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#MEETIRONGALAXY - Maxwell Overstreet, Operations Coordinator

03/02/2023   •   Written By Thomas Braaksma

It takes a lot of talented people to make a video game. At Iron Galaxy, we think those people collaborate in the best fashion when they have a great place to work. In our case, that happens in one of three cities, including Chicago.

In this interview series, you will meet a variety of people who work with us in a Galaxy not so far away. An area less explored in Game Development is that of Operations. Who are the people that support the life and culture of a studio? From special events to everyday studio life, Operations are the gas that keeps the machine moving. Today, we speak with Maxwell Overstreet, who lends his talents to make the Chicago studio a great incubator for our projects. He started with us in June 2021.

Iron Galaxy: Who are you and what would you say you do here at Iron Galaxy?

Maxwell Overstreet: Hey! I’m Maxwell Overstreet, I’m an Operations Coordinator out of the Chicago studio. A lot of what we do is in support of development. We manage company assets, maintain the facilities, coordinate events, and everything in between. “Miscellaneous” describes a lot of what we do as well, it keeps things exciting.

IG: Where you say “miscellaneous,” we say “essential.” Amidst all that excitement, what part of your job do you find the most challenging?

MO: Facilities maintenance, for sure. Our studio in Chicago resides in a building that is 115 years old, which presents its nuances and challenges from time to time. Not only that, we also want to provide a safe and inviting environment for everyone here. When you step back and look at the space we work in, you’re reminded of why you do what you do. It’s an awesome office.

IG: It certainly is an amazing space that makes it pretty easy to get up and go to work at! Before working in a studio, way back when you were growing up, what is the one skill you learned that you use the most in your role?

MO: Communication. So much of what we do is collaborative. Being able to talk through needs, expectations, and issues is crucial. Knowing your audience plays a huge role in that as well. Everyone operates and thinks differently than the person next to them, and I’d like to think I do a pretty good job of picking up on that.

IG: The ability to look past your own perspective and put on your coworkers’ shoes is crucial. What has been your proudest moment as a member of the Iron Galaxy team?

MO: Seeing my name included in the Rumbleverse credits. This is my first video game industry job, most of my career has been in logistics and manufacturing. As someone who has played games all his life and admired this industry from afar, it was a pretty cool life moment for me personally.

IG: The way the studio acknowledges you had a part in getting the game out the door, is a great feeling. How is your contribution unique when compared to the other roles in our company?

MO: Operations is very unique because it’s kind of a catch-all for a lot of things you’d probably never expect needing to be done within a video game company. I think the thing that stands out the most is the fact that we are liaisons a lot of the time for the company when it comes to maintaining relationships with the property management, our vendors, partners, and the like.

IG: Almost like behind-the-scenes, but really the face of the company in very important situations. Now let’s put on your mentoring pants! If you could give someone who wanted to follow in your career footsteps one piece of advice, what would it be?

MO: I’m probably the worst person to ask this question. My path here has been very unorthodox. I guess it would be to have faith in your skillset and learn how to sell yourself. Your soft skills are just as valuable as your hard skills. Be a sponge and take in any knowledge you can.

IG: Great advice that was not the “worst person to ask” type of answer! A lot of people need that reassurance when chasing their dream role. What is the best thing about working at a video game development company?

MO: This company is full of creativity and people that are passionate about what they do. It’s uplifting and motivating.

IG: That seems to be an answer we get a lot in these interviews. Besides the wonderful, creative people we work with, what is your favorite perk associated with your job?

MO: There’s such a wealth of knowledge here, so being able to pick someone’s brain about something or hearing industry stories has been very insightful and a lot of fun. Also, Adam Boyes built me a Marvel Snap deck once.

IG: Adam coming through with the assist! Collaborating with the C0-CEO on Snap is one thing, but how collaborative are you with different teams across Iron Galaxy?

MO: Extremely collaborative. We field requests from every department, and a member of Operations is typically the first person someone will meet in person when they start a new job at Iron Galaxy.

IG: You all do a great job at making a person feel welcome when they start here. What is the most rewarding aspect of creating a great work-life for the studio?

MO: Seeing folks interacting with it. Whether it be video games, music, art, or writing – it takes a lot of courage to release something you’ve put your heart and soul into. There’s a certain vulnerability once it’s out there, because you’ve opened the forum for commentary on it. I think there’s learning experiences to gain from it, as well as pride, and thicker skin in some cases.

IG: You opened a big can of worms with that answer. Seeing people interact with your work is rewarding, but can also help you build confidence and self-respect. We heard the impact your work can have on you, but what is the biggest impact you’ve seen a video game have on someone else’s life?

MO: Seeing people positively represented in a character they can relate to. The creation of more accessibility options and tools. More inclusivity in both of those aspects is positive for everyone. I think we’ve still got a long way to go, but I’m glad there’s an effort being made.

IG: We can tell why you made your way to a company like Iron Galaxy that makes diversity and inclusivity a priority. Now let’s get into some more personal questions. Where are you originally from?

MO: I was born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky. I moved to Chicago in 2017. Kentucky has the best college sports, music scene, and food. There’s nothing quite like the sights at Red River Gorge. Louisville has some pretty fantastic parks as well.

IG: Louisville is an all-around underrated city. Aside from playing video games, what is a favorite hobby of yours?

MO: Music has been my other love for a long time. I play in a band here in Chicago called Sorespot, I love to collect records and go to shows when I can. I’ll talk guitar gear all day long. Other than that, for better or worse, I’ve been a pro wrestling fan my entire life. Mick Foley is a god. I’ll leave it at that.

IG: Can’t wait for your next local show! What is something you feel everyone must do once in their life?

MO: Pick up a musical instrument. Picking up guitar and bass has been the best thing I’ve ever done for myself. It’s therapeutic. Playing music with people and writing together is exhilarating. The people I’ve met through playing in bands, going to shows, or working in the guitar retail industry are friends I’ll hold for a lifetime.

IG: Music brings people together almost as well as video games. If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would you choose?

MO: It's pizza. It’s always been pizza. It will forever be pizza.

IG: Quickfire follow-up question! Seeing that we are in Chicago and pizza is your favorite food... deep dish or thin crust?

MO: Thin crust for sure. I love deep dish, but it’s like cake. Seems like most folks from Chicago claim “tavern-style” anyway.

IG: You have lived here long enough to know the secret gem that is tavern-style. What is one place that you hope to see one day?

MO: Japan is probably at the top of the list. Scotland, Ireland, Netherlands, and Australia I think round out the top 5.

IG: What is one genre of games that you think is underrated?

MO: Colony sims. RimWorld is the “desert island” game for me. I love city simulation games too.

IG: Going to have to check that one out. What was the last concert you saw?

MO: Rage Against the Machine at the United Center last summer. I bought that ticket in 2020 and held it for over two years. I’ve seen some local shows since then as well.

IG: Great last show to see. I would’ve gone but, unlike you, did not have the patience to wait out a pandemic. What is the one song most likely to earn you a speeding ticket?

MO: Rusty Cage by Soundgarden.

IG: I can see that song getting the wheels turning! What game have you spent the most time playing?

MO: My Steam account says Foxhole, but I think I’ll dispute that and say RimWorld.

IG: Yeah, trust your gut on that one. What movie have you seen the most times?

MO: I’m pretty sure it’s Tommy Boy. Infinitely quotable.

IG: “Do you know the way to the weight room?” I mean, what is the one superpower that you would like to have?

MO: Being able to stop time. Life is fleeting.

IG: Deep and a perfect segway into our next question. Given a time machine, which historical period would you like to experience first-hand?

MO: Whatever year Al Gore invented the internet, just so I could tell him to stop.

IG: But then no one would ever get to read this interview! If you could have dinner with anyone in the world, who would you invite?

MO: Living? Stone Cold Steve Austin. Dead? Chris Cornell.

IG: Which would lead to a final question from Stone Cold: “Do you want some ketchup with that a** whooping?”

Kidding. You don’t have to answer that one. Thanks for taking the time to sit down with us, Maxwell. Tommy Boy said it best “Brothers don’t shake hands. Brothers gotta hug.” Ok, we don’t have to hug either, but we do appreciate everything you and your team do for the studio. We’ll see you at the next Sorespot show!

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