Halo 5 developers, 343 Industries, is making waves with some dramatic changes to the way the Microsoft title will be played. Local co-op campaign had previously been officially removed earlier this month, with co-op campaign games requiring Xbox Live Gold to hook players together. Now 343 appears to have confirmed that local multiplayer will also be missing from the title as well, and there are some indications that local LAN play will also be removed as well.
A Halo fan took to Twitter with a screen cap for the Xbox One Halo 5 pre-order page showing a single player limit on one Xbox One, asking if it meant split screening has been removed. 343 head Josh Holmes responded with a vague statement, saying that “All MP modes use full screen on dedicated servers, incl Coop Campaign, Arena and Warzone.”
This can be taken to mean that all multiplayer modes use full screen when connecting with dedicated servers. It can also be phrased to mean exactly what it says, that all multiplayer modes will use full screen and dedicated servers. The first interpretation is nothing new but the second one is more troubling. While similar FPS games have lost co-op campaign in the past, local multiplayer is a mainstay of many games, allowing a few friends to come together to and challenge each other.
All previous Xbox Halo titles featured local multiplayer as well as local LAN play and losing both will be a shame. Loss of local LAN may become a huge problem for large parties and tournaments in particular. Microsoft has been pushing users to adopt a more online environment but removing well-used features that previous titles had is not the way to go about this.