With the end of the year upon us, there’s much to be thankful for at 31st Union and plenty of hope in the air. This time of year, we live our shared value of CHASE THE HORIZON! We believe the next great inspiration is just over the next peak; we push ourselves and each other to find it. We are all active in bringing innovation to life.
One way we walk the talk of this value at 31U is through our regular team-wide Game Jam sessions. The mind-blowing ideas that came out of our Game Jam this December brought an exciting camaraderie and spirit to the floor that will fuel our game innovations in 2022. We also CHASE THE HORIZON at 31st Union by listening to the ideas of our team. At 31st Union, everyone is a developer and ideas are encouraged and welcomed by all. The inclusion of diverse perspectives and ideas—especially from those new to the industry—is part of our secret sauce.
Amy Reyner, Director of Global Operations, is a great example of this philosophy. Amy’s deep experience in tech and global strategy is having a significant impact on how we innovate to scale internationally to include our new studio location in Valencia, Spain. Her collaborative, inclusive and thoughtful approach to leadership encourages others to participate, have a voice and pursue development with passion in pursuit of raising the bar for the experience we are building for players everywhere.
What inspired you to go into video game development?
I have been in tech hardware operations & strategy for most of my career, and going into video game development is not something that probably ever would have crossed my mind. But a former colleague who is connected to the video game industry saw an opportunity to bring more operational strength to game development and encouraged me to pursue a career in the industry given my operations background. The more I thought about the unique challenge of building an operational process that still allows for freedom & creativity, the more I wanted to jump in and give it a try. Or maybe, most of all, I just really want my gamer nephew to think I’m cool.
What surprised you about video game development?
I have been blown away by the complexity of game development and how many elements need to come together for a game to work. I am no stranger to complexity – I spent much of my career in global operations for chip manufacturing, which involves matching the output from dozens of factories worldwide with constantly changing demand, for hundreds of products. But video games are a whole different ball game. It’s a process, just like manufacturing, but one that only succeeds if it allows for flexibility and creativity throughout. It’s like if a technician on the line in hardware manufacturing could grab a part mid-process, hold it up, and say “you know, wouldn’t our customers enjoy this product so much more if it were pink?”, then the team says “yeah, that would be awesome!”, then the whole line has to integrate pink paint into the process on the fly while still figuring out how to deliver on schedule. That’s video game development, and it’s a really unique challenge that I’m enjoying taking on.
Are there any current trends in gaming that you find exciting or inspiring?
The trends that excite me personally about the industry are the ones related to what I do in operations. The biggest one is how fast the industry is growing - U.S. video game industry revenues have wildly surpassed the movie and music industries combined. Also, the games themselves are bigger & more complex than ever, delivering ever-changing experiences that empower players to create their own journeys alongside their friends. The industry is scaling and becoming more complex at a very rapid pace. This drives a need for operationalization that may not have been there ten or twenty years ago. I’m excited to be joining the industry at this time and to explore opportunities to operationalize while continuing to deliver super fun & creative experiences.
What are you most excited about since you joined 31st Union a few months ago?
I am really excited about our recent expansion into Valencia, Spain. The 31U team there is exceptionally talented, and their contributions are already having an amazing impact on our game development. For me, personally, it’s an exciting challenge to integrate our teams across the ocean. Our aim is to truly operate as one team across both sites, and I look forward to partnering with our team in Spain to make that happen. I also can’t say I mind that this might require me to make a trip or two to Valencia this year.
What is unique about 31st Union compared to the broader industry?
I can only speak to my impressions of the broader industry since I wasn’t part of it until I joined 31st Union. That broader impression is unfortunately one driven by some of the headlines we see today around a very challenging culture – for developers as well as players. I can say that 31st Union is genuinely committed to putting people and values first, and takes real action to do so. It’s great to be part of a team that truly cares about evolving the industry in such a positive way.
Which of our Studio Values most resonates with you?
On a personal note, I connect most with THRIVE ON TRUST – that is the essential element that drives great teams, and often personal happiness, at work. When I think of the studio and our game, I also like CHASE THE HORIZON – our shared value based on innovation – we are truly doing something ambitious and it’s amazing to be part of it.
Tell us something about yourself that many people do not know about you.
I was a piano performance major my first year of college before switching to engineering. There is still an artist inside me that wants to come out – maybe that’s why I’ve been drawn to 31st Union :)
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