Halo 5 has ditched local co-op, but it may make a triumphant return

Local co-op has long been a pastime for Halo fans, but in the upcoming release, they'll only be able to play with friends online.

Don Reisinger
Former CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
2 min read

Halo 5 is launching later this year -- likely without local co-op. Microsoft

The highly anticipated first-person shooter Halo 5: Guardians doesn't come with local co-op multiplayer, but that could change, according to a new report.

Speaking to Engadget in an interview published on Thursday, Microsoft general manager of games publishing Shannon Loftis said that while the game currently doesn't have local co-op multiplayer, it's possible that could change in the future.

"Never say never," Loftis said to Engadget during an interview conducted at the E3 gaming expo this week. "The glorious thing about Halo and about Xbox is that we can deliver continuous improvements to any experience."

Halo 5 was one of the main attractions during Microsoft's E3 keynote earlier this week. The game, the second in the trilogy designed by Microsoft's in-house development studio 343 Industries, will again provide first-person shooter action and continue the Master Chief storyline laid out in Halo 4. Microsoft announced at E3 that the game will be available on the Xbox One on October 27. The standard edition will cost $60, but Microsoft is also offering a Collector's edition, which adds a commemorative Master Chief statue, among other items, for $250. A Limited bundle will split the difference at $100 for the game and a handful of extras.

One of the biggest surprises, however, was that Halo 5 would launch without a local co-op feature. Since the first Halo launched on the Xbox in 2001, Halo has come with a feature that allows people to play the game together while in the same room. In Halo 5, that local co-op feature is a n0-show, requiring friends to be in their respective homes to play online with each other through Microsoft's Xbox Live gaming platform.

The move reflects a growing trend in the first-person shooter space. Before online gaming became a major pastime for gamers, playing a title together with friends, in the same room, was common. But as gamers have gone online, some companies have decided to shed the local multiplayer feature to save on development costs and time.

Still, the decision by Microsoft has not proven to be a popular one. Many self-proclaimed Halo fans have taken to Twitter and gaming forums to express their displeasure with the move. Some have called on 343 Industries, the game's developer, to add it back in, while others have simply said that the franchise is "ruined" without local co-op.

Whether there is actually time to add the feature back in before the game's launch, however, is unknown. Regardless, it's still possible that 343 could push an update to the game after its launch that would add the feature at a later date. Either way, it's possible -- though not guaranteed -- that local co-op could still find its way to Halo 5.

Microsoft did not immediately respond to a request for comment.