While a lot of people are currently googly-eyed over the whole Cortana not being naked news surrounding the Halo franchise, another equally important topic for the series was addressed by 343's franchise director for Halo, Frank O'Connor. What topic was it? Split-screen, and how it may make a return in Halo 6.
Speaking with Games Radar, O'Connor was asked about the blowback to the first major first-person iteration of Halo not featuring split-screen. According to O'Connor he states...
Realistically, for Halo 5, it's not something we can just throw in a patch, […] It's just not feasible with the way the engine works.
The actual reasons for not having split-screen simply fell to the hardware limitations of the Xbox One. The system was pushed pretty hard to hit the spec standards that Halo 5 hits. It was revealed in a Digital Foundry analysis that Halo 5 employs variable resolutions to adjust to the scenarios in the game to ensure that the campaign doesn't dip below 60fps (it still does occasionally).
Due to 343 Industries going over and beyond to push the graphics fidelity to the next level while also featuring large areas and lots of action on-screen, sadly split-screen had to be cut. They were already at their limits; doubling up the screens would have destroyed the frame-rate... and maybe even the game logic.
The major issue was that getting rid of split-screen for higher fidelity graphics caused an absolute uproar in the community. Many long-time Halo fans were not pleased with the results.
And were quite furious about the feature being removed. Why so much sound and fury? Well, the major issue was that split-screen has always been a staple feature in the Halo franchise. If there was one thing gamers could count on it was sitting next to a buddy or family member and playing co-op from sunrise to sunset. It was always a thrilling experience playing through the co-op in split-screen.
Bungie had even intended for Halo 2 to sport four-player co-op split-screen on the OG Xbox but they had to scrap those plans due to hardware limitations. They eventually added four-player co-op in Halo 3 but they had to make it where two other people had to play online while two people could play split-screen.
With one of Halo 5's biggest features absent from the game, it's good to hear that the push-back from the community was harsh enough to have 343 Industries rethink that strategy and focus on potentially including the famed feature in Halo 6, which will be the second of a three part trilogy.
Halo 5 is currently available right now for the Xbox One and it has been receiving a lot of generally positive reviews for both the campaign mode and for the highly anticipated multiplayer.