Halo 6 is now the talk of the town. 343 Industries managed to get some time to go back to the drawing board and work out the good and bad from Halo 5. Well, one of the missing features from Halo 5: Guardians is scheduled to make a return in the next entry in the series.
Split-screen may be a feature foregone by many other FPS titles out there, but every other FPS title out there isn't Halo.
The entire Halo series had marked part of its success in the multiplayer split-screen culture. A lot of college students picked up the game to play with friends in the dorm. A lot of coworkers played the original Halo: Combat Evolved at LAN parties. A lot of kids played Halo with friends or neighbors. The split-screen in Halo was one of the defining qualities of the series, and it was about as important to the franchise as split-screen is to Mario Kart.
Leading up to the release of Halo 5: Guardians 343 Industries had announced that they would be removing split-screen in order to hit a variable 1080p at 60fps standard. Instead of sacrificing the graphics to include split-screen they just opted to remove it. Phil Spencer, the head of Xbox, tried to run damage control by saying that more people played online anyway and didn't have time to play split-screen.
The damage control and waving off of the split-screen feature did not go down well with gamers at all. In fact, a lot of gamers had commented on forums, discussion threads and social media that they would be canceling their pre-order due to the game not having split-screen. Usually the threat of canceling a pre-order is viewed as an empty threat, much like an insult thrown out during a YouTube comment flame war. Well, in the case of Halo 5, it appeared as if the threats of pre-order cancellation were not thrown out in vain... and Halo 5 had one of the more "disappointing" launches in recent franchise history, according to a report from Bloomberg.
Microsoft managed to compensate lower individual SKU sales with revenue from hardware bundles by packing Halo 5 in with Xbox One consoles. However, that still didn't fix a lot of resentment from fans about the lack of split-screen (amongst other issues).
Well, 343 learned their lesson and will be restoring the feature in the next game. Supposedly Halo 4, 5 and the unnamed Halo 6 will complete the Reclaimer Trilogy/Saga. So if they're going to round out the saga on a high note it's best they go out big with as many features as possible, including bringing back one of the most beloved options that has helped make Halo a household name.
343 tried saying that, according to their internal data, split-screen users were a relatively small group of players, but there's really no way to know how many people come and go in split-screen at a get together, a weekend party, dorm tournaments, or in offline mode. Well, "relatively small" or not, 343 has learned their lesson that Halo fans expect split-screen, so they'll be bringing it back in the next game.