Introducing The Halo Championship Series, A Competitive eSports League From 343, Microsoft, And ESL

By Matthew Buzzi , Updated Nov 05, 2014 03:26 PM EST

343 and Microsoft have stepped forward to support competitive Halo in a big way.

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The two--also partnering with ESL and Twitch--have announced the Halo Championship Series, the franchise's very own eSports league. Halo had long been a staple of MLG for years before falling in popularity with Halo Reach in favor of other titles, but this dedicated and well-supported circuit will bring it back into the competitive gaming limelight.

"The "Halo Championship Series", or HCS, was born of 343 Industries' desire to curate a quality eSports experience--for pro players, enthusiasts, and spectators--by creating a single sanctioning body for Halo," the announcement from Microsoft reads. "Designed to foster the best environment and platform for competitive multiplayer, the HCS will showcase, sponsor and support existing tournament organizers in the growing landscape of eSports today."

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"To help fulfill this ambition, 343 Industries has teamed up with Twitch, ESL, and various tournament organizers to create a year of high-stakes action featuring Halo 2: Anniversary, the newly reimagined multiplayer engine within Halo: The Master Chief Collection."

The tournament circuit will launch in full with Halo 5, but will begin running competitions with Halo 2 Anniversary when it releases later this month. ESL is already holding its own The Master Chief Collection launch tournament, but this new league will having both ESL and 343's support.

A group of dedicated pros--some of the best from the peak of competitive Halo 2 and Halo 3-- have stayed with the community through a series of smaller tournaments while Call of Duty and MOBAs became popular will take part in ESL's tournament. They'll be competing in ESL's tournament as the majority of the eight invited teams, and will likely be a fixture of competitive Halo's future in the Halo Championship Series. Here's the details on how the tournament will operate:

- The first season of the Halo Championship Series will kick off shortly after the launch of Halo: The Master Chief Collection, and run from November (preseason) through March of 2015.

- Teams of four Spartans will compete in a structured series of online and in-person LAN events.

- All officially sanctioned tournaments (LAN and online) will award HCS points to the top teams.

- At the end of each season, teams with the highest HCS point totals will be invited to compete at the HCS season finals in March 2015. More details to be announced.

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