It didn't seem like a desperate attempt at the time. On 27 August 2022, dozens of ShadowCorp employees burst onto the scene and abducted the last remaining Watchman. The operation was conducted so efficiently that, for a moment, X-Teamers were stunned. Then they loaded their paintball guns and began to fight.
Every company has its own ShadowCorp. It's the darkness around the edges where values, ambition, and vision become creatures of corruption. You have to be pragmatic, they whisper. Profit above all, they say. Don't trust them, they warn. The bigger a company grows, the brighter it must shine to keep the creatures away.
X-Team has grown significantly in 2022. The X-Summit is our biggest event of the year and we couldn't simply copy what we did in last year's X-Summit. That would be listening to ShadowCorp; a regression to the formulaic mean. Instead, we shone brighter, and with a spark we started a blaze.
The Opening Night
The Opening Night of an X-Summit is one of our most anticipated livestreams, because it gives X-Teamers a sneak peek into the rest of the Season. Created by our incredibly talented X-Team Originals team, the 2022 Opening Night showed in no uncertain terms that Season 9: Chapter II would be packed with exciting events.
Announced with a beautifully choreographed dance (timestamped here), the X-Team Vault keeps on expanding with incredible apparel. We added two T-shirts and two sweaters to our Keep Moving Forward (KMF) collection. In black and yellow, they're bold and beautiful additions to the Vault.
We also dropped a new Season 9 jersey and we will continue adding to our highly successful women's collection, which we rebranded as The Luxe Collection. Much of our new collection was already available as prizes during our Opening Night Afterparty, where X-Teamers competed against each other in Fall Guys (and mostly tried to throw CEO Ryan Chartrand off the edge).
The Cayne Chronicles
If you haven't watched the Opening Night already, do so. The entire livestream had incredible production values, and nowhere was that more obvious than in The Cayne Chronicles, our latest addition to the X-Team Cinematic Universe.
The Cayne Chronicles tells the story of Rekah Cayne, a previous ShadowCorp employee and founder of the Watchman initiative, who needs to hide from the Cythrax Protocol, ShadowCorp's attempt to eliminate all Watchmen.
The Cayne Chronicles comes in three chapters: Chapter One was the incredible cinematic that premiered during the Opening Night (timestamped here). Chapter Two will be a spy adventure in late 2022. Chapter Three will be an RPG in early 2023.
<incoming reminder> Under the Cythrax Protocol, cooperation with any Watchman is strictly forbidden. Any interaction with the Cayne Chronicles material above is strictly forbidden and will be punished. </back to work>
2022 Legends Tournament
We're also organizing a new Legends tournament. Designed to shine a light on the many diverse talents of X-Teamers, this year's Legends tournament will crown the X-Teamers who are best at:
- Fall Guys
- The Arena
There's something for everyone there, and the prizes make it worth it. Every new Legend will be invited to a special X-Outpost on the Legends Island and receive premium access to new Vault items. In addition, they'll receive a prize tied to the tournament they won, from festival tickets to a mechanical keyboard to Valorant merch.
And So Much More
These announcements only scratched the surface of everything that happened during the Opening Night. We also dropped our second single Super Nova, announced a competition tied to the Qatar World Cup, teased Chapter Two of The Cayne Chronicles, and explained what's next for the X-Team Universe.
All that was just the Opening Night. The start of the X-Summit. For X-Teamers had another adventure coming, one that would take them to a secret location in São Paulo...
X-Summit 2022: Brazil
ShadowCorp was encouraged. Rekah Cayne seemed defeated. Just a little longer and X-Team would soon be covered under ShadowCorp grime and, among other measures, force X-Teamers to install time tracking software on all their devices.
But X-Teamers don't give up easily.
Under extreme secrecy, they were sent a box with a QR code, a Watchman coin, a wristband, and coordinates. It was all they needed. En masse, without knowing what they were heading into, they traveled to the coordinates. Buses took them to a secret location one hour outside São Paulo, to a place where the last living Watchman would train them into the next generation of the Watchman Initiative.
Then followed three days packed with fun activities. The X-Summit: Brazil had begun. X-Teamers were divided into Watchman Divisions that competed against each other in kayak, dodgeball, soccer, Jenga, tennis, snooker, archery, you name it. There were nineteen competitions total.
Of course, as with everything X-Team, participation in any competition was entirely optional. Everyone could do whatever they wanted.
This being said, every competition was packed, not least because everyone was given an empty sticker album that they could fill with collectible stickers that were personalized drawings of every X-Teamer there. Stickers could be bought with gold coins that you received when you won a competition, but the stickers were in such demand that a black market for them soon developed.
The stickers and the X-Teamer spirit of going after it were the two main drivers for the intense, friendly competition during the events. Each event was an experience that put you into a group of people you'd previously only ever met online, creating an instant connection that you could then build upon as you relaxed with some food near the pool later.
The competitions were also where our first Legend was crowned. X-Teamer Arthur Andrade became the MVP of the X-Summit competitions and will now carry his Legends Crown until next year's tournament.
Then the unexpected happened. Somehow, ShadowCorp had gotten word of the X-Summit. During the paintball event, they attacked and captured the one Watchman who had been training X-Teamers across the many events. But they had severely underestimated X-Teamers' ability to fight back.
X-Teamers recaptured the Watchman and defeated ShadowCorp. Everyone traveled to the water park and a big party began that lasted until deep into the night. There was drinking, dancing, and frantic trading as X-Teamers tried to fill their sticker albums.
When compared with our previous in-person X-Summit in 2019, three times as many X-Teamers attended this year's X-Summit. It was an immense undertaking that required months of diligent work. But none of that would have mattered had it not been for the X-Teamers, those wonderful people who truly took this year's X-Summit to the NEXTLVL.
Victory After All?
ShadowCorp is quiet now, but that's when they're at their most dangerous. They don't usually come in guns blasting. They sneak in, slither their way into your mind, say a poisonous word here and there. They may have lost this battle, but they will always be lurking in the shadows. We cannot ever let them win.