Earlier this week, I wrote an articleabout the upcoming Gears esports season and how TheCoalition were poised to make this the best year competitiveGears has ever seen. However, I’d be remissed if Ididn’t take the time to show appreciation to those whocarried the scene through those dark years.
When Gears of War 3 launched in2011, Epic Games hosted a showcase match at MLG Raleigh betweenformer Gears of War 2, MLG National Champions, “THENSAN3Z” and a team of developers. This was the first showingof MLG support Gears would see since that 2009 circuit run, whichcame to a heartbreaking end, embodied in the famous congaline.
The mere inclusion of Gears ofWar 3 at an MLG event renewed old feelings and carried with it ahope of a new year where Gears would return to prominence as anesports title. Many competitive players had been speaking with thedevelopers from Epic Games and all the talks pointed towards itpotentially being the most competitive Gears title to date. Suchnews led to the assumption that another run on the circuit was allbut a foregone conclusion.
Ultimately, those hopes anddreams remained just that in the end. The game was never picked upand Gears of War fell into obscurity, as titles like Call of Dutywere entering the fold. It was a tough thing to watch for thecommunity seeing other games get the attention Gears once got as anesport, but what was there to do? Without developer support, whatchance does your game stand?
As a community effort, Hypefestation was created purely as a placeholderevent to build hype for the assumed upcoming Gears of War 3 MLG season. Alas, MLGnever did pick up the title, so the community looked towardsHypefestation more and more to provide events for it’sstarving fans.
Many former pros would quit thegame shortly after Hypefestation 2 in early 2012, but Hypefestationwould continue to run events and give a platform for new talent tomake a name for themselves. Top players like Lava, Mental,Xplosive, Toy Soldier, Soto, Kenny, all of which are now on the toptwo Gears teams, OpTic Gaming and Team EnVyUs,wouldn’t make a name for themselves at LAN until Gears of War3. We had lost many fan favorite teams and players but the“GOW3 Babies,” as they’re often referred to,would be the bunch that would come to make up the heart ofcompetitive Gears moving forward.
As one of Hypefestation’smost constant and vocal critics, I’ll be the first to saythat they had many problems. Events would be poorly organized andpoorly planned. Equipment would get lost or stolen. Teams would beleft in the dark as to when they would play, forcing them to remainat venues for hours on end, waiting for their next match to avoid adisqualification. Rulesets would be questionable, if not entirelyambiguous and unclear. Hypefestation 3 even ran until 6 a.m. in themorning after Championship Sunday, causing what I can only assumeas just a nightmarish affair for all those who booked returnflights that Monday morning and afternoon.
But even with all that said, itis undeniable that Hypefestation, through all its problems andmisfortunes, kept competitive Gears alive. Hypefestation was thecentral figure in the Gears community for years without anydeveloper support or major sponsors to contribute. The cost ofevents were covered by the top level organizers, and those thattook roles as casters, referees and production crew, did so asvolunteers. This was Gears esports for the community, by thecommunity and regardless of the results, they did their best andprovided many unforgettable memories and bonds for all those whoattended.
It was a wild journey throughsome very dark and trying days, but in the end, Hypefestationproved to be that one glimmering flame to light the spark of what aGears event is; rough, rowdy, loud and an utterly insatiableappetite for competition. Hypefestation played its role, and forthat, I, on behalf of competitive Gears, would like to say thankyou for all your efforts. It’s because of the platform youall gave that Black Tusk Studios (now known as The Coalition) wereable to see what competitive Gears is and ultimately led to thembringing the scene more and more developer support. We’re nowat the precipice of what will be the most lucrative year for Gearsesports, ever with an optimistic future, and you all played a majorrole in that.
Thanks again and I hope to seeyou all return in the future. Just make sure you choose differentmusic this time.
Please visit the HypefestationFacebook page to take a trip down memorylane
photo credits: Hypefestation