As Pride month comes to an end, we’re reminded that we celebrate Pride and the LGBTQ+ community every month of the year at 31st Union. We are also celebrating the successful completion of a major development milestone and having fun generating new and unique ideas during Game Jam. It’s a time where everyone’s creative ideas are welcome, fun cross-domain collaboration occurs, and plenty of laughter ensues.
At 31st Union, our talented team is deeply invested in the game and culture we are creating together. “Walking the Talk” of studio culture takes real effort and is critical to our long-term growth. One of our teammates who “Walks the Talk” every day at 31st Union is Writer Emily Conway. Welcome Emily!
What inspired you to go into video game development?
I’ve been writing stories since before I knew how to make words and playing games since before I knew how to use a controller. As such, writing and games have both been two early, defining loves of mine. So there was never really a spark of inspiration to enter game development so much as a long-term desire to tell stories in this medium. Games, like any form of entertainment, create a shared language of experience that builds communities and can make people feel seen in ways they’ve never been before. Now I’m just lucky to be part of that conversation in a new way. 😊
What surprised you about video game development?
Game dev is a lot like building a train and the tracks at the same time with the expectation that by the time you reach your destination, the train better fly, too. It’s chaotic and messy and the fact that any game at all makes it to a launch is a testament to the drive and talent of the people behind the product. Making games is hard. But it’s also incredibly rewarding.
Are there any current trends in gaming that you find exciting or inspiring?
I’m always floored by what’s happening in the indie sphere. While AAA studios have the funding to make phenomenal games, there’s an agility that indie developers have because they’re not constrained by expectations of what their games “should” look like. I think that what indie devs bring to the table challenges the industry and can embolden AAA studios to take risks on a larger scale. At the end of the day, the market is absolutely saturated with games. We all must learn from each other if we want to evolve and keep making better, more inclusive, and novel gaming experiences.
What is unique about 31st Union compared to the broader industry?
What I appreciate most about this studio is the culture. Our Talent Recruitment team has done a phenomenal job pulling together talented individuals who care very much about supporting one another and uplifting underrepresented voices. The gaming industry has a rather fraught history with representation, much less allowing space for people to raise concerns without fear of retaliation. I’ve not felt that way with this team. In fact, I’ve only ever felt encouraged to speak up and try to effect positive change within our game and our studio as a whole.
Which of our Studio Values most resonates with you
Representation is the value that resonates most with me. As mentioned, the gaming industry hasn’t historically been the most welcoming space for POC, women, or the LGBTQ+ community. The fact that this studio, at a foundational level, instituted a policy of Welcome All excites me because it means there’s no excuse for not trying, always, to be better. We all take responsibility for cultivating a space that is safe, ensures everyone is heard, and that no one is without the tools they need to succeed.
Tell us something about yourself that many people do not know about you.
If I hadn’t pursued a career in writing, I would’ve loved to study biology. Growing up, we had this interactive educational textbook called A.D.A.M. The Inside Story that inspired a lifelong curiosity in how the human body works. ...It did also make me the weird kid with an almost encyclopedic anatomical knowledge, but what’s life without a little fixation?
WE ARE HIRING!
We are seeking passionate and talented collaborators to join our team! If you’d like to hear more about our studio, the team, and the opportunity to help shape our culture and creative vision, please connect with us at https://www.linkedin.com/company/31st-union-official