Halo 5 Co-Op to feature “Fall of Reach” novel characters, but no split-screen

The next title in the Halo series is set to tie back in with some of Chief's forgotten history, but is losing a classic feature in the process.

The next title in the Halo series is set to tie back in with some of Chief's forgotten history, but is losing a classic feature in the process.

Let’s start with good news

If you’re a fan of the Halo novels (specifically Halo: The Fall of Reach by Eric Nylund), the story to Halo: Reach on XBox 360 may have left you with mixed feelings. The game is good in its own way, but it is certainly not an adaptation of the book, which focused more on Chief’s origins and relationships than it did on the actual fall of planet Reach.

While the game did create a cast of new and interesting Spartan soldiers, it missed an excellent opportunity to showcase existing characters like Fred-104, Linda-058, and Kelly-087. These are just some of the members of Blue Team–soldiers who trained and fought alongside Master Chief during the Spartan-II program. Their absence from Halo: Reach was enough to make me wonder if they were even canon at all. 

Thankfully, that isn’t the case. According to Game Informer, the Spartans of Blue Team are set to make their video game debut in Halo 5: Guardians, both in the game’s single-player and cooperative campaign modes. In single-player, Chief’s teammates can be given orders à la Rainbow Six or Star Wars: Republic Commando. In co-op, these characters can be controlled by up to three of your friends online. In both modes, all characters will appear in cutscenes, and are set to be an integral part in the game’s narrative.

And it doesn’t stop there; Halo 5’s tandem campaign is set to feature the return of Sargeant Edward Buck (Nathan Fillion’s character from Halo: ODST), who will be fighting alongside Spartan Jameson Lock in his hunt for Master Chief. He can be seen above, looking sick as hell.

Now here’s the bad news

Unlike other titles in the Halo series, Halo 5 will not feature split-screen co-op. This is speculated to be due to the performance limitations of the hardware. While Halo 4 is slated to run at 60 frames-per-second, it might be difficult for the XBox One to render both player’s perspectives at anything above 30.

Now, don’t get me wrong; framerate is important (maybe more important to some than others), but I’m not sure that it’s important enough to abandon one of the game’s most precious features, especially while couch multiplayer is struggling so much. This doesn’t mean that you can’t play through the game in its entirety with your friends, but it does limit this experience to the world of online multiplayer. It’s nice to still have the feature, but regrettable to have lost the more personal option.

Tell your squad to be ready for when Halo 5: Guardians launches on October 27, 2015.

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