343 explains Halo 5s focus on a 4-player co-op campaign

When it's not involving itself in an awkward UFC cross-promotion, 343 Industries is hard at work making the last few changes to shooter sequel Halo 5: Guardians. So far we've seen how new mode Warzone works (which takes a few cues from League Of Legends) and learned that 343 knows where the series is going in the next decade, but what about that focus on a four-player co-op campaign. Even if you want to play alone you'll still have three AI squadmates backing you up in the main story. In the latest issue of Official Xbox Magazine, studio head Josh Holmes reveals the genesis for it began with the success of Halo 4.

The story begins three years ago. “We were winding down on Halo 4 and thinking about moving to a new console, and we had already planned some of the technological upgrades that we wanted to make to the engine,” recalls Holmes. “And early on we started talking about the types of stories that we wanted to tell and the experiences that we wanted to create, and we really wanted to focus on a much more sociable experience, especially in our campaign. “And that sort of led us in the direction of building up the two squads, each of which has four Spartans that you can control, which would enable us to support seamless drop-in, drop-out cooperative play. We also wanted to introduce a new character in Agent Locke, who would be a direct contrast to the Master Chief, and allow us to examine the Chief more closely as a character via an external perspective or lens, if you will.”

“I think co-op has always been a big part of Halo’s campaign, but in the past it’s sort of been treated as a completely separate experience, where you just have three other clones of the Master Chief running side by side,” adds Holmes. “The narrative breaks down. One of the big creative goals that we had for Halo 5 was to bring that into focus and support it through the story.

The latest issue of Official Xbox Magazine, with Halo 5: Guardians on the cover, is out now. Download it here or subscribe to future issues.