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Kim Swift: Valve has management

Portal designer explains truth behind employee handbook

Kim Swift, best known for her role as Portal lead designer, has explained the reality of working for Valve.

"I guess for me, Valve as a company definitely has a lot more freedom for developers working there than a lot of other companies," she told Eurogamer as she discussed the recent release of Valve's employee handbook.

The Handbook For New Employees was subtitled "a fearless adventure in knowing what to do when no one's there telling you what to do" and explained that "we don't have any management." Swift disagreed.

"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," she argued.

"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 is now working at Airtight Games on a puzzle adventure game.

"It's definitely a different attitude," she said of her new workplace.

"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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Rachel Weber avatar
Rachel Weber: Rachel Weber has been with GamesIndustry since 2011 and specialises in news-writing and investigative journalism. She has more than five years of consumer experience, having previously worked for Future Publishing in the UK.
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