Halo 5 Will Never Have Split-Screen, But Halo 6 Could
Split-screen cannot be added to Halo 5 as a patch.
The fact that Halo 5: Guardians does not offer split-screen has been a much-discussed point ever since Microsoft made the announcement earlier this year. In a new interview, Halo franchise development director Frank O'Connor says the blowback from this has been "huge." Though there are no plans to add split-screen to Halo 5 as a patch, it's possible that Halo 6 could introduce the feature, he teased.
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In an interview with GamesRadar, O'Connor said it would be technically impossible to add split-screen to Halo 5 as a post-release patch. The game's 60 FPS frame rate is partially responsible for this, he said. When 343 made the decision to have Halo 5 run at a locked 60 FPS, the team did so with the understanding that it would create "some issues" and technical impossibilities for the rest of the game.
"Realistically, for Halo 5, it's not something we can just throw in a patch," O'Connor said. "The simulation the game runs at is 60 frames per second; you've seen how big the vistas are; you've seen things like the kraken and so on and so on and so on. It's just not feasible with the engine works. The blowback from it has been huge within reason."
O'Connor added that he personally enjoys split-screen, but said the number of people who actually play Halo games via local split-screen is small relative to the total player base.
"We know what the real numbers are [of people who play split-screen] and I'm not even going to give them out. But suffice it to say, like most things, they're not as big as you think they are," he said. "Split-screen is fun for me, too. It's not something that I object to. We would have loved to put it in; if we could have, we would have."
Also in the interview, O'Connor teased that Halo 6, which he previously confirmed is undergoing "serious, real planning," could offer split-screen. However, nothing has been decided at this stage.
"It's certainly a conversation we'll have about the next game," he said. "We haven't said, 'Split-screen is done and we've abandoned it.' Making a game is about finding a schedule and a list of priorities and technical features that you can actually achieve. And the commitment to 60 frames per second, we knew was going to create some issues. And one of those, unfortunately--and we don't feel good about this--one of those unfortunately is split-screen. So we'll talk about it for the next game and we'll talk about it for the future. But it really is a giant technical hurdle and not a trivial thing."
Previously, Halo 5 executive producer Josh Holmes said the decision to remove split-screen from Halo 5 was "one of the most difficult ones we've ever had to make as a studio." Split-screen had been basically synonymous with Halo until the release of Halo 5 this week.
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