Yesterday marked the five-year anniversary of Halo: Reach: a game which was truly instrumental in bringing Halo's forge community to life. One of the biggest pieces of forge community history born during Reach's lifespan was a YouTube channel called TheHaloForgeEpidemic. What began as a way for [REDACTED] to showcase his talents as a mini game forger quickly evolved into a major community phenomenon. THFE map features become the most viewed forge content on YouTube and the channel thrived. With help from the talented commentator Bevans Law and the enterprising Oakley HiDef, THFE became a respected community group.
In January of 2012, I came on board in order to feature what we then called "competitive" maps on the channel. I eased in with big team battle maps because they were what I knew best. I soon began featuring a variety of core Halo maps and slowly began earning the respect of forgers from that side of the community. Around this time, Bevans departed from the channel and [REDACTED] ceased producing content for it. Since that time, [REDACTED] has had no direct contribution to the channel whatsoever. Instead, he sat back in the shadows: pulling the strings and taking 100% of the channel's (then considerable) profits for himself, despite generating none of them. To my knowledge, most of this money was spent on illegal drugs.
Oakley and I grew wary of [REDACTED]'s selfishness, but were driven by passion for Halo and the forge community rather than a desire to be paid. However, the thought of all of the money we were generating going straight into the pockets of someone who acted only as a parasite was unsettling. [REDACTED] was paranoid and wanted full control over the channel and all of the revenue generated. After a considerable amount of time, Oakley and I were granted a bit of freedom to make decisions for ourselves and we even received a small percentage of the money we were generating for a few months. Eventually, when the community began to dry up during Halo 4's life, Oakley chose to stop contributing to the channel rather than continue to deal with [REDACTED]. I pushed on, desiring to uphold the channel's legacy. I built a new team to maintain the channel and did my best to stay true to its origins. I was even able to divide what portion of the channel's revenue [REDACTED] didn't take for himself equally among them for a time. However, I constantly struggled against [REDACTED]'s paranoia and desire to push the channel in a more commercial direction.
Ultimately, I failed to stay true to THFE's legacy as my desire to provide informative, in-depth content and to feature only the best maps around clashed with [REDACTED]'s commercial intentions. As myself and my team strayed further away from the channel's commercial roots, [REDACTED] became more paranoid of loosing his free source of income. He attempted to make personnel decisions in order to bring new commentators onto the channel who would create dumbed-down content to appeal to a broader audience and maximize views. Naturally, this clashed with the ideals of myself and my team. For a time, I was able to override his poor decisions. As the community grew smaller with MCC's buggy launch, other channels scrambled to farm views and feature whatever content they could find. Meanwhile, my team and I stuck to our guns. However, motivation became more and more hard to come by and the team eventually fell apart. With only PA1NTS and myself creating content, the channel fell further behind the pack in terms of views. This did not bother us, however. We were, after all, committed to enhancing the forge community and to high standards of quality. [REDACTED] became increasingly worried of losing his grip on what had, in the past, been a money machine and decided once again to attempt to make personnel decisions. This time, without my permission and against my advice, he decided to bring on a former commentator from the channel's past. This commentator's skillset (or lack thereof) did not align with my vision for the channel, and PA1NTS and I finally decided we'd had enough.
THFE is, as of this day, defunct. If the channel continues to operate, know that it is but a shell of its former self; that it is maintained only to put money in the pockets of an individual who strangled the channel for years; that it is not done for the betterment of the Halo community; and that it is in no way a reflection of myself, PA1NTS, SOLIDSNAKEee, Master Debaytes, buddhacrane, Oakley HiDef, AbleSir Thomas, or any other entity that you should have a shred of respect for. It is no longer related to this website.
While I am sad to be put in a position where departing from the entity I have poured thousands of hours of working into over the past three and a half years and I am sad to see a piece of forge community history die, I am incredibly relieved to be free from [REDACTED]'s paranoia and parasitism. We had a good run. PA1NTS and I will be moving to the ForgeHub channel where we will continue to provide in-depth forge video content. You will find the Meet Your Maker contest winners as well as future map features and design talks there.
Now, let's look back on some of the highlights of this site's relationship with THFE.
Thanks to everyone who stuck with us and supported the team through our struggles against the channel's owner. What are some of your favorite memories of THFE?