, tough choices had to be made", he added. "Our decision was driven by a desire for scale, fidelity, and focus to ensure that we would deliver the best quality experience possible."
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Holmes reiterated that Halo 5’s “massive environments,” fluid visuals and enhanced AI could not be fully realized if split-screen was a factor, so removing it was difficult, but necessary.
"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," Holmes said. "Game development is a balancing act of resources, time, and technology, and in this case we made the tough decision to sacrifice something that's been near and dear to us all."
Previous Halo titles never seemed to have a problem balancing cutting edge visuals with enhanced AI, so it is a huge shame to see split-screen functionality no longer being featured in the series.
Halo 5’s campaign also features four unique characters complete with player dependant squad commands, so the absence of split screen will be all the more noticeable. It would be great to have such a feature patched in after the game’s release, but this isn’t yet a possibility.
Halo 5: Guardians will launch on October 27 exclusively for the Xbox One.