Kim Swift is one of the most celebrated women in modern gaming. Described by Mental Floss as one of the most recognised women in the industry and as one of “30 Under 30” influential figures in the video game industry by Fortune Magazine, the DigiPen graduate is best known for her work at Valve with huge titles such as Portal, Half-Life 2 and Left 4 Dead.
Along with a small group of fellow graduates, the American video game designer developed a portal-based game called Narbacular Drop. Valve co-founder Gabe Newell immediately saw the potential for a hit, hiring the team to create the future classic, Portal. Swift and fellow writer Erik Wolpaw won Portal’s Game Developers Choice Awards for design, innovation and game of the year for their efforts in designing the game.
In more recent years, Swift has completed more projects for Valve, including the Left 4 Dead series. Since leaving the company, however, Swift has worked with Airtight Games, developing Quantum Conundrum in collaboration with Square Enix.
After leaving Valve, Swift became Senior Design Manager at Amazon, which she playfully says involved working on “secret things for a secret amount of time”. She has since 2017 played a leading role as Studio Design Director in EA’s Motive Studios, famed for the creation of the highly popular Star Wars Battlefront series, working alongside other pioneers such as Jade Raymond and Amy Hennig.
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