Xbox Boss Explains Why Halo 5 Has No Split-Screen

Times have changed.


Microsoft's upcoming Halo 5: Guardians breaks from series tradition in a major way due to the fact that the shooter will not support split-screen. Now, Microsoft's top gaming boss, Phil Spencer, has shed some more light on that controversial decision. He tells GameSpot in a new interview that the "vast majority" of people, at least those whose consoles are connected to Xbox Live, are playing co-op across Xbox Live, not locally.

"In the end, the teams make decisions based on the bar that they want to hit for complexity of what they're going to run on a single box," he said. "We see the robustness of what Xbox Live is today and where people are playing across Xbox Live--you at your house, me at our house. We know that's the vast majority of the co-op play. With Halo 5, the team really wanted to focus on making that experience great, both visually on the screen that you're looking at, and all the systems in place."

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Spencer went to say he he "loved" split-screen in previous Halo games and acknowledged that "it was kind of how multiplayer in Halo was born." But times have changed.

"I think the team made a trade-off based on what they see happening in the market today and what they wanted to do with their game," Spencer explained. "I love the nostalgia of the couch co-op of what Halo did in the past, but I also know in the realities of the day with people's busy lives, it's not as easy to get everybody in the same physical place. It's one of the advantages that Xbox Live obviously offers."

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." He added that Halo 5's new "massive-scale environments," better visuals,and improved AI might have been "compromised" if split-screen was in the mix.

Also in our interview, Spencer talked about how he's "confident" Halo 5's multiplayer will have a smooth launch. He also said he expects Halo will still be around in 2035, enjoying a long lifespan not unlike Star Wars and Spider-Man. Read the entire interview here.

The Halo 5 release date is set for October 27 exclusively for Xbox One. GameSpot recently played a portion of Halo 5's campaign. Watch some videos and get our thoughts here.

What do you make of Halo 5 dropping split-screen?

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