As online play and connectivity become more prominent in the game industry, some feel as though couch co-op has been forgotten. A few developers have tried to amend by incorporating split screen into online modes, with Lightbox's Starhawk being the latest game to utilize the coveted feature.
Starhawk will offer two player split screen during online play, an unfortunate step down from the four player split screen Warhawk offered. Sony says this was a hard decision to make, but they made the call due to not enough people using Warhawk's 4 player option. Offline co-op will also be limited to two players.
The team felt it was more important to work on other aspects of the game, which allowed extra work to go into improving the aspect ratio for split screen players. The screen is split horizontally, with a relatively large section used for the radar map. One has to wonder if having four players would have been detrimental to the Build and Battle System, or forced the to take a hit in terms of visual fidelity.
You can see the enhanced aspect ratio in the screenshots below:
Lightbox was also able to incorporate another awesome feature into Starhawk, the ability for dual PSN login. Like a few other PS3 titles, if two gamers are playing split screen, they can both login with their respective PSN accounts - that way any XP the second player gains is not lost. Players can use this XP to level up their player, even if they are player 2 - what this means is players can probably purchase the newly added "Skills", which act like perks from the Call of Duty franchise. Unfortunately, player two will not be able to earn trophies or character customizations while playing split screen.
For some, the implementation of split screen is probably less than desirable, considering the two player limit and the inability for the second player to earn trophies. But it's really better than nothing, Lightbox could have just done what other developers have done and just made the game single player only. It's good to see Lightbox taking the time to cater to their fans, especially with how obsessed most developers seem to be regarding online play.
Starhawk will release May 8th, 2012 for the PS3.
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Source: PlayStation Blog