Believe the Hype are the Halo dynasty that never was. In 2011, at the end of an era for Halo esports, the team played a number of good tournaments, but could never quite beat the all-star lineup fielded by the ever-dominant Instinct. On Sunday, however, the potent band of battle rifle-wielding brethren had a chance to finally exorcise old demons.
This weekend’s Halo Master Chief Collection Launch Invitational was a star-studded reunion of Halo esports royalty. Featuring most of the same faces that dominated the game several years ago, players dusted off their controllers for a shot at $50,000 and a chance to be called the first champion of the new era of competitive Halo.
Matthew “Formal” Piper and the rest of Believe the Hype’s familiar cast of characters topped Tom “Tsquared” Taylor and Str8 Rippin’ for the championship, winning back-to-back sets to overcome their loser’s bracket deficit. The series was a taut affair with copious overtime rounds and tiebreakers before the final verdict.
Championship Sunday was vintage Halo esports, with names like Tyler “Lxthul” Dekraker and Justin “Roy” Brown showing off surprisingly sharp shots for a game whose competitive days are only beginning to stir after lying dormant for some time.
Games were decided by a matter of seconds, as streaking sides overcame tournament favorites. All but a handful of contests were undecided until the final moment.
The event also served as an enticing preview of the upcoming Halo Championship Series, a brand new league organized by Halo’s publishers, 343 Studios. While rosters may change between now and the beginning of the season, witnessing seasoned veterans display the same poise as before bodes well for a game competing in an esports ecosystem that’s more saturated than ever.
While Halo may require new blood to succeed in this brave new world of esports, the future looks promising. Nostalgia is a potent force, and few titles have it like the franchise that made Master Chief a household name—just ask the 50 thousand Twitch viewers that tuned in for a match whose storyline took shape nearly half a decade ago.