It's looking dark.
Frustrations continue to mount within the competitive Halo community, directed towards Halo Infinite developer 343 Industries and the HCS, following a last-minute decision affecting the first Major of the 2023 season.
Halo esports and viewership lead Tashi announced today that “a bit more time” is needed before the start of qualifiers for the Charlotte Major and there will be delays.
According to Tashi, the online open qualifier would be moved back to Feb. 11-12, while the main qualifier would be moved back to Feb. 13-14. The original dates were Feb. 4-5 for the online open qualifiers, then Feb. 7-8 for main qualifiers.
Tashi says this late decision is due to a pending “balance update” planned for release on Feb. 15, while also providing more time for travel booking and finalizing any last-minute roster moves.
An increased stipend amount is being provided to qualified Halo teams to account for the shifted dates, but the decision has still been widely received negatively by fans, community members, and pro players.
Tommy “Lucid” Wilson, from the reigning world champions OpTic, replied directly to Tashi, asking why 343 wasn’t planning out qualifiers and updates or communicating earlier regarding them. He also claimed decisions made like this would only continue “to hurt the greater comp community” and reduce the drive to compete.
The always outspoken Tyler “Spartan” Ganza of Sentinels mockingly said of the decision: “Its actually impressive at this point. Adds flavor to all of our lives having to adjust to the spontaneous, out of left field decisions and changes that happen.” Numerous others noted players who aren’t full-time professionals that have already called off work or planned around the original dates now might not be able to re-schedule.
As the pros have indicated, this isn’t the first time a late decision by 343 regarding Halo hasn’t sat well with the wider competitive community.
Just a week before the start of the 2022 Halo World Championship in October, HCS announced the events $1 million prize pool would not be increased by crowdfunding contributions as previously promised. That news was not received well at all.
On top of the competitive concerns, Halo Infinite is limping into 2023, and the series is reportedly heading into a complete rebuild, with 343’s involvement unknown.