Sunday, May 29, 2022

Passionate fans lead Halo’s future at the HCS Kickoff Major Raleigh 2021

If you’ve been to Reddit or various parts of Twitter over the past four years, you have likely come across this image of one of the viewing areas at the 2017 Halo World Championship Finals.

It doesn’t matter whether you know about competition or not gloriole, it’s hard to argue against the legendary franchise’s impact on esports history and culture over the years. To say even in 2017 that this was a sad sight for Halo fans new and old would have been an understatement. As Hector “H3CZ” Rodriguez from OpTic Gaming explained in a vlog At the time, more visitors were watching the event on the main stage, but that didn’t make the lack of visitors any less disappointing.

In 2021, Halo Infinite aims to breathe life into a once vibrant scene full of passionate fans and world-class talent, and it works. In the face of a global pandemic, people turned up in droves to find one sold out Raleigh Convention Center for the first major Halo LAN event in two years: the Halo Championship Series Kickoff Major Raleigh 2021.

A new era of Halo fandom at the HCS Kickoff Major Raleigh 2021

The HCS Kickoff Major Raleigh 2021 didn’t accidentally break the audience record of the Halo franchise on day one. Halo fans, players, and even organizations have been waiting for this day for years and when it came they were ready.

Antimatter Gaming Co-Founder Steven “Brokenarrow” Costello, 31, is a veteran in Halo; he remembers the old days of major league gaming and the infamous scene at the Halo World Cup. He drove seven hours from Pennsylvania to Raleigh, North Carolina on December 16 to support his team; he didn’t arrive in town until 6 a.m. EST on the first day of the event.

“It’s good to see how many teams show up, so many people show up,” said Costello. “It’s good to see enough organizations and sponsors and everything else behind it. It feels like it’s back. We’re not quite busy yet, but we’re starting these steps to become the next best thing again. “

Antimatter Gaming defeated Team Reality Check on December 17th in the open bracket phase of the HCS Kickoff Major Raleigh 2-0. When asked about the game’s future prospects and the current hype surrounding Halo’s resurgence, Costello was confident the numbers speak for themselves.

I mean 272 teams came forward, 4v4; that’s massive, ”said Costello. “Halo hasn’t had that in 10, five years. It just hasn’t existed since Halo 3 days. Even Halo 5 and Halo Reach; they did not reach these numbers. “

Robert “Pops” Walker, 47, and Prince Walker, 23, are one Father and son stream duo who got into playing Halo 5 together after the latter graduated from college. When Prince Walker found out that Halo Infinite had its first major, the duo immediately booked tickets. The couple arrived in Raleigh after a 12.5 hour drive from Chicago and are attending a live halo event of any kind for the first time.

“We’ll probably be at every event from now on,” said Walker. “I’m just excited to be in the Halo community. That was my big thing: I wanted to meet everyone and see how it is. In terms of streaming, connections would be great, but we’re only here to have fun. “

His father agreed with similar enthusiasm.

“We love that things like this can connect the world,” said Pops. “It seems like one of those things that is just a game, but look at all the different faces and different places to get out. Especially after the last two years. The people are here; I think it’s what we need to heal the world. “

Becoming the “next big thing” again

Halo may have had one of the busiest, most energetic scenes in esports in the early 2000s, but the esports landscape has changed dramatically since then.

In a world full of AAA titles like League of Legends, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and VALORANT that are constantly breaking records, selling out stadiums and pushing boundaries, Halo Infinite has its job. These games have redefined what it means to be a successful esport over the years.

After just one day, Halo Infinite has already broken its own record. Who knows how long the hype will last, but according to host and commentator Alex “Goldenboy” Mendez, Halo’s rise to success will take time and patience.

“Halo was always the big cheese at MLG events, you know,” Goldenboy said on an episode of Upcomers Untold Tales. “They showed up and everyone was practically there for Halo … This is going to be a very long process, but I’m very optimistic about the future of HCS with Infinite.”

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