Technical director at The Coalition, Mike Rayner, explained to PC Gamer that the PC version of Gears of War 4, due for release on Windows 10 and Xbox One, will support split-screen local co-op play. A rarity from AAA developers.
According to Rayner, split-screen is an arduous, taxing feature, even though it’s already pre-built into and supported by the Unreal Engine right out of the box. According to Rayner…
“From a development standpoint, it is quite difficult to support, […] we have to deal with multiple inputs, we have to deal with focus, we have to deal with UI placement.”
[…] “developers have got to put some effort into it to do it right, it’s not just something you can tack on.”
Split-screen can be tricky to pull off when making any game, but it sure is a heck of a lot easier to do than online multiplayer. Opposite of split-screen play, you have to use third-party software to oftentimes get the multiplayer aspects of Unreal Engine games working in an optimal way.
So just for perspective: the easiest multiplayer to implement is same-screen multiplayer, you just assign player stats and input to one of the actors/entities. Split-screen is a lot more difficult to pull off than same-screen multiplayer and is far more taxing on the end-user’s device, but it’s a heck of lot easier to setup and support in something like the Unreal Engine since it’s already built in. Online multiplayer is the most difficult since you have to synch up the games, compensate for latency, and go through a very difficult process of replicating and rendering assets across multiple machines.
The Coalition, however, will be taking their split-screen to the next level by allowing cross-platform multiplayer on both PC and Xbox One, in addition to local split-screen on both PC and Xbox One. So whether you prefer playing online or prefer playing with friends or family locally, you can get in some game time with a multitude of multiplayer options for Gears of War 4.
This news coincides with the recent announcement over on the Windows Blog that revealed that Gears of War 4 has officially gone gold and is prepping for release on October 11th for both the Xbox One and Windows 10.