The Halo Championship Series 2021-2022 season kicked off this weekend with open series tournaments across all four regions, and the launch left a strong first impression, especially at the North American kickoff event.
The NA HCS Open Series event peaked at over 40,000 viewers on Twitch and culminated with OpTic's Halo team taking down Cloud9 in the Grand Finals in dramatic fashion, a solid spectacle to celebrate the new season and launch of Halo infinite. The victory was of special importance to OpTic Gaming, who debuted their first Halo team since the recent merger with Team EnVy.
The HCS launch as a whole received rave reviews from many viewers and members of the esports industry. Among those praising the event were 100 Thieves owners Nadeshot and Courage, who complimented the production of the event and the quality of the new game.
"What a statement from Halo," said Nadeshot. "Their re-entry into esports has been nothing short of incredible. Balanced maps, ranked play and a multi-million dollar tournament circuit out of the gate two weeks after release. Bravo @Halo."
CouRage reacted to the kickoff tournament saying: "What a series. Congratulations to OpTic on winning the first HCS Open Qualifier! But, most importantly…congratulations to the Halo team! This is the gold standard of launching a game with competitive support. Well done. So much fun to watch. Halo is back."
Other prominent members of the esports industry also saw a lot of potential in this past weekends HCS events.
The full 2021 HCS schedule was released this past week. The competition will take place across four regions, North America, EU, Mexico, and AU + New Zealand. Each region will feature a regional Spring and Fall split made up of opens and qualifiers which will determine the teams who will compete in four different majors scheduled to take place throughout the season.
The HCS Kickoff Major Raleigh 2021 takes place on Dec. 17-19, it will be the first international major of the season. The Split 1 finals will take place at the HCS Major Kansas City 2022 tournmanet on Apr. 24-May 1, and the Split 2 finals will take place at the HCS Major Orlando 2022 tournament on Sept. 23-25. Finally, the season will culminate in the Halo World 2022 Championship on October 20-23, 2022.
While it is just the beginning of the season, the HCS left a strong first impression and is starting off with a decent amount of momentum. We will have to wait and see if the HCS can turn this momentum into a meaningful, lasting esports presence.
Aaron is an esports reporter with a background in media, technology, and communication education.