Ground control to Master Chief: you haven’t made the grade, and you’re continuing to leave scads of Halo fans in the lurch.
That’s the sentiment the folks at Halo developer 343 Industries must be seeing a lot of the past 48 hours, after having to cancel a Halo tournament this weekend because of connectivity issues. The tournament was part of the Halo Championship Series (HCS), the official eSports moniker for the sci-fi shooter franchise. It’s been active since November last year in partnership with the Electronic Sports League (ESL), a global eSports outfit that boasts some 5 million members worldwide.
The Halo mothership tweeted the cancelation (the first cup of the second season of the HCS) Saturday night:
We're aware of and investigating party joinability issues. As a result, we'll be canceling HCS Cup #1, and apologize for the inconvenience.
This was supposed to be the HCS’s Season 2 kickoff
As reported by Eurogamer, this weekend should have seen the HCS’s inaugural Season 2 cup rolling through two days of matches. While Saturday’s events apparently transpired without hitches, Sunday’s lineup ran into connection issues that ultimately scuppered the tournament’s finale.
The issues were apparently surfacing already Saturday afternoon
An unofficial HCS Twitter account reported “a lot of protests going on late Saturday afternoon,” attributing it to possible “connection issues.” The official Halo Twitter account cancelation appeared a few hours later.
It’s because the Halo: The Master Chief Collection is still broken
The Halo: Master Chief Collection was supposed to be Microsoft’s Halo magnum opus, an Xbox One-optimized smorgasbord of Halo goodies for completists wanting a fresh look at Microsoft’s iconic series. Instead, it’s turned into more of an embarrassing memento mori.
The trouble lies with the compilation’s ballyhooed online features—in particular, fundamentals like matchmaking—which have been glitchy since the game’s launch on November 11, 2014.
Microsoft and 343 have been releasing patches for the game for months
No one knows why the collection’s matchmaking remains broken six months on, but after forcing players to download multiple, occasionally mammoth post-release patches for half a year (including a few recent patches everyone thought had rectified the issues), the game still isn’t tournament ready.
It’s probably nothing to do with Halo 5‘s multiplayer systems, but it’s certainly not helping the brand
Halo 5: Guardians lands on October 27 this year, and looks to be the most important Xbox One game Redmond’s going to release (as in ever, thinking about it’s importance in relation to console life cycles and install base buildup). If the game fails to bolster Xbox One sales, with Sony’s PlayStation 4 way out ahead of the Xbox One in global sales, it could be catastrophic for the entire Xbox platform.