Well, that's the end of that - and it finishes not with a bang, but a corporate clarification. Hopes for split-screen Halo 5: Guardians have been dwindling for some time, and now we know it is entirely absent, along with native LAN play support.
It began with a request from a fan on Twitter, asking for clarification on the issue from 343 studio head, Josh Holmes - to which he got this reply:
@bengvr3 @franklez @PlutonForEver @Brav All MP modes use full screen on dedicated servers, incl Coop Campaign, Arena and Warzone.June 28, 2015
What followed was a flurry of speculation about whether that was a straight answer, not least because Holmes had previously stated that the plan was to include 2-player split-screen, if not the expected 4-player set-up. Finally Ars Technica got the final word from a Microsoft spokesman, explaining that split-screen has been removed from every portion of the game:
"The decision [to remove all split-screen modes] was an extremely difficult one for the team, but one that was necessary to deliver the biggest Halo game to date. 343’s focus is to ensure that fans get the best Halo experience yet, and the team felt a split-screen experience would compromise the gameplay design and the visual bar they’ve set."
They also made clear that, like Halo: The Master Chief Collection, native LAN play would not be supported - although that game features a LAN workaround that we expect will exist in Halo 5, too.
Where you'll side on this is very much down to how you feel about the players vs. performance debate - is a compromised game worthwhile if it lets you play with friends offline? Then again, games like Mario Kart 8 run to full spec in full-screen mode, switching to a lower frame rate to accommodate for split-screen. Just saying.