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The Holy Grail: Four Player Online Coop In Halo 3

It seems that Luke Smith first dropped the one-word bomb of confirmation in the NeoGAF forums, but in case anyone had any doubts, Smith immediately followed up with an official post on Bungie.net, which was then posted about just about everywhere, including HBO, The Hushed Casket, Xbox360Fanboy, GameSpy, and even Major Nelson.

So the long and the short of it is that, in line with fan expectations, Halo 3 will have online cooperative player over both System Link and Xbox Live. In fact, doing last year's shooter supreme Gears of War one better, it will support not just two players, but up to four players in this mode.

Smith tells us why Bungie was silent until now on this most-requested feature:

We've been playing it for quite some time, and bluntly, having some of our greatest ever Halo experiences. We wanted to make sure all our "t"s were crossed and our "i"s dotted before unveiling this important new part of Halo 3's Campaign mode.

Apart from the horrifying network challenges this new mode presented us, were the various gameplay balance issues it adds to the fray. So we got it all together, polished it, and that's why we're revealing it now. As a result, you're going to want to play co-op as hard as you can stomach it. We'd certainly recommend Legendary, but we'll be revealing some more ways to make the game more interesting and challenging for multiple players in the very near future.

Acting as a team is a fantastic new twist to the Campaign gameplay - something that works as well on foot, in close confines as it does on the battlefield, with large scale vehicle mayhem. Scared of Jackal snipers? Send out a scout to see what dangers lie ahead. Terrified of an open field? Flank your enemies and swipe their rides. The combinations and scenarios are endless - and you'll be able to enjoy them time and time again in Saved Films of your co-op exploits.

We mentioned that we've been having a blast. We have a lot of stories. Many of them would require that we explain some of the reasons replay will be a big factor, but not quite yet. Soon, we promise.

Check out the full article at Bungie.net for details on the Elite characters that cooperative players 3 and 4 will have to choose from; players 1 and 2, of course, are the Master Chief and the Arbiter, as widely suspected after the multiple appearances of the pair in the E3 Campaign Trailer.

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Comments

This will add a ton of replay value to the game. I know older gamers at work that would rather play online co-op that online multiplayer or offline campaign. I can see this being a huge hit. Gears of War's online co-op was a ton of fun. I can't wait to see what kind of achievements/rewards that Bungie offers.

I'm trying to decide what I want to do on Sept. 25th. Do I go it alone through campaign or do I play online co-op?

What are you going to do first?

Rap, I honestly don't know yet. There's something to be said either way: the fun of exploring the new content with friends, or familiarizing oneself beforehand.

It'll probably just come down to whether or not somebody is around to coop with the second I get my grubby mitts on Halo 3, because whichever way I decide to play, I'm not going to wait around long :)


Rampant for over se7en years.

No question for me. I'm doing my first run through solo with my Live set to "antisocial hermit" mode. Once I'm done I'll rejoin the world of men, but until then I want to go through with no distractions or interruptions.

-- Steve wants to devote his full attention to the game... and would feel self-conscious running through with an audience the first time.

Well, choosing between starting off the campaign as online co-op or by yourself is kind of hard. Just one question. Can You do a 4 player co-op on a single console without xbox live? If so then I would probably start off on co-op. If not then I would start the single player campaign on normal to get used to the game. Then I would do it on legendary by my self and then with other players online.

[quote=spartan182]Well, choosing between starting off the campaign as online co-op or by yourself is kind of hard. Just one question. Can You do a 4 player co-op on a single console without xbox live? If so then I would probably start off on co-op. If not then I would start the single player campaign on normal to get used to the game. Then I would do it on legendary by my self and then with other players online.[/quote]

My understanding is that for cooperative play (unlike multiplayer) the limit is 2 split-screen players per box; so for four you'd need at least two boxes and a network connection, either LAN (system link) or Xbox Live.

I don't believe Bungie has stated why, but I'd speculate it has to do with the Xbox hardware trying to produce 4 viewports (perhaps from radically different locations) all on the same console, as well as tracking all those player and AI inputs and other actors and objects.

Besides, even with the relatively spartan-looking (pun intended) multiplayer environments of Halo or even Halo 2, I find 4 player split screen eye-straining even on large displays; with the level of detail in Halo 3 I think four splits would be squint-inducing.


Rampant for over se7en years.

My biggest concern about the co-op in Halo 3 is whether or not there will be an option for the screen to be split vertical or horizontal when playing on a wide screen TV set. I did not like how Halo 2 was limited to a vertical split only.

Actually, you could get either in Halo 2-- it depends on what aspect ratio your Xbox is set for.

If it's set for widescreen (16:9) you'll get a vertical split.

If it's set for standard (4:3) you'll get the old Halo 1-style horizontal split.

Marathon does split screen horizontal even in 16:9 mode; the screen is noticeably thin, but playable.


Rampant for over se7en years.

Yes, but I'm concerned about playing a horizontal split screen while being able to play the game in a widescreen setting on the 360. If I set the aspect to 4:3 and create the horizontal split on my widescreen TV, I lose the widescreen capability of the TV (What I mean by this is black bars cover the left and right portions of the screen). If I would like to use the entire viewable area of the TV, I am limited by Halo 2 on the 360 to a vertical split only. I'm hoping that Halo 3 will give the option to play a horizontal split on a widescreen setting, despite it being somewhat elongated.

Is it not possible to bring friends without an Xbox live account online with you? I know in Halo 2 you could and they'd be identified as 1"your user name". What am I doing wrong? Or did Halo 3 screw you out of letting friends play unranked games?

As far as I know that's still possible.


Rampant for over se7en years.