Halo Infinite’s Canceled Split-Screen Co-Op Campaign Tested, And It’s Excellent

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The news of the cancellation of Halo Infinite’s campaign co-op split-screen option has been frustrating, especially since I was really looking forward to playing it with my son, just like I’ve done with all previous Halo titles that support the feature. . The fact that 343 Industries doesn’t support it is all the more confusing because, at least at this point, it’s possible to make your way through the split-screen co-op campaign for up to four players. Admittedly, the feature isn’t without its bugs, but in my experience these are relatively minor and it’s possible to play the entire campaign in split-screen mode. Adding to the sense of disappointment is how close 343 came to finishing this feature, and it works brilliantly.

To fully understand the story, we need to go back to 2017, when then-head of 343 Industries Bonnie Ross addressed the lack of a split-screen co-op campaign in Halo 5, making this comment during the 2017 DICE summit: “When you don’t put split screen 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 the construction of our world… I would say for any FPS in the future. , we will always have split screen”.

The situation changed a couple of weeks ago when 343’s chief creative officer, Joseph Staten, announced the feature’s cancellation, suggesting that, to put it bluntly, limited resources would be better implemented elsewhere: “We had to make the difficult decision of not sending the campaign split-screen co-op and taking the resources that we would use on that and looking at this list and all these other things.”

Halo Infinite’s split-screen cooperative campaign was tested, via a “workaround”, in all three modes on XBox Series X, along with analysis of the base Xbox One experience.

The feature may never receive official support, but there is a workaround that allows campaign co-op split screen to work on any Xbox console, even the old Xbox One ‘VCR’ from 2013. You’ll see how I made this work in the video above, but essentially it’s about creating a fireteam online, leaving the fireteam, selecting offline in the lobby, and then adding other local profiles. It’s a convoluted and occasionally frustrating way to make the campaign work in split-screen, but it’s an effective one, with gameplay that works the same way as the online campaign co-op that was tested last month. If a player triggers a cutscene, the game reverts to a single view, before reverting to split screen directly afterwards, resetting the players’ positions. If players get too far apart, a warning countdown appears encouraging players to get back together. If they don’t, one of them dies and respawns near the other.

Player progress, including achievement support, is exclusive to that player and even access to the game’s map and upgrade systems can be done independently within each mini screen. However, this can cause a corruption issue if the other player is in standard game mode. Other issues I ran into included spawning under geometry, time of day shifting between the two players (one can play at night, the other during the day), and no character collision for players, who can literally cross paths with each other. Some players have noticed game save corruption (which would be completely understandable), but that was not an issue in my game.

So in terms of basic logistics, split screen just works: more or less occasional glitches. The feeling is that the feature is very close to completion and that a lot of work has gone into it, which makes its omission very perplexing. At least on Xbox Series X, there are no performance issues either. It’s really smooth in 60fps mode with the console set to output 60Hz. You can see that the dynamic resolution scaler is working hard and the pixel count is significantly below 4K, but that’s fine when performance is very smooth at 60fps with only minor one-frame drops.

We got a taste of the ‘official’ online co-op campaign last month during its Xbox Expert Preview period, played here on PC and the Steam Deck.

Also, the level of detail is reduced by a touch, but it still looks good. If you want to up the resolution, 30fps mode works, but 343 still hasn’t addressed the game’s inconsistent frame rate (which strangely also kicks the game into 60fps mode if your console is set to 120Hz output). Even the 120Hz offering works, though it suffers from the same issues as single player: performance is often below 100fps, and as VRR still doesn’t work properly in Halo Infinite, it’s still patchy. Still, play at 60fps with the console set to 60Hz output and you’re good to go. It is an excellent experience.

There have also been suggestions that the mode was canceled because getting it to work on Xbox One may have been too challenging for the underpowered console, especially the OG ‘VCR’ model from 2013. However, despite the understandable graphical drawbacks, it’s perfectly useful and a solid way to play. However, the visual compromises are myriad: dynamic resolution seems to max out at 720p, but can drop as low as 540p, making the game look very blurry. Draw distance is compromised to the point where low-poly impostors for enemies are drawn at a very short distance, while the range of Halo Infinite’s real-time shadows is also savagely reduced. Performance is also wobbly, thanks in part to the game’s inconsistency. framerate to 30fps, but also through genuine framerate drops to the mid-20s in the open world.

If the campaign’s split-screen mode works so well and feels so close to completion, we can only speculate why 343 Industries decided to cancel it. Considering that the mode is accessible and works well, the decision seems incongruous, so we asked Microsoft to comment on why it was canceled when the mode was shown to work. Upon hearing from the development team, we were told that they “politely declined to comment at this time.” However, I think we have to take 343 at his word and put it simply, the developer feels that resources are better spent elsewhere.

It’s a shame because the split-screen co-op campaign is a key part of Halo’s DNA and its omission from Halo 5 was disappointing. It’s important to stress that the online co-op campaign is still happening, but for the local experience to work, you’ll need two screens and a secondary console. Not ideal, especially when the feature has been shown to work, and works well.



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