Written by Joe Baker Tuesday, 22 November 2011 21:50
Fall is here and games are in the air! After another dry summer, the floodgates have been opened to the brutal clash for market dominance known to the gaming industry as “holiday season.” I’ve been combing CAG and stocking up online coupons in anticipation of the onslaught.
Who doesn’t have something to be happy about? Skyrim has resonated with at least 3.4 million people, Modern Warfare 3 almost doubled that with 6.5 million sales in the first week, and we’ll see just how much the gargantuan Wii user base reacts when Skyward Sword drops later this Sunday. Will the golden Wiimote move extra units or has this N64-era tactic gone stale? The only people I know who don’t seem to be happy with all this is Battlefield fans.
Last time, I talked about the rivalry between the Call of Duty and Battlefield franchises. Fans of each respective game tend to go a little crazy about why one is better than the other, but the lack of split-screen multiplayer in Battlefield 3 has many fans irate.
It’s not news, of course. Eurogamer broke the story way back in August in an interview with DICE general manager, Karl Magnus Troedson, who confirmed there would be no local split-screen. Moreover, Battlefield games are known for leaving out split-screen views for offline co-op campaigns, so hardened fans of the series shouldn’t be surprised. The new fans? Well…
“This...just sucks. Totally ruined my anticipation for this game.” – SODIS
“Not buying. BF3 has been looking to be a terrible game so far in terms of design choices.” - SoaringDive
“Although no previous Battlefields have had splitscreen, the fact that they were openly challenging a game like MW3 and end up not implementing a feature like this is just baffling.” - faris_ruhi
“Dumbass Battlefield 3 programmers be jackin with my split screen. Damn you battlefield. I hate you for what you have done to me. There is a huge uproar about this. I have been affected personally.” Schlomo82
Opinions are sharply divided, and fans who spent money on the game not knowing about the series’ stance on split-screen are enraged. Their anger is understandable; split-screen gaming has been a part of the hobby for as long as 20 years. I can’t forget the elementary school Goldeneye 007 matches late into the night. Who hasn’t had a monumental win in multiplayer Mario Kart? Split-screen represents a way of enjoying a game that's been so close to the core of multiplayer that a game without it seems like something incomplete.
Some argue that split-screen has died, killed off by online gaming. Who needs a split screen when you can play with friends over the net? If I had to guess, I would say that split-screen use is down since online gaming became so accessible, but that doesn’t change the fact that our nostalgia for certain types of games (especially shooters) demands that it should be there, especially when rival games like Modern Warfare 3 and Halo offer it.
Our expectations are going to have to evolve with the hardware.
Battlefield 3 is one of the most graphics intensive games on any console (PC included) and split-screen requires a machine to reproduce super complex environments up to four times on the same screen. Factor in Battlefield’s ultra-destructive environments, light/textures, and the impressive audio engineering and you have an experience that simply can’t be reproduced in multiples on the same screen.