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No Halo 5 split-screen co-op? The fans are NOT happy

With no Halo 5 split-screen co-op, there’s now even fewer reasons to own a second Xbox One controller.

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Halo 5 split-screen co-op

With no Halo 5 split-screen co-op, there’s now even fewer reasons to own a second Xbox One controller.

There’s nothing like removing one of your own USPs, and pissing off thousands of dedicated fans in the process, to put a dampener on pre-release hype and ultimately sales.

Alas and alack, that’s exactly what 343 Industries have done by removing the Halo 5 split-screen co-op game mode. As a result, we’ve heard fans of the Halo series have been cancelling their Halo 5: Guardians pre-orders hand over fist, and have even setup an online petition to bring back Halo 5 split-screen co-op (for all the use online petitions are in the gaming world).

The move to remove Halo 5 split-screen co-op by 343 Industries is particularly irritating to the world and his dog, for three reasons:

  1. It’s been a staple of the Halo series from day one. To not be able to play Halo 5 split-screen co-op, with friends and family gathering on the couch to play co-op – like the good old days of Super Mario Bros. and Sonic the Hedgehog 2 – feels sacrilegious.
  2. The relatively recent release of the Halo: Master Chief Collection has allowed gamers to play every previous game in the Halo series – up to the point of Halo 5’s release – in split-screen co-op mode on Xbox One. And now that’s gone. The first full Xbox One Halo title will not have split-screen co-op, even though we’ve grown to expect it.
  3. There aren’t many developers out there still doing it. Co-op bible Co-optimus’ list of couch co-op titles for next-gen consoles like the Xbox One is already woefully small compared to previous generations, particularly among AAA franchises. To lose Halo 5 split-screen co-op as well? That’s a pretty devastating blow to the split-screen cause.

Setting precedents

We hear the reasons for dropping split-screen time and time again. It’ll lower the frame rate, it will reduce the visual fidelity, you need the screen real estate to get the “full experience”; frankly, most couch co-opers really couldn’t care less about all of those things. They’d rather be having fun with someone else at 30fps, than playing alone at 60.

It particularly winds the couch co-op faithful up to know a split-screen co-op mode was available, but was removed by the developers citing the tired and cliched reasons above, as Techland did with Dying Light around a year ago. Here’s the official word from a community manager on the Dying Light forums:

In the beginning of development, we did play around with the idea of split screen. We even tested it out. However, when we played Dying Light in split screen mode, it wasn’t a really good experience. Because Dying Light is fast, intense, and action based, when we tested it in split screen, it was REALLY hard to keep focus. Just imagine the combat, Natural Movement system, jumping, running, explosions, Day/Night cycle, etc etc in a really small screen. It wasn’t fun (trust us). It was in that moment that we realized that with all the action and intensity that is going on in the game, it needed to have as much screen “real estate” as possible. That is why we decided to take the multi-player experience (4 player co-op and Be the Zombie) online, so that the game can be experienced in the best possible way.

From the beginning, we set ourselves a goal. We wanted to create a visually stunning, immersive experience with revolutionary gameplay mechanics. We wanted to create something special and memorable, and most importantly – really fun. Split screen just didn’t go with that.

Which in theory is fine, except a lot of gamers have wives and husbands, boyfriends, girlfriends, brothers, sisters and even kids who they want to actively enjoy gaming with. The devs might say it’s an inferior experience, but the couch co-opers believe the experience is enhanced by being able to play share it with someone, graphical fidelity and frame rates be damned.

Giving the player a choice

We’d all prefer to at least be given the choice of playing a Halo 5 split-screen co-op, even if it is at half the frame rate and in a reduced screen area.

Let’s speak directly to 343 Industries a moment: We’ll all sign a waiver – every single one of us – to promise we won’t ever bitch about the graphics or the frame rates if we choose to play Halo 5 split-screen co-op, if you just put it back in, for the love of all that is sacred. Otherwise, this is likely how you’ll be remembered:

Here’s hoping Borderlands and Gears of War keep on fighting the good fight to save the couch.

Enjoyed this article?

Found it interesting, entertaining, useful, or informative? Maybe it even saved you some money. That's great to hear! Sadly, independent publishing is struggling worse than ever, and Thumbsticks is no exception. So please, if you can afford to, consider supporting us via Patreon or buying us a coffee.

Tom is an itinerant freelance technology writer who found a home as an Editor with Thumbsticks. Powered by coffee, RPGs, and local co-op.

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WB Games attempts to distance Hogwarts Legacy from J.K. Rowling

Hogwarts Legacy is embroiled in controversy over its tacit association with the original author of the Wizarding World.

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Hogwarts Legacy
WB Games / Portkey Games

Not exactly the legacy they want.

With the open-world RPG Harry Potter game whose existence was leaked way back in 2018 finally revealed to the world, it should have been a slam dunk of an announcement. Perhaps at one time, it would have been.

But Hogwarts Legacy has instead found itself embroiled in controversy over its tacit association with the original author of the Wizarding World.

In an official FAQ, the publisher of the new Harry Potter game from Portkey Games –⁠ a WB Games subsidiary specifically for Harry Potter games –⁠ and Avalanche Software emphasised that “J.K. Rowling is not directly involved” in its development. It comes as calls for a boycott of the game hit social media over the author’s litany of problematic comments on transgender issues.

It’s not the first time such an FAQ has denied the author’s involvement. 2018’s Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery mobile game FAQ also featured such a disclaimer. However, the latest FAQ has arguably greater significance now given that in the intervening two years J.K. Rowling has come under greater fire. Whilst in 2018 she was criticised for liking a transphobic tweet in what her PR people called a “middle-aged moment”, the author has since made her own controversial comments about transgender issues.

The increasing backlash against J.K. Rowling and just how it might affect them has never been lost on the game’s developers. Bloomberg reported that many in the team felt “uncomfortable” when the studio’s management didn’t address the author’s comments.

WB Games was more cagey over the potential royalties the author might earn from Hogwarts Legacy, with a spokesperson declining further comment to Kotaku. Whatever the financial arrangement, unlike gaming boycotts –⁠ of, say, Ubisoft, Riot Games, Blizzard, Naughty Dog and EA, where their bottom line is often the target as a means of engendering change in said companies –⁠ this boycott appears more symbolic and personal. As the first significant Harry Potter product to be revealed since the author’s most recent comments, many might see this as an opportunity to distance themselves from the author and a once-beloved franchise that’s become toxic by association.

We’ll have to see if WB Games can do anything more to reassure fans before Hogwarts Legacy’s release in 2021.


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New Xbox One releases (September 21-25, 2020)

Mafia: Definitive Edition and Rebel Galaxy Outlaw headline this week’s list of upcoming Xbox One releases.

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New Xbox One game releases
Microsoft / Thumbsticks

Mafia: Definitive Edition and Rebel Galaxy Outlaw headline this week’s list of upcoming Xbox One releases.

Xbox One owners can lead a life crime this week in the eagerly anticipated remake of 2002’s Mafia. The city of Lost Heaven has never looked better, but we’re interested to see how Hangar 13 has fleshed out the experience. The addition of motorcycles is a fun place to start.

Meanwhile, players of Rebel Galaxy Outlaw can live their lives on the outer rim of law and order. This sequel from Double Damage builds upon the strong foundations of the first game with improved dogfights, an engaging story, and an even better soundtrack. If you find Elite Dangerous too overwhelming, Rebel Galaxy Outlaw is an accessible blend of arcade and simulation sci-fi that scratches the same intergalactic itch.

Other new Xbox One release highlights include Port Royale 4, procedurally generated track laying game Unrailed!, and satirical dungeon crawler, Going Under. Halo ODST‘s Firefight mode is also coming to Halo: The Master Chief Collection on Tuesday.

Each new game can be purchased from the Xbox One digital games store or the Microsoft web store. We’ll update this post throughout the week with any late additions to the lineup.

New Xbox One releases: September 21-25, 2020

Monday, September 21, 2020

  • No releases

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

  • Halo ODST: Firefight (The Master Chief Collection)
  • Rebel Galaxy Outlaw
  • Tennis World Tour 2

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

  • CastleStorm II
  • The Drone Racing League Simulator
  • Jet Set Knights
  • Unrailed!
  • Twin Breaker: A Sacred Symbols Adventure

Thursday, September 24, 2020

  • Going Under
  • Little Big Workshop
  • Tears of Avia

Friday, September 25, 2020

  • Mafia: Definitive Edition
  • Nexomon: Extinction
  • Port Royale 4
  • Sentinels of Freedom
  • Shotgun Farmers
  • Trollhunters: Defenders of Arcadia

Swoop by the Thumbsticks new releases page for the latest games. You can also follow us on Flipboard, Facebook, Google News, and Twitter

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Found it interesting, entertaining, useful, or informative? Maybe it even saved you some money. That's great to hear! Sadly, independent publishing is struggling worse than ever, and Thumbsticks is no exception. So please, if you can afford to, consider supporting us via Patreon or buying us a coffee.

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New Nintendo Switch releases (September 21-25, 2020)

Rebel Galaxy Outlaw and Lost Ember are among the new video games coming to the Nintendo Switch eShop this week.

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New Nintendo Switch eShop releases
Nintendo / Thumbsticks

Rebel Galaxy Outlaw and Lost Ember are among the new video games coming to the Nintendo Switch eShop this week.

This week’s crop of new Nintendo Switch releases features some promising new indie games and a bunch of mobile ports. Let’s focus on the cool indie games.

Sci-fi sequel Rebel Galaxy Outlaw is a trading and combat simulation from Double Damage Games. The first game was an ambitious, if flawed, homage to classics like Freelancer. Outlaw continues the space-Western vibe with a kicking country soundtrack, dusty trading posts, odd-ball characters, and improved dogfights. If the port is decent, this could be a gem in Switch’s library.

Another new release we’re keen to see running on Nintendo Switch is Lost Ember from Mooneye Studios. The game had some performance issues on other platforms, but if it runs well, we recommend this touching journey through a majestic and vibrant animal kingdom.

This week’s final pick is CastleStorm II from Zen Studios, the developer best known for its pinball games. Like its predecessor, Castlestorm II is a personality-packed blend of real-time action and tower defence.

Other new Nintendo Switch releases include Unrailed!, Going Under, and the Definitive Edition of fighting platformer Rivals of Aether. There’s also a new crop of games coming to the Nintendo Switch Online NES and SNES libraries.

We’ll update this article throughout the week with any late additions.

New Nintendo Switch releases: September 21-25, 2020

Monday, September 21, 2020

  • Worm Jazz

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

  • Rebel Galaxy Outlaw

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

  • CastleStorm II
  • Dungreed
  • Orbt XL
  • Unrailed!
  • Perky Little Things
  • Twin Breaker: A Sacred Symbols Adventure
  • Vigor
  • NSO: S.C.A.T.: Special Cybernetic Attack Team
  • NSO: Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy’s Kong Quest
  • NSO: Mario’s Super Picross
  • NSO: The Peace Keepers

Thursday, September 24, 2020

  • Alluris
  • BIG-Bobby-Car – The Big Race
  • Breakpoint
  • Great Conqueror: Rome
  • Lost Ember
  • Micro Pico Racers
  • Going Under
  • Gothic Murder: Adventure That Changes Destiny
  • Rivals of Aether Definitive Edition
  • RollerCoaster Tycoon 3: Complete Edition
  • Secrets of Me
  • This Is The Zodiac Speaking
  • Wartile

Friday, September 25, 2020

  • Jet Set Knights
  • Trollhunters Defenders of Arcadia

Catch up with this week’s new PlayStation 4 and Xbox One releases.


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Found it interesting, entertaining, useful, or informative? Maybe it even saved you some money. That's great to hear! Sadly, independent publishing is struggling worse than ever, and Thumbsticks is no exception. So please, if you can afford to, consider supporting us via Patreon or buying us a coffee.

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New PlayStation 4 releases (September 21-25, 2020)

Mafia: Definitive Edition tops next week’s list of new PlayStation 4 releases.

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New PlayStation 4 game releases
Sony / Thumbsticks

Mafia: Definitive Edition tops next week’s list of new PlayStation 4 releases.

Hangar 13’s ground-up remake of Mafia is this week’s PlayStation 4 pick. The original game is not an outright classic, but it’s certainly bold and was forward-thinking in its day. The remake includes new vehicles, improved visuals and audio, and a larger city of Lost Heaven to explore.

Another highlight is the console port of Port Royale 4. Kalypso Media’s trading and strategy game depicts the 17th-century Caribbean power struggle between Spain, England, France and the Netherlands. Turn-based naval encounters are the big new feature, and each nation has a full single-player campaign to complete.

Trading is also central to Rebel Galaxy Outlaw, the new space Western sequel from Double Damage Games. Outlaw improves on its predecessor with streamlined spaceship combat, seven new radio stations, and a fun cast of bounty hunters, aliens, and intergalactic ne’er-do-wells.

Other new PS4 releases include Tennis World Tour 2, Unrailed!, and Going Under. We’ll update this article throughout the week with news of any late additions. Here’s the full lineup of new PS4 games confirmed so far.

New PlayStation4 releases: September 21-25, 2020

Monday, September 21, 2020

  • No releases

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

  • 3 Sentinels: Aegis Rim
  • Rebel Galaxy Outlaw
  • Tennis World Tour 2

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

  • CastleStorm II
  • Jet Set Knights – TBC
  • Unrailed!

Thursday, September 24, 2020

  • Dungreed
  • Ginga Force
  • Going Under
  • Gothic Murder: Adventure That Changes Destiny

Friday, September 25, 2020

  • Mafia: Definitive Edition
  • Port Royale 4
  • Trollhunters: Defenders of Arcadia

Bookmark our new releases page for weekly updates on the latest games. You can also follow Thumbsticks on Flipboard, Facebook, Google News, and Twitter.

Enjoyed this article?

Found it interesting, entertaining, useful, or informative? Maybe it even saved you some money. That's great to hear! Sadly, independent publishing is struggling worse than ever, and Thumbsticks is no exception. So please, if you can afford to, consider supporting us via Patreon or buying us a coffee.

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Hello Games announces No Man’s Sky Origins update

No Man’s Sky is the gift that keeps on giving, from a team we don’t even deserve.

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No Mans Sky book covers
Hello Games / Thumbsticks

No Man’s Sky is the gift that keeps on giving, from a team we don’t even deserve.

Did you know that the procedurally-generated aesthetic for No Man’s Sky was based on pulpy, 70s science fiction novel covers?

(We did know, but it’s still fun to watch the video in the post linked above. For all of its “bazillion of procedurally generated planets” pitch, the aesthetic and the atmosphere of No Man’s Sky are still some of its biggest selling points, especially with the very scary Desolation update from a couple of months ago.)

As the free content updates kept coming for No Man’s Sky, each with its own science fiction cover, it built up a bigger picture: a “shelf” of those pulpy sci-fi book covers.

But when Sean Murray, of Hello Games, tweeted a picture of all the covers together following the Desolation update, it did not escape people’s notice that there was only “room” for one more cover left on that artificial bookshelf of pulpy book covers:

And with the No Man’s Sky Origins update set to be revealed next week, people have been worried that might be the last update we see for the game. The final space on the bookshelf will be filled, as it were.

But according to the blog post announcing Origins, “This update will be another small step in a longer journey.”

Perhaps Hello Games isn’t quite done with No Man’s Sky just yet.


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Found it interesting, entertaining, useful, or informative? Maybe it even saved you some money. That's great to hear! Sadly, independent publishing is struggling worse than ever, and Thumbsticks is no exception. So please, if you can afford to, consider supporting us via Patreon or buying us a coffee.

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