Online Knights is a collaborative YouTube channel which primarily uploads gaming videos with audio commentary.
The Online Knights channel was created on the 11th of September 2012 by a group of Canadian high school students intending to upload gaming videos for fun.
The Channel's first video, uploaded on October 18th 2012, consisted of gameplay from Halo Reach with a voiceover from an individual who went by the username Robius5991. He detailed the types of content that they were aiming to upload and introduced the channel's members as:
- HI IM N1CK
But as with many collaborative channels, several members soon lost interest and so before long only Robius5991 and JKRKOALITION were left and with Robius5991 as the only regular contributor to the channel. Robius5991 uploaded videos showcasing custom maps which he had created in Halo Reach's forge mode. Relatively unknown within the Halo forging community, he received some well timed exposure at the start of November 2012 when one of his maps was announced as the second place in a forging contest run by The Halo Forge Epidemic (THFE)- by far the largest forging related YouTube channel at the time.
It was at this time that the newest title in the Halo franchise- Halo 4- was released. Robius5991 immediately capitalized on the trending game by uploading montage videos showcasing every possible assassination move in the game- as well as similar videos for Assassin's Creed 3, another recent release.
These montages gathered tens of thousands of views in total and the attention it began to generate for the channel allowed them to launch a new series of Halo videos.
Beginnings in Halo 4
Similarly to the videos he made for his maps in Halo Reach, Robius5991 began a new series entitled "Halo 4 Forge Maps" in which he highlighted not just his own maps, but those made by other budding forgers- taking inspiration from the similar showcasing model used by THFE. The first map featured, in December 2012, was one co-forged by Robius5991 and fellow founder JKRKOALITION- a remake of the Polis Massa map from the Star Wars: Battlefront series. The Battlefront nostalgia drew many to the video and the series quickly took off, attention for the channel growing quickly as more and more of Robius5991's maps were featured by other, more established forging channels.
Online Knights provided an easy system for viewers to submit maps to them for featuring and soon a new episode was being released every 2-3 days showcasing new talent within the community. Online Knights subscriber count grew rapidly from the 88 they'd had on Halo 4's release date to several hundred and they partnered with the Machinima network in February 2013.
One person regularly featured on the channel was H2AK0N,a young British forger who had been introduced to Robius5991 by a mutual friend in Halo Reach and the two became fast friends. Sharing his childhood nostalgia for Star Wars Battlefront, H2AK0N suggested a co-forge project between the two, remaking the Tantive IV map.
Over the hours spent working together, Robius5991 grew to trust H2AK0N as being reliable enough to offer him a position as a member of the channel, H2AK0N having already had some limited experience making videos for a channel of his own. H2AK0N accepted and when the feature for the Tantive IV map was uploaded, as episode 30 in the H4FM series, the two co-commentated the video.
H2AK0N began to also upload map feature videos in the same format as Robius5991's to the channel and in May 2013 a video was uploaded officially announced him as new channel member. This announcement came alongside the appointments of fellow Brit AbandonedData87 and Australian GyffinGuy007 to the Online Knights team- both of whom had also done some work alongside Robius5991.
Golden Age in Halo 4
With these new additions, Online Knights entered a golden age in their work with Halo. Despite the Halo forging community having diminished since Halo Reach, Online Knights quickly rose to prominence within the small but passionate community. With regular uploads and thousands of subscribers they were considered one of the biggest names amongst map feature channels alongside community titans such as THFE, Ducain23 and Insanmiac.
Online Knights also worked closely with the website Halo Customs- a site for Halo players to arrange custom game lobbies with one another. Robius5991 and H2AK0N held weekly gamenights to play through all of the hundreds of map submissions that they received and these became some of the most popular fixtures on the Halo Customs calendar.
Robius5991 continued to co-forge Star wars Battlefront remakes with a variety of other forgers and this series of maps generated some of the most viewed features on the channel.
Decline in Halo 4
Despite H2AK0N taking an increasingly active role in uploading and Online Knights gamenights, colleague AbandonedData87 had been much less involved and in the autumn of 2013 he was quietly removed from the team, with unreliability and personal disagreements being cited as the reasons for this removal.
In November 2013 Robius5991 again uploaded kill montages, this time of recent release Assassin's Creed 4, and once again the trending content helped the videos to explode in popularity. The success of these montages, which remain some of the most viewed uploads on the channel, inspired Robius5991 to create more Assassin's Creed Content, taking his attention away from Halo map features.
Both Robius5991 and H2AK0N had by now grown tired of making the Halo map features and indeed of playing Halo in general. In December 2013 the two uploaded a channel update video where they regretfully announced the end of Halo 4 Map Features, finishing the 130 episode series.
As well as their flagship series H4FM, Online Knights also experimented with other projects throughout their first year and a half. These included:
- Offline Knights- A secondary channel used to upload Robius5991's original montages and other content which had to be taken down for copyright reasons
- Minecraft Knights- A cut-short let's play series involving several of the founding Online Knights members
- First to the Finish Line- a series of speedrun races between H2AK0N, Robius5991 and JKRKOALITION
- Why You Should Play- a series spotlighting, often lesser known, games
- Forging the Future- a Halo Machinima film written by GryffinGuy007 but abandoned during development
- Fun time with JKR- let's play videos featuring JKRKOALITION
- BF4 Beta Highlights- A collection of short gameplay clips recorded by JKRKOALITION in the Battlefield 4 Beta
- Zombie Kill of the Week- a series where Robius5991 and a guest commentator would highlight impressive zombie kills in Dead Rising 3
- WeAttempt- let's play videos featuring GryffinGuy007 and friends
- Battlefield 4 Challenges- a contest series where viewers would be asked to submit footage of them doing certain feats in Battlefield 4 to be featured and ranked.
The majority of these more experimental videos have since been taken down from the channel so as to avoid clutter and distraction from the main series.
After Halo 4
By early 2014 JKRKOALITION was beginning to step back from the channel and GryffinGuy007- now going by the username Austintacious- was becoming increasingly busy with other projects elsewhere. He remained on the team as the channel's resident artist leaving Robius5991 and H2AK0N to come up with a replacement for H4FM.
Robius5991 had also undergone a name change, now preferring to go by simply as Robius. Robius was beginning to make progress with his new series "Assassin's Creed: Real History" where he compared the portrayal of historical characters shown in the Assassin's Creed games to their real life histories. Being a huge fan of the franchise and something of a history nerd, Robius had again found content he enjoyed making. This unique series quickly grew in popularity and took over from H4FM as the most regularly uploaded content on the channel.
This started to change the channel direction away from showcasing community content and towards more informative videos. H2AK0N therefore adapted accordingly and launched a new series, "Character Case Files" where he delved into the lore and shared the backstories of major characters from the Halo franchise. AC:RH and CCF became regular series and formed the bulk of uploads throughout 2014 during which period Online Knights doubled their subscriber count.
Halo: Masterchief Collection
By late 2014, the Masterchief Collection dropped- an anthology of the four main titles in the Halo series. This brought with it a new forge mode for the revamped Halo 2 Anniversary and the Halo forging community saw a resurgence. Like many ex-forgers, both Robius and H2AK0N had missed Halo after this extended break and looked forward to jumping back into the community. Running out of major characters to cover in CCF, H2AK0N stopped production of the series to focus on the new project "Halo MCC: Forge Maps", the successor to H4FM where he and Robius would again be showcasing community made maps- this time in Halo 2 Anniversary.
As part of their commitment to holding frequent community gamenights, Robius and H2AK0N announced two new Online Knights members- PneumoniK and Demonik89- in December 2014 who would join the team as gamenight hosts. PneumoniK had actually already appeared on Online Knights as an Easter egg in a video (now taken down) uploaded in November where he'd signed off for Robius and H2AK0N without being named.
Unfortunately, this long-awaited return to gamenights never even started due to technical issues with the game itself causing custom lobbies to routinely crash. According to an update video released by Online Knights in February 2015, running the map feature series was just not feasible to consistently produce due to these and other issues. The series was ended after only 9 episodes.
Break from Production
In April 2015, a month after the cancellation of "Halo MCC: Forge Maps", Online Knights released an update video where Robius and H2AK0N explaining their intentions to slow production on the channel- pointing to personal time constraints and reduction in passion for content creation as the main factors to blame.
Following this update the channel went dark with no uploads at all until exactly one year later when Robius released an update video explaining that he and H2AK0N were likely to be resuming production after the summer but with less frequent uploads than previously.
Return to Production
As promised in Robius' update, Online Knights announced their official return in late August 2016. A new team was announced, with Robius, H2AK0N and PneumoniK all returning and a new addition; DarknessAkimboLizardsTheThird (or Darkness for short) being brought in as a new artist.
Informative gaming-related videos remained the channel's focus as Robius resumed his popular AC:RH series and H2AK0N restarted a series he'd just begun before the extended break- Mass Effect Factions. In MEF H2AK0N covers lore and other cannonical information on the various races and factions from the Mass Effect trilogy.
As of the time of writing, these two regular series are currently Online Knights main uploads with a new episode of each coming out every 1-2 weeks.