Halo 5 not featuring a split-screen mode was considered to be a “painful” lesson for 343 executive Bonnie Ross and the rest of the Xbox camp at Microsoft. At the 2017 DICE Summit Ross explained that from now on all their new Halo FPS titles will feature split-screen.
Gamespot did a quick summary, detailing how Ross explained that after the launch blunder that was Halo: The Master Chief Collection, it turned out to be “[incredibly] painful for the community and for us–and it erodes trust,”, and then this was followed up with the not-so-well-received Halo 5 and its lack of multiplayer.
To make matters worse, head honcho over Xbox, Phil Spencer, studio head at 343 Industries, Frank O’Connor, and 343 executive over the Halo brand, Bonnie Ross, all ran damage control during the launch of Halo 5 defending their decision to stick it to gamers and remove split-screen in place of targeting 60fps and barely 1080p for the game. It backfired big time.
In combination with trying to go with a politically safe story with politically correct characters and a politically tame adventure, they not only managed to leave a bad taste in the mouths of old-time fans, but they also managed to scare off new ones. The added insult to injury was the fact that two people wanting to play Halo 5 in local split-screen couldn’t even do that.
It’s one thing if they were going to sanitize the desperate, war-torn galaxy that Bungie created 16 years ago, but to not only dumb everything down to the point of being trite they also decided to remove a core feature that a lot of people loved.
It baffles me to think that they thought that this would somehow draw people in.
Online multiplayer is more-so aimed at creating anti-social environments than they are at being conducive for pro-social interaction. Local multiplayer is usually the complete opposite, getting people to have fun and get along as opposed to being antagonistic toward one another. But then again, Microsoft was probably hoping more people would throw money down the drain to sign-up for Xbox Live Gold. It didn’t work.
After that massive blunder hopefully they’ll get the series back on track, creating those desperate sci-fi stories that made Halo 1, 2, 3 and Reach fascinating, and what kept gamers hanging on to every cutscene in Halo Wars 1 and Halo Wars 2.
Split-screen returning to the fold is only part of a problem that’s being addressed, they’ll still need to fix the story up big time if they want to draw back in the old-school Bungie loyalists.
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