Future Halo games will bring back a feature that has been a staple in the franchise from the beginning, according to developer 343 Industries.
Bonnie Ross, the head of 343 Industries, said at this week’s DICE Summit in Las Vegas that going forward, Halo first-person shooter games will “always have split-screen.” This feature was notably absent from the developer’s most recent title, Halo 5: Guardians, and the ensuing fan outcry represented a painful lesson for the studio.
During her address at DICE, Ross spoke about 343’s efforts to evolve the Halo franchise since the studio was established in 2007 and taking full control after original developer Bungie left the franchise behind in 2010. Ross said that she is proud of the studio’s efforts to “honor the core” of the franchise and move beyond what Bungie did with Halo, “even if that means sometimes we fail.”
Ross also touched on the studio’s missteps with the franchise, most notably the botched launch of Halo: The Master Chief Collection in 2014 and the controversial removal of split-screen from Halo 5.
“We’ve also had a lot of learnings along the way,” she said. “You know when we fell down with the multiplayer launch of [The Master Chief Collection] or when we didn’t put split-screen in with Halo 5. I think it’s incredibly painful for the community and for us. It erodes trust with the community, as the community is part of our world building. [We’ve had a] lot of learnings from that, and I would say for any FPS going out forward we will always have split-screen going forward.”
Split-screen cooperative and competitive multiplayer had been a staple of the Halo series since the original game in 2001 until 343 removed it for Halo 5, the first game in the series to be developed from the ground-up for the Xbox One. At the time, then-creative director Josh Holmes called the decision to remove the feature “one of the most difficult ones we’ve ever had to make as a studio.” Holmes cited the game’s new graphics engine and larger-scaled environments as the chief reason for the feature’s removal.