Fans of the Halo series can assemble their friends under one roof and settle in for a good time when Halo Infinite launches, as the upcoming title has been confirmed to support 4-player splitscreen play. Also confirmed by developer 343 Industries is that Halo Infinite will have player customization on par with Halo Reach, and greater support for the game's PC release, which will be the first PC version in franchise history to launch alongside the console release.
Halo, the FPS franchise that set the gaming world alight in 2001, has changed a lot over its 17-year history. That history has been more tumultuous in recent years than when Halo was in its prime, but the next entry in Microsoft's flagship series looks like it's shaping up to be everything fans have been asking of 343 Industries since Halo 4, when the purpose-built studio took the helm from Bungie, the original creator of the Halo franchise. While both of 343's titles received various levels of praise (Halo 4 for its approach to storytelling, Halo 5: Guardians for its innovative take on the series' multiplayer), they were each also heavily criticized by fans and critics alike for mishandling their multiplayer and single-player components, respectively. Halo Infinite was announced at E3 2018 with a promising teaser, and 343 has since been drip-feeding information to waiting fans about the upcoming sixth mainline game until it's given a solid release date.
In a recent live stream on Mixer, developers from 343 Industries delivered various bits of new information while discussing Halo Infinite's ongoing development. The biggest and most welcome news is that 4-player split-screen is confirmed, which was a series mainstay until 343 made the widely condemned decision to exclude it from Halo 5. Also announced was that Halo Infinite's Slipspace Engine is being tailor-made to provide greater parity between the content and optimization of the game's console and PC releases. This is a major pivot since 343's last foray into PC development; Halo 5 Forge was a neutered port of Halo 5 that included only the game's Forge and Custom Games portions, and 343 reassures PC players that Halo Infinite's PC release will be treated like a "first class citizen" this time around. It's hinted at in the stream that 343 is likely winding down Halo 5's post-launch development cycle, but players who reach level 152 in the game's multiplayer will receive an in-game reward in Halo Infinite as thanks for their continued support.
Another subject that 343 has evidently reevaluated is Spartan customization and armor design. Halo Infinite's player customization will be more reminiscent of Halo Reach's lauded customization system, in which each piece of a player's armor could be individually unlocked and equipped. As for armor design, the Halo community (primarily the Halo subreddit) railed against 343's art direction in Halo 5, particularly lambasting the change of previously Spartan black undersuits to colorful ones. In direct response to this outcry, 343 has reiterated that players' Spartans will once again don their black undersuits in Halo Infinite. While not referenced in the live stream, many of those same fans have also often criticized 343's art direction in general, contrasting 343's glossy art style to Bungie's more grounded and realistic textures, so it wouldn't be entirely surprising if Halo Infinite's art style marks a major departure from 343's previous Halo entries.
The most exciting thing about these confirmed improvements is that they're some of the most heavily requested inclusions and changes by the Halo community over the years, demonstrating a willingness and desire on 343's part to change the series for the better in ways that both they and their dedicated core audience see as the best way forward for Halo. This type of balancing act between developers' and players' sometimes conflicting visions of what a game should be is rare because it's a difficult one to manage. The level of humility with which 343 is approaching these concessions and compromises makes the endeavor all the more admirable, and it can be hoped that Halo Infinite will be all the better for it when the game finally releases.
Source: 343 Industries/Mixer