Co-Op gaming's been in a weird place lately. On the one hand, you've got the indie scene, in which local co-op dungeon crawler/twin-stick shooter/roguelike/beat-em-up games are coming in at an almost comically fast rate. On the other, you've got AAA developers slowly, but surely, moving away from any form of local co-op. Unfortunately, Ubisoft's For Honor is the latest victim of said movement.
From the beginning, For Honor's developers had been hoisting the flag of split-screen multiplayer, calling it a "key feature" of the game, but the recent closed alpha seems to have swung their opinion in the opposite direction. It will still feature two player online co-op, of course, but Ubisoft Montreal has decided to focus their remaining efforts on polishing both that and other, non-local, aspects of their medieval combat simulator.
It's sad to see local multiplayer scratched from yet another game, but given the potential for performance struggles that have plagued past split-screen titles, it's entirely possible that optimizing the local experience required far more effort than it was worth. As much as I would've enjoyed plopping down on the couch and beating up on a few dozen knights with a friend, I'd much prefer to see a single fully realized co-op experience than two mediocre ones.
We'll find out if that's really the case, though, when For Honor hits PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4 on February 14th of next year.