HCS NA Regional Finals to no longer include spectators, in-person open bracket following rise in COVID cases

Adding to the growing list of events canceled or reworked due to the pandemic, the North American Regional Finals for the Halo Championship Series at Anaheim will no longer feature a live audience.

Additionally, the open bracket qualifiers that would have taken place at the event have been moved to an online setting, the HCS team said in a tweet.

As the next in-person event marked on Halo Infinite’s 2021-2022 season, the event had been initially planned to replicate the success of the Kickoff Major hosted in Raleigh during December last year. An open bracket tournament at the event would decide which eight teams would face off against the top eight from HCS Raleigh, who automatically qualified for the championship bracket. Concerns over the evolving state of COVID and its new variants has led to 343 Industries transitioning it online to reduce the risk presented to the staff and championship teams who will be competing in Anaheim. The online qualifier will decide which teams are able to travel to make up the full 16 team bracket at the venue.

“The safety of the Halo community, as well as our staff, is and always will be the top priority,” the HCS team explained in the post. “Open events are at the core of Halo esports and we will always strive to maintain an open ecosystem at our events whenever possible.”

More information on the NA Regional Finals and its format is planned to be released on Friday, Jan. 14, including dates for the qualifiers and details on the event itself. The tournament at Anaheim is still scheduled to begin on the weekend of Friday, Feb. 11. It remains to be seen whether the HCS Major in Kansas City slated for late April will see a similar fate.