Battle Creek Halo Pro Gamer Mikwen is Out Of Retirement
Austin "Mikwen" McCleary was once one of the biggest names in E-Sports. He was a major champion in the Halo game series, winning Three HCS Pro League Titles, and a UMG Daytona title. But in 2019, he suddenly decided to "Hang up the Sticks" and retire.
But that retirement only lasted a short while, and now, the world of Professional Gaming has been put on notice again, as Mikwen is logging back on, and out of retirement.
Who is Mikwen
Austin "Mikwen" McCleary is a native of Michigan, out of Battle Creek. He rose to fame playing Halo when he was young, playing Halo 3. His first competitive event was in at MLG Columbus 2009 where he secured a top 80 finish playing Halo 3.
From there, he began to form teams with other gamers across the country, and in 2010, he began his professional career, putting together the team "Gimme My Money" with Elitest, GMM Legend, and Reliable.
He would also partner up with fellow Michigan E-Gamer Ninja, and a number of other gaming legends in his career.
After six years of playing professionally, Mikwen got his first A-Tier Championship with Team EnVyUs at the HCS Pro League NA 2016 Fall: Regular Season Championship. He would go on to win three more titles in December of the same year, and two in 2017 as well, also with Team EnVyUs.
At 25 years old, Mikwen was at the top of his game, and moved around with a couple other teams - Reciprocity and Renegades. But an opportunity came up in 2019 that he couldn't turn down - helping develop new Halo games with Microsoft and moving to Seattle.
The Battle Creek Enquirer reports from 2019...
"It was brought up to me last spring to do this, but at first I wasn't sure it was the right time or if I wanted to really retire from competing, because I still loved doing it."
Austin was only 25 years old at the time, and still had a high ceiling to play for, and ranked in the top players of the world.
"But once it was an option, it made me feel like competing less and less, so that was a sign to me that it was time."
Mikwen joined the Pro Team at 434 Industries at Microsoft, and helped develop their latest installment, "Halo Infinite." And for the first time, he was working a 9-5 job.
"Right now I am tapped out, but maybe in a year or two, and I am watching a tournament, I'm not sure what I will think. I'm sure I will get the itch..."
Well, that "itch" came back recently for Mikwen, and now, he is back home in Michigan, and gaming competitively again.
On January 22nd of this year, Native White Gaming announced on twitter, they were putting together a new team based out of North America that included Mikwen on the roster.
And with that, Mikwen was back.
Mikwen is now back to being ranked in the top 25 Halo players in the world, and excited to rise through the ranks again with his new team.