Although some first-person shooters are almost entirely competitive multiplayer focused, like Star Wars Battlefront or Titanfall, the Halo franchise still tries to deliver a high-quality, unique experience for the campaign and the multiplayer. Most recent news about the upcoming Xbox One exclusive has been focused on the game’s competitive multiplayer modes and maps, but co-op campaign is still going to be one of the most exciting new features in Halo 5 this fall.
Usually, the Halo games are a one-man show as Master Chief shoots his way through enemies with occasional moral support from Cortana or an AI troop of space marines. Things should be much more team-based this time around, as players work collaboratively with a squad of teammates to power through the game’s campaign. A recent demo displayed by the game’s developers explains that even when players aren’t playing the campaign with friends using the online co-op mode, the other squad members will still be there to help out.
A demo on display at Gamescom revealed that the three squad members will always appear with the main character, regardless of whether or not they are playing co-op. The three squad members will be AI-controlled if players are alone and will continue to help player one clear each level. The game will shift back and forth between Chief’s Blue Team and Locke and his crew.
It sounds like the two squads are both closely linked to the game’s narrative, so it makes perfect sense that the other characters stick around outside of co-op sessions. Most of the game’s dialogue and cut-scenes are likely built with the full squads in mind, so some continuity problems might start to pop up if those characters disappeared when a player decided to solo the game.
The real question is how smoothly the squad members will impact the gameplay. There are definitely some games that pull off AI squads very well; just look to the Call of Duty franchise for a few examples. Luckily, Halo has the benefit of featuring AI companions many times before in its history. Usually Chief gets help from a squad here and there, rather than having three constant companions, but it’s not like this will be an entirely new experience for longtime fans of the franchise. As long as the AI squad members are well-programmed and follow the lead of the actual player, this feature seems like a no-brainer.
Do you think the squad mechanic will help or hurt the gameplay? Are there other games with AI squads that you liked? Let us know in the comments.
Halo 5: Guardians will release for Xbox One on October 27, 2015.