31st Union

Behind the Scenes with Claire Hu, Systems Designer at 31st Union

Est. Read Time4 minutes, 21 seconds

31st Union is proud to champion the exceptional talents and contributions of the women working across the industry and within our studio ranks. These women – rigorous masters of their craft, creative problem solvers, and artists capable of bringing the most fantastic visions to life – are pivotal to our success. As Women's History Month unfolds and we celebrate International Women's Day, we are excited to spotlight Claire "Mengqing" Hu, Systems Designer, whose work is a testament to the innovation and dedication found at 31U.

Claire's journey offers a glimpse into the blend of passion, challenge, and vision that propels the creation of immersive gaming experiences. In this interview, we dive into the intricate magic of game development, the many ways games have impacted her life, and why the 31U value “Live Your Dreams” resonates so strongly with Claire .

31U | Developer Profile | Claire Hu Internal

What inspired you to go into video game development?

My interest in video game design and development was sparked when I was a kid, by watching my older brother immerse himself in games day and night. Witnessing his passion for gaming ignited a curiosity within me – what’s unique about gaming that makes it so fascinating?

As I grew older, games turned out to be the perfect fusion of my million hobbies, converging into a single passion. I enjoy engaging deeply in various fields ranging from drawing, anime, psychology, music, and animals, to tinkering with digital tools and programs. Because of that, combining these interests in game design felt like a natural progression, allowing me to channel my diverse skills into crafting immersive digital experiences that captivate players.

What surprised you about video game development?

Looking from the outside, gaming seems like this smooth, seamless journey where everything flows nicely from one point to another, with thoughtfully crafted moment-to-moment gameplay and beautiful visuals. But if you think that’s what it feels like when developing a game? Oh, you must think again.

Game development is a process where we try to balance creativity and technology, and where chaos meets organization. Artists, designers, writers, audio designers, engineers… all come together to embrace and constructively debate -- hopefully ;) -- about the paths we take on. The process is filled with constant iterations and evolution of ideas, keeping it dynamic and unpredictable. You can start with a clear vision, but as the game evolves, so does the player's expectation and behaviors. Ultimately, you can never quite predict what the result turns out to be, but that’s also the beauty of the whole process.

How have video games influenced your life?

To me, video games are way beyond merely “having fun”. They've been a lifeline during challenging times, helped me form friendships in unexpected ways, and gifted me invaluable skills outside of traditional education. During my formative years, the diverse narratives in games have broadened my cultural horizons and deepened my empathy. Gaming experiences, ranging from confronting the deepest fears to indulging in the wildest imaginations, always encourage me to think outside the box, confront challenges, and celebrate creativity.

Are there any current trends in gaming that you find exciting or inspiring?

I'm particularly excited about the diverse landscape of gaming today, especially considering the rise of indie games. They challenge conventions and push the boundaries of what “gaming” means. From innovative experiences to social advocacy, games offer a platform for marginalized voices and unique perspectives to shine. The increasing emphasis on inclusive storytelling, accessibility, and catering to a broad audience feels truly inspiring. It’s incredible to see how games can serve as powerful vehicles for social change and foster empathy and understanding among our global communities. I aspire to do the same.

What is unique about 31st Union compared to the broader industry?

I think what sets 31st Union apart is not just its project, but the people who breathe life into it. The studio supports a culture of passion and excellence, where open discussions and continuous evolution are encouraged and embraced. More importantly, I feel we genuinely care for each other's well-being. Game development can get intense, yet it’s reassuring to know that I have supportive allies and mentors who help us navigate through challenges and inspire us to be better versions of ourselves.

Which of our Studio Values most resonates with you?


Our society loves fitting us into neat little boxes, and breaking out of those molds can feel like swimming against the tide, especially in fields that aren't exactly well recognized by the public. However, I always believed in chasing your dreams, no matter how wild or unconventional they may seem to others. When that passion gets paired up with talents and dedication, you are unstoppable.

By adopting this mindset, I feel empowered to shatter boundaries, unlock my full potential, and hey, maybe even turn my childhood dreams of “making the world a better place” into reality! Step by step.

What is your favorite game? What do you love about it?

There are truly too many to choose from! Let me try to scope down to three:

Alba: A Wildlife Adventure as it reminds me to stay mindful not only of my loved ones, but also of the nature and precious wildlife that live around us.

Octopath Traveler II for its astonishing music tracks, well-developed characters, refreshing storytelling, and stunning visuals.

World of Warcraft for friends, laughter, fishing, treasure hunt, and the good old times.

Tell us something about yourself that many people do not know about you.

Despite being a self-professed couch potato, many might not know that there's a hidden side of me that absolutely adores nature and outdoor adventures.

Honestly, it sometimes confuses me too – Do I really want to go on an impromptu, gorgeous, but TIRING hike, rather than relax with my favorite cup of tea while playing video games? I can’t decide, so I say both!

Well…I also can’t deny those decisions might be heavily influenced by my dog’s watery puppy eyes.