“Cracking open the old games to make this an official feature is about as big of a 10 as possible on the complexity scale,” says 343’s community manager.
343 Industries’ gradual, staggered rollout of Halo: The Master Chief Collection on PC has now come to an end, with Halo 4 being the last and more recent of releases for the collection on the platform. 343 Industries, however, still planning on updating the collection with future additions and tweaks, and in update on Halo Waypoint, they recently addressed questions from fans regarding many of these.
One particular question asked if adding four player co-op to Halo: Combat Evolved and Halo 2 is part of the plan for the developer, to which 343 Industries’ community manager Tyler “Postums” Davis said that that’s pretty far down their list of priorities. Postums explained that adding four player co-op support to Halo 1 and 2 would be a complication process (especially for the former).
“I absolutely love this idea, but in the grand scope of body of work in the teams backlog of need to do and want to do, this one is further down the list,” he wrote. “Cracking open the old games to make this an official feature is about as big of a 10 as possible on the complexity scale. Now, that’s not saying it can’t be done, but in terms of effort to impact ratio, I think it’s not as far up there as updating the old co-op netcode, or bringing long lost content to the games, or even making other global upgrades with collection wide updates. In the future however, I would not be surprised in the least bit if players are able to mod the game content to make this a reality on PC. In the future when major development support for MCC ends up winding down, the modding community will be where MCC lives on. I know this to be true as we have seen many games on PC take on new forms and longer lifetimes for decades now through communities that mod.”
Senior software engineer Sean “Scoops” Cooper elaborated on that further, adding that on top of debugging, adding 3 or 4 player co-op to Combat Evolved and Halo 2 would also require content changes.
“H1 Remastered’s co-op code is very much hard coded around there only being up to 2 players (or at least the networking parts of it),” Scoops wrote. “So to allow for 3 or 4 co-op players, that would have to be solved for and debugged first.
“Then you have to solve for the content changes. If I recall, the 2nd player spawns in the cryotube to right of the 1st player. But where would the others? Who are these two new mysterious Spartans? Flash clones of John 117? So more player spawn points would have to be added and verified. Plus other scripting related updates. Which runs the risk of inadvertently impacting existing behavior. Speaking of existing behavior, there’s also the design question of what that means for difficulty. H1 was built with 2 players in mind, but what happens with more? Is the game now easier? Are there enough resources for all players? Eg, sniper rifle ammo on T&R. What about vehicles? AoTCR has that over turned Warthog, but that sits three people.
“H2’s existing code is probably more at-the-ready for possibly going to 4 co-op players. However, you still have the same content changes/issues as H1.
“Both H1 and H2 probably also have load time issues to work out if two additional players (and machines) were added to the mix.”