'If there was no structure things would run completely amok' claims Kim Swift

Ex-Valve dev questions ‘socialist studio’ claims

Valve isn’t a developer-run studio with little structure and no managers, the lead designer of Portal has claimed.

Speaking to Eurogamer, Kim Swift disputed that there are no directors at the company making decisions on how the company should be run, although admitted the developer was less top-down than others.

She added that if developers at Valve were able to make all of their own decisions, the lack of structure would mean things “would run completely amok”.

"I guess for me, Valve as a company definitely has a lot more freedom for developers working there than a lot of other companies," said Swift.

"But I disagree with the suggestion that they have no structure there. They do actually. They have management, there’s the board of directors of the company, there’s Gabe Newell. Those guys at the top of the company definitely have opinions on how things should be run.

"You can choose the project you want to work on but there are definitely people behind the scenes making decisions for the company. To me, that’s normal. If it was a company where there was no structure at all I think things would run completely amok."

Swift also said that her new studio, Quantum Conundrum developer Airtight Games, had a more relaxed atmosphere, and said she left valve to experience something different.

"It’s definitely a different attitude," she said.

"I think working at Airtight is actually a little more relaxed. I definitely feel at home here. One of the reasons I left Valve was that I wanted to see what else was out there and see if there might be a better fit for me personality-wise and I’ve really found it here."

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