Kim Swift

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Kim Swift
Kim Swift - Game Developers Conference 2010 - Panel Day 4 (1).jpg
Swift at the 2010 Game Developers Conference
Kimberly Swift[1]

1982/1983 (age 38–39)[2]
OccupationVideo game designer

Kimberly Swift (born 1982 or 1983) is an American video game designer best known for her work at Valve with games such as Portal and Left 4 Dead. Swift was featured by Fortune as one of "30 Under 30" influential figures in the video game industry.[3] She was described in Mental Floss as one of the most recognized women in the industry[4] and by Wired as "an artist that will push the medium forward".[3]


A graduate of DigiPen, Kim Swift and a group of her fellow graduates developed Narbacular Drop, a portal-based game that was later presented to Valve, which led to Gabe Newell personally offering to hire them so that they could create the critically acclaimed game Portal.[5] Kim Swift was the leader of the Portal team as well as a level designer. She was credited along with writer Erik Wolpaw in Portal's Game Developers Choice Awards for design, innovation, and game of the year.[4]

Besides Portal, Swift has been involved in other Valve projects, most notably Left 4 Dead and its sequel, Left 4 Dead 2, where she also played a leading role in development.[6]

In December 2009, Swift left Valve to join Airtight Games. There, in cooperation with Square Enix, she led the team that developed Quantum Conundrum, which released in 2012.[7] In a 2012, in an interview with Wired, Swift expressed the opinion that the most important impact of video games is that they are "a socially acceptable way for adults to imagine".[8]

Amazon announced in April 2014 that they had brought Swift in to help build games in their internal studio.[9] Swift described her role as senior designer for as yet undisclosed projects.[7] In January 2017, Electronic Arts announced they have hired Swift as a design director within their Motive Studios, who developed Star Wars Battlefront II.[10]

Swift had been part of the Google Stadia internal development studio, Stadia Games & Entertainment, as a game design director, until Google closed down the studio in February 2021. By June 2021, Swift had been hired by Xbox Game Studios Publishing as the senior director of cloud gaming.[11] She helmed efforts within the division to provide cloud-native support for games that help to offload parts of processing from a user's own system, such as complex multiplayer portions of a game.[12]

Swift hosted the 20th Game Developers Choice Awards ceremony on March 18, 2020.[13]



  1. ^ "Narbacular Drop". DigiPen. 18 May 2018. Archived from the original on 26 September 2019. Retrieved 5 October 2019.
  2. ^ Dodson, Joe (October 13, 2007). "By Design - Half-Life 2: Orange Box". GameSpot. Archived from the original on April 13, 2019. Retrieved December 16, 2014.
  3. ^ a b Wired taff (November 21, 2013). "Games That Changed Everything: The Most Wired Games of the Generation". Wired. Archived from the original on November 17, 2015. Retrieved October 26, 2015.
  4. ^ a b c Erbland, Kate (October 14, 2013). "Kim Swift, the Woman Behind Portal". Mental Floss. Archived from the original on August 20, 2018. Retrieved October 26, 2015.
  5. ^ "Kim Swift". MobyGames. December 20, 2009. Archived from the original on March 5, 2013. Retrieved July 20, 2012.
  6. ^ "Left 4 Dead 2 Interview with Kim Swift". Left 4 Dead 2 Website. November 13, 2009. Archived from the original on March 10, 2014. Retrieved March 9, 2014.
  7. ^ a b McWhertor, Michael (April 2, 2014). "Amazon Game Studios hires Portal designer Kim Swift, Splinter Cell designer Clint Hocking". Polygon. Archived from the original on October 27, 2015. Retrieved October 26, 2015.
  8. ^ Rigney, Ryan (June 21, 2012). "Portal Designer Kim Swift Won't Let You Take Her Toys Away". Wired. Archived from the original on January 21, 2021. Retrieved March 2, 2021.
  9. ^ Shrieier, Chris (April 2, 2014). "Amazon Hires Portal's Kim Swift, Far Cry 2's Clint Hocking". Kotaku. Archived from the original on April 3, 2014. Retrieved April 2, 2014.
  10. ^ Makuch, Eddie (January 19, 2017). "Portal, Left 4 Dead Developer Kim Swift Joins EA". GameSpot. Archived from the original on January 27, 2017. Retrieved January 19, 2017.
  11. ^ Kerr, Chris (June 21, 2021). "Xbox Game Studios Publishing has hired Portal lead designer Kim Swift". Gamasutra. Archived from the original on June 21, 2021. Retrieved June 21, 2021.
  12. ^ Scullion, Chris (March 25, 2022). "Xbox has unveiled a new publishing division focused on 'cloud-native' games". Video Games Chronicle. Retrieved March 25, 2022.
  13. ^ Staff (January 8, 2020). "Death Stranding leads the pack of 2020 Game Developers Choice Awards nominees". Gamasutra. Archived from the original on January 8, 2020. Retrieved January 8, 2020.
  14. ^ "PIXLD". Airtight Mobile. October 25, 2012. Archived from the original on May 22, 2013. Retrieved June 20, 2013.
  15. ^ "Soul Fjord". Airtight Mobile. Archived from the original on February 2, 2014. Retrieved January 28, 2014.
  16. ^ "Star Wars: Battlefront II Credits". Moby Games. Archived from the original on 2019-01-25. Retrieved 2019-01-25.