A few days ago I grabbed Titanfall 2 for my PS4. I was excited about playing what many had called the best shooter of the year. I wanted to try out its frantic online modes, I wanted to play through one of the more original and highly touted FPS campaigns in half a decade and I wanted to wall run from the top of a giant tower down into my mechanical killing machine of a best friend. I wanted to do all of those things, but most of all I wanted to do them with my girlfriend. Unfortunately for us, Titanfall 2 doesn’t have Split-Screen multiplayer. This makes me sad.
Thankfully, the game is still fantastic without local multiplayer, but it made me realise something. I’d become so used to playing games online, that I’d totally forgotten that split-screen gaming was a thing, that it was fun and that it was core to how I used to play games.
Unfortunately, it isn’t a game mode that people play anymore, and thus its become an unnecessary feature that soaks up development time and money. Hardware limitations, player engagement and a development cycle that’s interested in efficient money-making have rendered the split-screen (or local multiplayer) mode expendable.
Gamers in 2017 are more interested in playing games with their friends in an online space. It’s quick, easy and accessible. They don’t need to plan a get-together, they don’t need to move furniture and they sure as hell don’t need to argue about who gets the shitty off-brand controller. And yet, I’m here wishing for a world where local multiplayer was more of a thing.
We’ve come an awful long way since Microsoft made online gaming truly viable for console gamers with XBOX Live, but for all of its success, online gaming well never replace the feel of playing games with friends in the same room.
I’ll never play Titanfall 2 with my partner. It can be done, but I’m not sure that even after all that work, that it’ll be the same.