The latest from the world of Halo is that in Halo 5, the campaign with no longer feature splitscreen co-op. A feature that has been in the series since it's inception 14 years ago.
Now I know there's at least one of you already heading to the comments to tell me that Split Screen is outmoded and stupid and a legacy feature that you don't think matters, but at least hear me out before you get nasty.
It's more than just the local co-op. That's kinda the straw breaking the camel's back.
343, I feel, are a bunch of good folks that just don't realize what made Halo great. Yes, the multiplayer is the most popular part of the game. Yes, you CAN make a product out of just that if you wanted. But Halo was always about community, and about having an experience for anyone and every one. You can argue that local co-op is only used by a fraction of the people and that may be correct. But it's just the latest thing they've taken away without really adding much of anything.
Say what you will about Bungie, they added something not only to Halo, but to console shooters as a sub-genre with every game. Halo was the first shooter to do vehicles well and it was the first time I really saw a proper co-op story in a shooter as well as the great 4 player split screen mode for multiplayer. They weren't the first to offer all of these things, but they offered it to you in a polished package that was nice and welcoming and helped foster community. Halo 2 made online console shooters a viable contender and that work is still influencing the way games are being made even today. Again, not the first, but arguably the best and most well remembered when it comes to console online shooters. 3 added theater mode and the Forge and so many other shooters tried and failed to copy that set of features. A set of features formerly exclusive to PC shooters, was now possible on your console. ODST added Firefight, and while it was clearly a copy of EPIC's Horde mode from Gears, they did it with aplomb. Reach added the armor mods which obviously weren't that big of a deal, but they were already knee deep in Destiny by then and only making Reach as a swan song anyway. And I still say it had a lot of great maps, great game types, and while some didn't care for it I loved it's multiplayer.
Every title released since 343 took over stewardship of the Halo brand has either taken away some of those things, or has been horribly broken. They've taken to copying CoD features for the multiplayer (kill-cams, care packages, aim-down-sights, etc), they've ruined Firefight by turning it into Spartan Ops, and while Halo 4 did have a really good story, the Promethean enemies are a joke. They look stupid, their very existence undermines the finale of the Halo 1, 2, and 3 trilogy with it's new backstory for Humanity's place in this weird lore they've created, and worst of all the Promethean enemies were just plain boring to fight. Not bad, boring. Bad I can handle. Bad can be fun. But boring? That is the cardinal sin in video games. Every Promethean encounter played out the same and it got old so fast. And what is the big new feature they're adding for Halo 5? A mode called "War Zone" that cribs elements from MOBAs of all things and plays like a first person shooter version of a DotA or some such. Control points with a few CPU controlled monsters thrown in the mix and a mild leveling system. They've become thieves and followers where once Halo stood as a high water mark of quality and evolution of the very concept of a console FPS.
In 3 years, Halo has gone from being an industry mainstay and a great alternative if you weren't interested in the modern military style of shooters, to a parody of itself. But I could have handled all of that so long as i could sit in the same room with my best friend and play the campaign together. Like we've done for 14 years now. But that's just the end of it. That's the last thing I'm going to let them remove from the series that once felt inviting and inclusive and focused on community. It's only a compromise if you're getting something in return and I'm sorry, but I don't give a shit about 60 f/s if it means I cannot play the game with my friends in the same room with me. I could have my friend get an X1, he likely will anyway eventually. Hell I could easily buy it for him if he can't afford it. But you just cannot high-five your buddy when he's in another zip code. And that may be good enough for some, but it's a step too far for me.
And their shitty explanation of split-screen coming at the cost of giving us the 60 f/s is just nonsense. EA... let me give you a minute to let that sink in... E-fucking-A is adding in a split-screen co-op mode to Battlefront which is running on the Frostbite engine. EA are the best known "anything for a quick buck" publisher out there and they're putting the mode into their games. If it weren't a viable feature that they thought plenty of folks were going to use, you better believe it would have gotten axed. So when I feel more comfortable praising EA's work than 343's work, well it's just time to move on.
So why make a big thing if I'm not buying the game anyway? Because no one loves the Halo brand more than I do. Cancelling that pre-order felt like I'd been defeated in some way. Many of you know already, I used to spend my valuable free time working on a Halo comic strip. Just for the love of the series. I received no money for it, nor did I expect any. It was the love of a game that brought people together to play, laugh, and have fun. And I loved being a part of that inclusive community. And now, I'll miss being a part of it, although it doesn't seem like there's much left except a corporate shell with a familiar title on the box.
I don't expect anyone else to care or to follow my example. I'm not trying to convert or convince you of anything. However, if this news of campaign co-op being left out is something that you feel passionate about, I invite you to join in with those of us who are speaking out on Twitter using the hashtag I put at the bottom of the drawing above. But again, only if you want to. I know the vast majority probably don't even care. It's just sad to me that Halo is no longer a game where everyone is welcome to play how they choose and have fun with the friends how they choose.
Thanks for reading (if you managed to get this far).