Halo 5‘s lack of a series-standard local co-op mode has been a disappointment for many longtime fans, but a new crowdfunded device presents a simple solution for gamers who want to enable split-screen play in any video game.
Skreenz, a device that allows users to display up to four HDMI sources on a single screen, promises an innovative solution for games that abandon local play in favor of online multiplayer modes. The tool’s Kickstarter campaign has entered its final hours, and to date has earned more than $400,000 in backer pledges, greatly surpassing its initial funding goal of $25,000.
Skreenz promises a lag-free solution for local co-op, letting up to four players across four consoles display their in-game progress on a single television screen. Skreenz users can manage, resize, and rearrange on-screen HDMI sources via a smartphone app, which enables advanced features like layering, transparency, cropping, and multi-channel audio mixing.
The Skreenz framework allows for simple adjustments like displaying television broadcasts alongside gameplay, or combining multiple HDMI sources via a picture-in-picture presentation. The device can also aid in streaming, allowing players to display webcams and other video sources on top of gameplay footage. VR support is also in the works.
Skreenz has obvious applications for players wanting to return to the glory days of GoldenEye 007‘s split-screen multiplayer on the Nintendo 64. While split-screen play is a preferred option for many groups of gamers – especially in the context of co-op play – many recent games have abandoned this functionality in favor of online multiplayer exclusively.
Earlier this year, the co-op shooter Evolve launched with no local multiplayer, even though split-screen play was a critical component in developer Turtle Rock Studios’ previous team-based FPS Left 4 Dead. Earlier this week, Halo 5 launched with its co-op mode restricted to online play via Xbox Live, with no option for local play.
Given that all previous Halo games featured split-screen multiplayer in some capacity, Halo 5‘s sudden abandonment of the feature sparked controversy among longtime fans. Disappointed players submitted dozens of one-star reviews for Halo 5 on Amazon as a direct result of the feature’s removal, tanking the game’s overall customer rating.
Skreenz’ crowdfunding campaign continues through November 1st. The device is expected to ship out to backers in March of 2016.