'Halo' will bring back local multiplayer

'I would say for any FPS going forward we will always have split-screen.'

343 Industries

When I critiqued Halo 5: Guardians, the lack of split-screen co-op was low on my list of gripes with the game. But that's not to say it wasn't a problem. In the lead-up to the 2015 game's release, developer 343 Industries crowed that there were no sacred cows on the road to hitting 60 FPS in the campaign mode -- including the local co-operative play that'd been a part of the series since 2001. That's changing, though. "I would say for any [first-person shooter] going forward we will always have split-screen," 343's head Bonnie Ross said recently at the DICE summit in Las Vegas, according to Polygon.

"We've also had a lot of learnings along the way," she continued. "You know when we fell down with the multiplayer launch of [Halo: The Master Chief Collection], or when we didn't put split-screen in with Halo 5. I think it's incredibly painful for the community, as the community is part of our world building."

Beyond that Ross addressed the sloppy ways 343 has handled story in the games. And it doesn't sound too promising if you'd rather not have to read the myriad novels, comic books or watch web videos just to understand what the hell's going on with the narrative before playing the latest Halo.

"While we love our transmedia, sometimes I do think we tell a bit too much story in our games," she said. "You know when you have a gun and aliens shooting at you, it is kind of hard to digest a lot of story. Hopefully we're showing in Halo Wars 2 a more simple story and using transmedia as part of the way to get the deeper story, but keeping the game story more simple."

Considering the way that 343 brought in a main villain to Halo 4 from the book universe and never explained his motives, and that Halo 5 leaned extensively on the extended fiction for character development, I'm not so sure the studio knows how to craft an in-game narrative. It's something that Eurogamer recently examined in detail. Extending the fiction into novels is fine, but crippling the in-game experience for people who don't have the time for reading books of varying quality isn't ideal. No, not even in Star Wars.