Austin McCleary has captured and held the Halo community’s attention ever since his impressive debut in Halo: Reach. Now, we have an opportunity to learn more about this young star and his plans for the future.
Gilean: I first need to ask something that’s been bothering me for months now. Your hoodie. Is it a fashion statement? Hiding a bald spot? What?
Mikwen: Superstion! *laughs* I have a full head of hair, don’t worry.
Gilean: We’ll take your word for it.
Staying on the topic of you, you also seem to be a bit of a “rebel” of sorts, lacking a better term for it. You’ve discussed topics such as smoking over Twitter, and your profile states that you “[g]eniunely don’t give a fuck.” But we haven’t seen any drunk tweets and defamation on your part, as we have with certain other pros who shall remain nameless, but may or may not live next door. Do you feel you know where that line is, after all?
Mikwen: I actually have had a few drunk tweets, but they’re nothing over the top, and were all done legally. (I was in Europe.) All I said was, like, “Drunkwen WEEEEE” or something.
Basically, like I’ve always said, I’m going to be honest and be myself and not care what people thinks. That’s where the line is drawn. I don’t go out on a limb to attack people, and I make sure I stay (somewhat) professional while still being myself inside that. It’s like a professional way of not giving a fuck. *Laughs*
Gilean: Let’s move onto tournament talk. It’s been quite a while since the Halo community heard from its beloved pros, so we’ll start all the way back in Columbus. To many fans, Columbus marked the best event Reach has ever produced and one of the best events in years. What was it like to be right there in the crowd, drowning out SC2?
Mikwen: It was awesome. [It] felt like we were supposed to be there again. Didn’t feel like that in 2011.
Gilean: What may have felt somewhat less awesome was your team’s performance. You place Top 16 with Str8 Rippin. While still within the Pro ranks, that was not likely what you were expecting or aiming for as a team. What happened?
Mikwen: We came out really flat against Ambush and got 3-0ed. Then [we] came back strong on Sunday and lost a really close game five to Classic. Basically, [we] just choked, nothing more to it. Sucks, but it is what it is.
Gilean: Shortly after Columbus, the entire Str8 roster was able to head to Europe and compete largely thanks to your sponsor, Apex. Tell us about that competition. How does the European Circuit differ from North America’s? Is there talent over there?
Mikwen: It was actually pretty similar, minus the teams. There’s definitely talent, [it’s] just really hard for them to practice due to the connect barrier.
Gilean: After Str8’s European victory, you decided to depart the team. In the process, you had to leave your long-time partner and teammate, Ninja. Did you ever discuss leaving together?
Mikwen: Well, nothing’s official, but I am running with Classic. It’ll be weird to leave [Ninja], but, just like everything else, stuff has to end. It feels like that time [for us] will be sooner than we thought.
The plan was for Str8 to stick together, but since I got the Fnatic Classic offer, [I] couldn’t resist it.
Gilean: What drew you to Classic, beyond just an offer to play with them? What made their appeal so irresistible?
Mikwen: Well, I looked at their placings. Last event, they lost Game 5 50-49 to Instinct, the team that got 2nd. [Instinct only lost in the end themselves in Game 11 50-48.]
So they’re on a top level, obviously, and I had to take it.
Gilean: Despite your obvious talent, 7th Place is the highest you’ve managed on the Pro Circuit thus far. What is it that Classic offers that puts them on that top level that your previous teams lacked?
Mikwen: Well, not only are they all incredibly skills and lack egos, but they let anyone go off. [They] allow each other to shine when it’s happening. Basically, it’s a family, not a team.
Gilean: That sounds like the kind of chemistry every player is looking for.
We’ll wrap up with a quick discussion on Halo itself. Its odds of showing up in Anaheim are slim to none. What have you done in the meantime to fill your time?
Mikwen: Amazingly enough, playing Halo. *Laughs*
Gilean: You seem pretty optimistic that your practice will pay off and you’ll find a circuit to compete on after Anaheim. Do you think Reach has what it takes to keep going with the new settings?
Mikwen: Yeah, I feel we’ll be at Raleigh. Anaheim is never a great event. Best to set it aside, but do something to keep interest. Just like they did.
Gilean: Any final comments, shout-outs, or challenges to issue?
Mikwen: Shout-outs to family, friends, fans, and let’s step it up. Keep Halo going! ❤
Gilean: Thanks for your time, and good luck in Raleigh!