343 Industries has announced that they are partnering with MLG for the upcoming HCS season (Halo Championship Series). Around the time of Halo 4, Halo left the MLG pro circuit in favor of Virgin Gaming and later moved on to work with ESL. Competitive Halo viewership has appeared to decline ever since. Many fans have sworn that MLG would be the only entity that could “save” Halo in the competitive space.
Back in the early days of Halo, it was easy to think you had mastered the game. Your friends didn’t want to play against you anymore, the local kids at the LAN center knew your tag, and you even climbed the online ranks of Halo 2 all the way past 30. You were the best Halo had to offer. Then in 2005, you watched as Team 3D completely dismantled a loaded bracket in New York to remind you that you were mortal and that this new professional scene played host to a level of player you had never seen.
Major League Gaming gave birth to the legends of Halo. The Ogre twins showed you why your duo partner was garbage. TSquared taught you to frag like a pro. Gandhi taught you how to talk trash. Ghostayame showed you what flag juggling should look like. Strongside never missed a shot. So many more players came and went through the organization. So many of them changed professional gaming. Remember when Walshy bought a house? When you couldn’t drink a Dr. Pepper without seeing TSquared’s face? The MLG was the vehicle that made that all happen. Adam Apicella and Sundance DiGiovanni made that happen. Halo was king of the not-yet-coined esports world. (Side note: for my money it doesn’t get any better than 2005 Las Vegas Finals.)
When the popularity of Halo started to falter during Reach’s time, MLG made the decision to drop Halo from the rotation. Some wondered if that marked the end for competitive Halo. Smaller organizers like AGL and UMG picked up tournaments and kept it afloat. Beyond Entertainment and other fan-run communities fueled the scene with free tournaments. The scene never quite returned to the same power that it had during the days that MLG hosted the game. Even when 343i themselves announced their own series, there was something missing. Despite an incredible prize pool, a dedicated group of employees, and a few great balloons outside of a tent, competitive Halo just wasn’t the same. It needed something else.
Well cue your favorite Simms meme up boys. Crack out the WutFace. Find your favorite Moses spreadsheet. MLG and Halo are partnered again. Long live the king.
You can read more about the partnership and the upcoming plans for the HCS on Halo’s official blog.