The days of lugging around TVs and Xboxes to play Halo with your friends are mostly over. Most people have fast enough internet to play with their friends from anywhere in the country. But that doesn’t mean there still isn’t a want and need for split screen. I still play games with my brother and his son (they split-screen) all the time.
Halo used to be a game you could count on to have split-screen. But that changed in Halo 5: Guardians. And 343 Industries heard plenty of criticism from vocal fans about it. Not everyone wants, or can afford, to buy a Xbox One for every person in the house who wants to play Halo. For a franchise built on a community who often played via split-screen, 343 dropped the ball in a big way.
And 343’s Bonnie Ross admitted as much during a speech at DICE 2017 today. She called the lack of split-screen along with the botched Halo: MCC launch “painful learnings.” Ross assured fans that split-screen will once again become a staple of the Halo franchise.
“For any FPS going forward, we will always have split-screen in,” Ross said.
That’s great news for fans who love the feature. And hey, everyone makes mistakes. The important thing, is the developers take the feedback to heart and apply it to their next game. Ross and 343 Industries are doing just that.
Adding split-screen back to the Halo franchise won’t turn it back into the powerhouse it once was. But it is one small step in admitting where 343 misstepped and correcting it.
Ross’ speech is a good watch for any Halo fan, past or present. She touches on several more areas including storytelling. Ross admits they “sometimes tell a bit too much story in our games.”
That’s probably my biggest criticism of the Halo franchise since 343 took over. Master Chief was a badass because he didn’t yammer about stuff and just got the job done. It’s hard to “be” Master Chief when his few lines of dialogue from Halo 1, 2 and 3 turns into pages in Halo 4 and 5. I get 343 Industries wants to tell their own story, but they also need to acknowledge why people felt attached to Master Chief in the first place.