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Gamescom 2014

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halo at gamescom

We have returned from the world’s largest game show. We gave you a brand new look at Halo 2: Anniversary, and if you were with us in Germany, you likely got hands on with the all-new multiplayer. We braved absurd crowds and lines, and most of us made it home alive. I have returned home with a terrible fever, which is why today’s Bulletin is coming in one day late. Thank you for your patience, friends. The below to the left helps to shed light on why we barely survived gamescom.

While this picture does well to show just how packed the gamescom floor is, nothing can prepare you for the show itself. Every square foot of the convention center is always covered. You cannot see the floor. Was there even a floor? I’m not sure. Each hallway, each booth, and each concession stand is packed at all times. Luckily, the Halo booths in the halls were no exception. Thousands of you played Halo 2: Anniversary at the Xbox and ESL booths, and it was beyond exciting to see nostalgic smiles. For those of you who came by and said hello, thank you.

Traveling for industry events always offers something very special: the opportunity to meet Halo fans from all around the world, with different stories about which game is their favorite, why, and how Halo has changed their life. To the members of Italy’s 17K group, Germany’s HaloFactor, HaloFrance and everyone else that we had the pleasure of meeting, we’d like to say thank you. Being able to exchange stories, kills, and email addresses was the highlight of our trip, and we hope to cross paths again soon.

We also shared some new goodness with you at the Xbox gamescom Media Briefing. Included was a look at the just-announced Sanctuary in Halo 2: Anniversary, a first look at The Halo Channel, an all-new interactive digital network that provides personalized access to the Halo Universe, and also a First Look for Halo 5: Guardians, where you might spot a familiar multiplayer landscape. If you missed the goodness, check it out below.

Sanctuary Reveal

Halo Channel Sneak Peek

Halo 5: Guardians Multiplayer Beta First Look

Additionally, while the away was going head to head with crowds, traffic, and germs in Cologne, our Pro Team back home held a 2v2 scrimmage on Halo 2: Anniversary. If you missed the action, you can check it out here.

Halo: The Master Chief Collection gamescom Showdown

Last week’s European excursion also gave us the opportunity to find some of the best Halo 2: Anniversary talent and let them face off against one another in the battle for $10,000 USD in prizing. We teamed up with ESL and Twitch for the Halo gamescom Showdown, which provided for an epic eight team final this past Sunday. Some of you may have joined us (and depending on your locale, you may have stayed up quite late - thank you) for the legendary action, which saw TCM taking first place and claiming the top spot in Europe.

If you’d like to watch the rebroadcast of the event, head here. If you only watch one match, be sure to watch game 2 of the finals – TCM vs VwS on Ascension.

After TCM made their way back to the UK, I caught up with them to get their thoughts on the tournament as well as their competition at the event. Read on to get the scoop from Ramirez, TuFoxy, Riotz, and Chalkie.

TCM: The Interview

halo gamescom winners

Hey, TCM! Congratulations on winning the first ever Halo 2: Anniversary tournament! Tell us about your feelings and expectations coming into the Halo gamescom Showdown.

Ramirez: Feelin' good definitely, lot of confidence and excited to see what the game would play like, placement wise we weren't expecting anything less than the W.

TuFoxy: As a team it was the most driven we have been for a long while. Winning the event was the only outcome that would have satisfied us anything below that wouldn't have been enough.

Riotz: 1st 1st 1st

Chalkie: We knew going into it we had the strongest team of players to compete for that first spot. Even though it was a brand new game on a new console, we still felt very confident we had the previous experience and knowledge to get ourselves to the finish line.

Of the teams that qualified (DZS, Next Gen, DMM, Symphony of God) which did you think was the most impressive? Were there any players in particular that impressed you?

Ramirez: DZS or SoG for sure, Anima is a very special talent and is consistently a problem for other teams to deal with, you could see they were good friends outside of the game as-well as in-game and that helped I think, they were a really well-rounded team.

TuFoxy: Although they didn't progress too far into the tournament I would have to say SoG; on the basis they gave us the best series from the event. Anima played really well in the two games and if they were fortunate enough to not play us we would have seen them in the finals.

Riotz: Would have to be DZS simply because they made the only upset of the event. In terms of players I couldn’t really say... Dukey maybe because he was hitting some naughty snipes from what I saw.

Chalkie: I would say DZS but I’ll focus on a player rather than a team for this one. I knew before coming against this player in the finals he was a bit of a titan when it came to Halo 2 back in the day, he won every event he was at and playing against him it showed he still had a fair bit of his past knowledge to help coordinate plays and predict spawns. Lethal is a big name to watch out for in upcoming Halo events.

halo gamescom

What’s the moment or play that sticks out to you all the most during the tournament?

Ramirez: Our biggest test was the first game of the tournament, down 5 kills in game one to a qualified team, we lose that game we’re one game from tournament elimination, we stopped and took it back into our hands and never looked back. The comeback was just mad – would’ve been phenomenal, don’t think a blue team won an Ascension TS throughout the bracket.

TuFoxy: The majority of the team would say the comeback that nearly happened but in my eyes it was the composure we had when playing SoG Sanctuary TS. As a team they had a very strange playstyle that we had to adjust to, to ensure we closed out the win.

Riotz: Our comeback vs VwS was a good moment. Felt good to entertain some people with something other than a steak dinner in the finals.

Chalkie: Well for me personally it was just every time we played a match it was up on the main stage in front of a healthy sized crowd who, props to them, did produce hype and support for the players competing. But I’ve got to mention the overkill in game 1 of the finals pretty much straight off the bat - that was a good feeling and instantly settled me into the finals.

In game 2 of the finals on Ascension, you clawed your way back from a 24-6 deficit to lose by only 1 kill in dramatic fashion. What was going through your heads after dropping so far behind early on?

Ramirez: Get sniper and break the setup, it’s such a hard task to approach the opposite team but we had to wait and bide our time and make sure we communicated clearly about how we were going to break the setup.

TuFoxy: All in all we knew that blue spawns always get the luck of the break and being so far behind was something we kinda’ expected. At that point in the game basically told one another we needed to step up and slowly claw our way back into the match.

Riotz: Pretty much to keep composure and to get the map into our control. The blue side spawns were so one sided we basically needed them in our favor. Once we had that it was a walk in the park, was just a shame that we didn’t have enough time to get the win.

Chalkie: In all honesty if you could hear our communication in the game then you would have been surprised to hear the fact we were that far behind, we stayed calm and slowed the game down to a pace we could control and slowly tried to break the set up they had. We knew one good set up could flip it on its head, so we got that break and dominated control and the spawns at the latter end of the game to make the comeback real, but due to the time left in the game we had to start getting desperate and pushing really aggressively which ended up causing them to spawn behind myself in the Sniper Tower which in turn lost us the map. We knew after that game it was going to be a great watch and to lose it in the last 2 seconds was a bit heart breaking but we stayed composed and got on with the series game by game.

What were some of the things you all said to encourage each other to keep fighting in that match?

Ramirez: That we were capable of doing it most importantly, realistically we had nothing to lose at that point so we gave our all in to just trying to make it happen, and reminding ourselves that we were closing in on it every-time we chipped kills away from the lead.

TuFoxy: We knew we were the better team and just positive communication resulted in us overcoming the deficit.

Riotz: Just kept reminding each other we were by far the better team and that all we needed was the blue side spawns... Once we got control we just communicated like mad to make sure every kill counted.

Chalkie: We kept emphasizing that if we got one chance to set up and control the map we could still take the game but we knew it was a tall order and that time was against us.

halo gamescom

Is losing that match in such a way more heartbreaking because of how close you were or is it empowering because of the immense comeback?

Ramirez: It’s obviously no fun to come that far and then lose it but we gave it an incredible shot and we knew they were desperately trying to hold onto that game the entire time we were coming back, it gave us so much confidence to do what we did for the rest of the series.

TuFoxy: All in all we took the game as a huge momentum starter. The comeback would have been incredible but we were fine with the outcome.

Riotz: Empowering by far... It’s like boxing when a fighter wins the match but loses the fight.. He and everyone else knows who was better and who would have won if it kept going. That game fueled us to steam the next two games like it was nothing.

Chalkie: It can be heartbreaking depending on how your mentality is but after that game, even after losing it, we knew we were going to come out even stronger so when it was 1-1 I knew we wouldn’t drop another map without at least putting up a fight like game 2.

With game 3 and 4 of that series being the first Team Sniper games we’d seen all tournament long, were there any adjustments that needed to be made for that gametype? Did the strategy change at all? Who would you say is the best sniper on the team?

Ramirez: The main thing to be aware of is being careful when pushing the opposition’s side. It’s quite easy for the other team to take a few seconds off of spawn and get a pre-aim on where they think we’ll push, so we had to make sure no silly deaths were given away. As for the best sniper: Chalkie, then TuFoxy.

TuFoxy: Snipers was something we were really looking forward to. We tried to keep our aggressive playstyle even with the change of gametype. And I would have to say Chalkie is the best sniper as that’s what he’s here for.

Riotz: We had no idea what we were doing, but to basically play it like Team Slayer but just outshoot the other team a hell of a lot more. Our best sniper would have to be Chalkie, although he knows how much better I am than him.

Chalkie: Our confidence and knowledge was increasing after every game we played up on main stage, so we had a little chat. We were entering new grounds, we took it as an opportunity to show everyone how our team can adapt and play to all forms of game types and I’d like to think it showed throughout the course of the tournament. Ramirez from what I saw was the best sniper… that’s what I would say if I was being an all-round nice guy but naaaaaaah I’ll take the glory!

Congrats once again on the win, and we hope to see you at future events! Any last shoutouts?

TCM Halo Team: We’d like to thank you guys so much for an awesome weekend and the opportunity to compete for a slice of $10,000, it is very much appreciated, we would like to thank TCM again for sending us out on such short notice because we know it’s not easy!

PAX Prime

Moments after the gamescom Showdown ended, our team went right back into putting the finishing touches on our plans for PAX Prime this year. Before I even stepped off the stage at last weekend’s tournament, we immediately began finalizing the tournament we’ll be having next weekend at PAX. That’s right, Halo: The Master Chief Collection and Halo 2: Anniversary will be making an appearance on the US eSports stage at the Halo PAX Prime Showdown right here in Seattle.

For the PAX Prime Showdown, we’ll be once again teaming up with Twitch and ESL to bring you top-notch 4v4 gameplay using a similar format to the one seen at gamescom. We’re inviting five teams, and will be qualifying the final three spots on the PAX Prime show floor at the Astro Gaming and Skullcandy Gaming booths.

The following teams have received invites to the tournament:

eXcellence

iGotUrPistola
Snipedown
ACE
StrongSide

Triggers Down

Heinz
Hysteria
FearItSelf
Lethul

VwS USA

Goofy
Mikwen
Naded
Legit

Darkest Hour

Elumnite
Cobys2Fast
Wolfmayne
Frosty

TCM

Ramirez
TuFoxy
Riotz
Chalkie

In addition to these invited teams, we’ll be looking for teams on the show floor to fill the remaining spots in the 8-team bracket. Our friends at ASTRO Gaming and Skullcandy Gaming will be holding qualifiers in their booth all day Friday, where eager teams can earn wild card tickets into the tournament finals, taking place Saturday and Sunday. To be one of the qualified teams, stop by one of these booths and lay down one of the top win streaks of the day. At the end of the day on Friday, we’ll take the top performers from the floor and throw them into the finals.

The finals will be taking place on Saturday and Sunday at Twitch.tv/Halo. The finals will feature some new game types, and the format will be a double elimination, best of 5 bracket with all matches streamed on the main stage, so you won’t miss a single moment of the action.

Lastly, we’ll once again have $10,000 in prizing, with all 8 teams taking home some cash. The prizing breakdown is as follows:

Halo PAX Prime Showdown Prizing

1st: $5,000
2nd: $1,500
3rd: $1,000
4th: $700
5th: $600
6th: $500
7th: $400
8th: $300

We’ll have more information on the qualifiers, finals, casters, and more in next week’s Bulletin. We can’t wait for the matches to get kicked off, and whether it’s in person or on Twitch, we hope you’ll join us next weekend for the Halo PAX Prime Showdown!

Additionally, if you’ll be attending PAX Prime and want to get hands on with Halo: The Master Chief Collection and Halo 2: Anniversary multiplayer, swing by the Xbox booth - we’ll be waiting for you with some brand new experiences, and the first opportunity to play in North America. Lastly, we’ll have a panel on Saturday from 11:00AM-12:00PM - block your calendars - we’ll be back with more info next week.

We’ll have more details about PAX and beyond next week – talk to you then.

Until then,

- Bravo

P.S. - GH057ayame and Neighbor challenged Bonnie Ross and 343 management to the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge earlier this week. Check out what happens next below!

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