Valve "have management" says Portal 1 lead designer

Chris Thursten at

Quantum Conundrum

Speaking to Eurogamer, Portal 1 lead designer Kim Swift has explained that there are a couple of bumps in Valve's otherwise-flat management structure.

"They have management, there's the board of directors of the company, there's Gabe Newell" she explains. "Those guys at the top of the company definitely have opinions on how things should be run."

It's a slightly different picture to the one described in the Valve Employee Handbook, which a few weeks ago gave us a rare glimpse into the workings of the famously private developer - but it's doubtful that Swift's claims will surprise many people.

Her statements moderate Valve's own depiction of itself in a way that makes a lot of sense. "There are definitely people behind the scenes making decisions for the company" she says. "To me, that's normal."

What she says doesn't necessarily contradict Gabe Newell's recent interview with Bloomberg Businessweek, where he explained that Valve describe their employees as individual and group contributors rather than managers and employees. A flat system still provides room for people to exert influence, and it's no surprise that this is apparently the case at Valve.

Swift is currently working on dimension-shifting first-person puzzler Quantum Conundrum at Airtight Games, and she stresses that she parted from Valve on good terms. "I still have a great relationship with those guys."

Check out Tom's Quantum Conundrum preview for more on Kim Swift's next game.