Halo Infinite’s launch has marked the start of the storied franchise’s most unified and exciting push in esports yet, with many new and old faces stepping up to get in early to claim the mantle of being the best in the game. Status Quo, a legacy brand launched in 2008, has been revived as Michael ‘Flamesword’ Chaves prepares to earn a spot at the top of the competitive scene.
343 and Esports Engine, the architects of Halo Infinite’s esports circuit, are gearing up to host the inaugural in-person event for the title on December 17-19 in Raleigh, North Carolina. While household names like OpTic Gaming and Sentinels will go into the event with all eyes on them, it’ll be hard for longtime Halo fans to not pay attention to another: Status Quo.
Created in 2008 by Flamesword and teammates BRAKE, Prolific, and S1y Fox, Status Quo took many forms over the following years until it really started to compete with the best towards the latter end of Halo 3’s lifespan. Having brushed up against some of the franchise’s most iconic teams over the years — Final Boss, Triggers Down, Believe the Hype, and Instinct to name a few — Flamesword is looking to further SQ’s legacy in the newly released title.
Dexerto sat down with Flamesword and his business partner, tax attorney and accountant Andrew Gordon, to discuss their ambitions, why now is the time for the brand to return, and why Halo Infinite seems poised to bring the franchise back into the esports limelight.
The revival of Status Quo
“We’re the only old school name in there now so it’s gonna be exciting,” Flamesword said of Status Quo. “I learned so much with OpTic with media while I was competing so I’ve become this hybrid who knows how to do everything H3CZ has taught me. I can teach my teammates now so they can create their own brands.
“We’re looking to make this a whole thing. We have the Halo team and already have a content creator that we’re in talks with. We’re just starting where my roots are, where I know that I can build something.”
As mentioned earlier, the long-time Halo competitor has come together with businessman Gordon who will oversee the more technical side of the company while Flamesword puts two of his passions, competition and content, first.
“Andrew has been with [OpTic president] H3CZ since the beginning,” Flamesword explained. “I met him when OpTic ended up selling for the first time. Knowing this guy who’s been involved with H3CZ and OpTic for the longest time, and with Halo Infinite coming out, I decided to make my own team while competing — despite noticing a lot of players coming to me to try and gravitate orgs towards them. It’s such a new realm for me, it’s a scary thing knowing that I’m gonna be competing as well as running an org.
“I know Andrew has all the knowledge in the world to help me business-wise so I can focus on gaming and media, which obviously I learned from H3CZ and OpTic Gaming. Going back to when I first started playing, I had that Status Quo picture pack for the Xbox 360 and that was awesome. Now, if I can get a partner skin, I know that kids are buying this skin and representing what started it all for me… that would just blow my mind.”
— Michael “Flamesword” Chaves (@Flamesword) December 13, 2021
“Competitive gameplay is the core but we’re establishing a brand around Status Quo,” Gordon told Dexerto. “We’ll have content creators, we’re going to be handling sponsorships and those types of things for the players and for the organization. Not quite a large organization with all these different teams yet but, at the start, Halo’s at the center and we have support functions around that.
“I’ve been working with some of the largest esports organizations over the years. I’ve also worked with many pro players, mainly in Call of Duty but in other games as well. Bringing all of my knowledge and experience in growing organizations to Status Quo so it becomes a large organization is my goal.”
Beyond the GreenWall
Not many people have been able to call themselves a member of OpTic Gaming over the years, especially on the content side of the organization. It’s typically been reserved for those who mesh incredibly with the other members of the squad, sharing a passion for gaming and content.
- Read More: OpTic Halo returns after merger with Envy
Flamesword spent years in the organization in different capacities, whether that be as a player and captain for the OpTic Halo squad or as a content creator. You’d imagine not returning to the org now that it’s back in H3CZ’s hands (albeit under Envy Gaming ownership) would be strange for him, but he believes this move is exactly what he was working towards while representing the GreenWall.
“When I first joined OpTic the phone call with H3CZ was ‘Let’s build something”‘ and that’s what I’ve always wanted to do in my life,” Flamesword told Dexerto. “After all the crazy OpTic stuff happened and with Envy’s team turning into OpTic, H3CZ knew I still wanted to compete.
“We hung out one-on-one for five hours and actually built out this whole thing. It’ll obviously be super hard in the beginning but I know the content game and Halo is something that I love, so combining what I’ve learned with OpTic with something that I actually love — I’m going to have fun every single day.”
“I have a lot of people come to my stream and comment on my YouTube videos and ask when I’m going back to OpTic,” he continued. “You have Nadeshot over at 100 Thieves, H3CZ is doing his thing, MBoZe has Rich And Lonely, BigTymeR has Green Wall St, and so on. Everyone’s still involved, but they’re doing their own thing and building. This is what H3CZ set me up to do. All of us to do. I honestly believe 20 years from now, we’ll see that OpTic Gaming group all get back together for a year of crazy stuff or whatnot, a little reunion.”
The promise of Halo Infinite
“There were only eight partnered teams and now 100 Thieves are showing interest in Halo Infinite,” said Flamesword. “I think that’s amazing for the game but also great for us starting this org, being one of the only old school names that anyone that from that time will know. It reminds me of when Tsquared brought Str8 Rippin for Halo 5.
“I believe with Halo Infinite that, it’s in the name, the possibilities are infinite,” Flamesword said. “Even in beta, people have only had a couple of playlists to choose from and the numbers haven’t been going down. The increase in content across the board has been insane and it’s not slowing down. When there’s not a tournament going on, you still see viewership numbers remaining stable. It’s big!
“With Final Boss seemingly returning, with 100 Thieves and CouRage — an old school Halo dude — wanting in, and so on, everyone who started in Halo back in the day are talking about Halo again now. Ninja, of course! There are so many big connected pieces that started here in Halo that there’s just no chance it’s not going to keep blowing up.”
It’s still early days for Halo Infinite, and the same can be said for Flamesword with his veteran Status Quo brand, but it’s clear old and new faces alike are flocking to the game in hopes of witnessing an esports resurgence. All eyes will be on the HCS Kickoff Major Raleigh, the first LAN event for Halo in quite some time and the first ever for Infinite.