Halo 5's 4-Player Co-Op Allows for a "Much More Sociable" Story

"We really wanted to focus on a much more sociable experience, especially in our campaign."

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Master Chief is no longer a lone wolf. In Halo 5: Guardians, players will always have three companions at their side, whether they are controlled by other humans or the computer. Now, developer 343 Industries has explained why it is focusing so heavily on four-play co-op for the new game. In an interview with OXM (via GamesRadar), executive producer Josh Holmes said the idea was formed as development was ending on Halo 4. Plotting out Halo 5, 343 wanted to tell a "much more sociable" story.

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"We were winding down on Halo 4 and thinking about moving to a new console, and we had already planned some of the technological upgrades that we wanted to make to the engine," Holmes said. "And early on we started talking about the types of stories that we wanted to tell and the experiences that we wanted to create, and we really wanted to focus on a much more sociable experience, especially in our campaign."

This led to the idea to make two distinct squads, each with four Spartan characters you can control. In Halo 5, these teams are Blue Team (led by Master Chief) and Fireteam Osiris, the team led by Spartan Locke and charged with hunting down Master Chief.

Halo 5 is not the first entry in the series with four-player co-op. Holmes acknowledged that co-op is a Halo trademark, but said past games did not really do it justice, in terms of gameplay and story.

"I think co-op has always been a big part of Halo's campaign, but in the past it's sort of been treated as a completely separate experience, where you just have three other clones of the Master Chief running side by side," he explained. "The narrative breaks down. One of the big creative goals that we had for Halo 5 was to bring that into focus and support it through the story."

Four-player campaign co-op required a "huge amount of investment" on the technical side, Holmes went on to say. Online co-op (the only way to play co-op in Halo 5 since there is no split-screen) is powered by dedicated servers that Holmes says will enable players to seamlessly drop in and out.

"It's been a really fundamental part of the design process for campaign," he added. "It's flipped the paradigm for the campaign in previous Halos, where solo was very much the focus and co-op was there as an add-on, but wasn't really embraced."

In other Halo 5 news, you can now listen to the game's title song and check out some newly re-designed Covenant vehicles. In addition, Microsoft has teased that Halo 5's story events will change the Halo universe forever. On top of that, Microsoft has confirmed that work has begun on Halo 6.

Halo 5 launches on October 27 exclusively for Xbox One. Microsoft is marking the game's release with a special-edition Xbox One console and a $250 Limited Collector's Edition.

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