Traditionally, online multiplayer matches in the Halo franchise allow for a maximum of 16 players. 343 Industries, the studio behind Halo: Master Chief Collection, may break this tradition soon. During an official Xbox live stream, 343 producer Sean Swidersky confirmed that developers want to increase the player cap of Halo: Master Chief Collection to a massive 40 or even 60 players. Swidersky mentioned that the team is actively investigating and exploring this feature.
Swidersky called the possibility of 60-player matches “wild,” and he implied that achieving this goal lies well within the realm of possibility. However, he also noted that some technical challenges exist that could complicate the process of getting this feature to work. Adding more players makes it more difficult to maintain a consistent framerate. Doing so on older consoles presents even more challenges. 343 Industries could opt to up the player count on PC and current-gen consoles while implementing lower player counts for older consoles, as companies like DICE have done exactly this with their multiplayer games.
Balancing out the chaos
The possibility of higher player counts also presents challenges when it comes to balancing. Halo’s maps are typically designed with a 16-player cap in mind, which means they are fairly small and compact. Allowing 60 players to duke out in these same maps would likely result in extremely cramped, chaotic matches. Workarounds exist for this issue, however, as Halo: Master Chief Collection includes a built-in map editor called Forge Mode. This mode could easily allow modders to craft much larger arenas that could more easily accommodate the 60-player cap.
In a gaming landscape where large-scale battle royales like Fortnite are all the rage, it makes sense for 343 Industries to pursue higher player counts for its projects. Many players will no doubt become excited at the prospect of Halo: The Master Chief Collection accommodating 60 players, so hopefully, 343 Industries can deliver on that idea.