Portal Creator Says Valve Is More Structured Than You Think

From reading Valve's employee handbook, you might get the impression that the Half-Life creator is freewheeling, chaotic, and structure-free.

But Portal co-creator Kim Swift, who left Valve a few years ago to join a different studio, says it ain't all that anarchic.


"I disagree with the suggestion that they have no structure there," Swift told Eurogamer. "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, who will release her first-person puzzler Quantum Conundrum this summer for Xbox 360, PC, and PlayStation 3, says although she still maintains "great relationships" with people at Valve, her new studio Airtight Games is a much better fit for her needs.

"I think working at Airtight is actually a little more relaxed," she said. "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."


Valve does have managers, says ex-Portal lead [Eurogamer]

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I can't imagine for the life of me why anyone would leave Valve. The only reason I can come up with is for creative authority and autonomy. If I had the choice between making my own studio with total creative authority or joining Valve with limited creative input, I would absolutely choose Valve, because the company I start myself is just going to be modeled after the philosophy and practices that Valve has already established.