Is it fair to call a form of video gameplay embattled? Not exactly, but in this case I think it’s a good way to describe the state of local multiplayer gaming.

Josh Holmes, the studio head of Halo 5: Guardians quietly confirmed on Twitter that we’ve seen the last of 4-player split screen on Halo. The few people paying attention were understandably pissed off.

This was certainly a decision they’re hoping will fly under the radar, as 4-player split screen gameplay (and 8-player LAN system-linking) has been a staple of the Halo universe since Halo 2’s multiplayer revolutionized competitive first person shooters over 10 years ago.

If you’re like me, you probably recall running to what ever room the other team was playing in to hurl insults at them. It didn’t matter that there was always that one guy in your group of (6-8?) friends that basically all but guaranteed his particular team’s victory. Halo night was always an unrivaled experience; the pinnacle of multiplayer gaming. It was pure fun, and now it’s gone.

That’s not to say it’s going to be impossible, but you’ll need 3-4 Xbox Ones, 3-4 televisions, and 3-4 Xbox Live Gold accounts if you’re looking to plan another Halo night. Guess how often people are going to be able or willing to coordinate an event that complicated.

In an era where local multiplayer is increasingly being snubbed in lieu of online-only modes, we’re now witnessing yet another solid step back. These AAA studios (besides Nintendo) rarely ever release games with local multiplayer of any kind. In my opinion, they’re doing it for no other reason aside from profit margins.

I applaud the group who has been vocally protesting this announcement. Some have even gone as far as to say they won’t buy the game at all if they don’t fix this.

Theres only one big reason major game studios are continuing this trend. Money. It costs money to add local multiplayer into your game, and it’s much more cost effective to just go “SORRY! Online only, your buddies will HAVE to buy the game if you want them to play with you. ;)”

Here's my message to those responsible.

Here’s my message to those responsible.

In the case of Halo 5, the situation is a bit more complicated. We’re still getting some local gameplay, but it’s been greatly diminished.

Local multiplayer will always make for a better time than online multiplayer. It is not comparable, nor will it ever be, to party-chatting with everyone through some cheap throw away microphone. Not nearly enough people are upset about this utterly disheartening shift in the gaming industry.

I’ve done plenty of complaining about the stale, humorless state of the latest COD games. However, COD is one of the few remaining holdouts that supports local multiplayer and even online guest play. It is literally the ONLY title in my Xbox One library that I can use my second controller with.

Battlefield 4, Titanfall, Destiny, Sunset Overdrive, and Farcry 4 all turn their noses up at local multiplayer. Why wouldn’t they? We’re letting them get away with it.

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It’s been a long time since we’ve done one of these. Funny story. A lot of the lack of  activity on the site can be blamed on the destruction of my old Macbook Pro. Death by water spill. I’ve got a desktop PC (for gaming), but I don’t spend a lot of time on it after I return home from work. I’ve got a new laptop, and here we are.

So whats going on?

The Roundup

We’ve got a fresh new Worms drinking game.

It’s not all rainbows and sunshine in the new Smash Bros.

I talk a lot about Smash Bros.

Tweets I Agree With

Horror Movie of the Week: V/H/S: Viral

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Ouch. What happened here? We had one of the most anticipated films of 2014* (second to only Godzilla) cut a huge fart and leave everyone feeling vaguely disappointed and sad. To be honest, I was skeptical since it was announced that Todd Lincoln was granted a spot (and then booted right the hell out of there once they realized he sucked, leaving the final product considerably shortened) and Adam Wingard wasn’t going to be involved.

Lincoln directed one of the worst horror movies of all time in The Apparition (it swung a 3% out of 60 reviews on Rotten Tomatoes). Wingard was responsible for the fantastic wraparound sequence in the original V/H/S and the vastly underrated “Phase I Clinical Trials” short of V/H/S/2. I don’t know why a dud like Todd Lincoln was originally supposed to be included and I don’t know why Adam Wingard wasn’t a part of V/H/S: Viral, but I can tell you that both decisions made a huge impact on the final product of this trilogy.

It wasn’t all bad. They went with two of the standout directors of The ABC’s of Death: Nacho Vigalondo and Marcel Sarmiento. Vigalondo was responsible for the most memorable short of the final anthology (“Parallel Monsters”). In it, a man who invents a portal to a second dimension gets involved in some serious shit. I’ll spare you the semantics and simply leave you with this: in the parallel dimension everyone’s lower abdomens are replaced with homicidal alien snakes. Also they all worship satan. Sound like fun?

Multiplayer Game I’m Currently Playing: Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare

Chill. I can hear your snarky thoughts from here. The reason I gave COD another shot fits in with the theme of this post. Their local multiplayer modes have remained unchanged to this point. The Exo-Survival mode is a lot of fun, and they’ve committed to releasing a zombies mode in the near future. Yes, it’s not cool that they’re relegating the beloved zombies mode to paid DLC, but my opinion on COD has softened recently. It’s here. It kind of sucks. At least it’s not slashing features in the wake of some soul-less executive decision to kill off one of the most fun ways to play a video game in recent memory.

* Probably just one of my most anticipated films

About The Author

John

John is a full-time web developer who writes and streams for multitoad.com. He started Multitoad with Luke "Yogzula" VanTrieste. John loves multiplayer gaming, his wife (known around the site as Queenie), his dog (Marble), horror movies, and sitting down with a nice craft beer. If you want to contact the author of this post, feel free to do so on the community forums.

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