Kim Swift  Tagged Articles RSS Feed | Kim Swift  RSS Feed on en Launch Media Network 5 Kick-Ass Women in the Game Industry Sun, 04 May 2014 20:06:13 -0400 WesleyG


Amy Hennig got her Bachelor's degree in English literature from Cal University with her eyes set on the film industry, until she took at job as an artist for Atari. While working on the game Electrocop, she decided that games are "a more interesting and pioneering medium than film" and dropped out of film school to begin her gaming career.


She became the lead designer on Michael Jordan: Chaos in the Windy City before she made a name for herself at Crystal Dynamics as the writer, producer, and director of Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver. She's best known for her work at Naughty Dog on the Uncharted franchise as game director of the original as well as head writer on Among Thieves and Drake's Deception (the last two earned her the Writer's Guild Award for Video Game Writing in 2010 and 2012).


After being reportedly "forced out" of Naughty Dog back in March, she's now working at Visceral Games as the creative director of a currently unknown Star Wars project. If Uncharted 4 takes a dip in quality while a Star Wars game suddenly becomes the new benchmark in storytelling in video games, you'll know why.


Who are some of your favorite women in the game industry? Leave a comment and let us know who deserves to be recognized.


At the age of 12 years old, Corrinne Yu took advantage of the Apple II donated to her junior high school and began programming games. She's credited as an elite programmer on the classic King's Quest series on the Apple II, as well as creating the game engines that would power such games as Borderlands, Halo 4, Quake 2, and others.


Outside of the game industry, she's also programmed for NASA in a key role on America’s Space Shuttle Program at Rockwell International California, making her one of the only people to program both real and virtual spaceships. She's currently working at Naughty Dog, coding animation and graphics for PS4 titles including a remastered edition of The Last of Us.


Kim Swift got her start in games at the Digipen Institute of Technology where she helped code a puzzle game called Narbacular Drop. Kim and her team exhibited the game at a Digipen career fair, where Valve developer Robin Walker invited her and her team to do a presentation of the game for Valve. The team accepted and after their presentation Gabe Newell gave the entire team a job offer to build a new game just like Narbacular Drop.


Kim Swift would become the lead designer on that new game which the world would come to know as Portal. Kim would continue to work on other Valve games such as Left for Dead 1 & 2 before leaving the company in November of 2009 to join Airtight Games.


She created games such as Quantum Conundrum and the Ouya exclusive Soul Fjord before being hired by Amazon last month to help bolster Amazon's new video game development studio. According to Kim's very own LinkedIn page, she's currently "working on secret things for a secret amount of time that no one can know about. Shhhhh."


Robin Hunicke studied "dynamic difficulty adjustment in games" as a graduate student at Northwestern University. During her studies she worked on a mod for Half-Life that adjusted the game's difficulty based on the player's performance before Left 4 Dead's AI Director became a thing.


After a conversation with Will Wright at a conference, she decided to make the jump into the game industry, designing expansion packs for The Sims and becoming the lead designer on MySims. She's best known for her work with thatgamecompany as the Executive Producer for Journey. She's currently the co-founder and CEO of Funomena working on a mostly-unannounced commercial game.


What drives her is her desire to create games that elicit feelings from the player. She recently spoke at Humlab in Sweden about a concept she calls "Feeling-First Games." The short version of it tasks independent developers with building games centered around the desired emotional outcome of the game instead of building games around which mechanics you want to use (is it a shooter, a racing game, etc).


Lets start this list with one of the most well known female voices in indie gaming today, Zoe Quinn.


She's the creator of Depression Quest and a frequent participant of game jams. She's also well-known for being the constant target of harassment that ranges from misspelled attacks to in-depth conspiracy theories. In an industry that would rather cover up and ignore, her willingness to share that harassment in an effort to shed light on the underbelly of the gaming community has made her a respected figure for equality in gaming.


Personally, I'd recommend everyone go play Depression Quest, which is free to play on her website. It wasn't an easy game for me as it brought up memories and feelings from my own struggles with depression back in high school and college.


She's currently working on It's Not Okay, Cupid, a game based on the dating site OK Cupid, and is the narrative designer on Framed.

Portal and Far Cry 2 Designers Join Amazon Game Studios Wed, 02 Apr 2014 19:23:25 -0400 Lauren Puga

Turns out Amazon is taking this whole game studio thing pretty seriously. 

As first reported by Kotaku, Amazon Game Studios recently welcomed two award-winning game designers to their team - Portal designer Kim Swift and Far Cry 2 designer Clint Hocking.

In addition to her time at Valve, Swift previously worked at Airtight Games to design games like Soul Fjord and Quantum Conundrum. Hocking’s own resume includes time at Ubisoft, Valve and LucasArts.

Such high-profile hires prove that Amazon is serious about their place in the video game industry. The company also made gaming news headlines back in February when they acquired Double Helix Games - the studio behind Killer Instinct.

News of Amazon Game Studio's new talent closely follows the announcement of Amazon’s new streaming box, Fire TV. The device dual-functions as a mini-console, featuring thousands of games from big-name developers. Perhaps that’s where Swift’s Ouya experience comes into play? Only time will tell.

Ouya Exclusive Soul Fjord Launches January 28 Tue, 14 Jan 2014 09:45:32 -0500 Rich Kovarovic

Airtight Games has announced a release date for its Ouya exclusive title Soul Fjord, with the game arriving on the Android-based console January 28th. The game will launch for free, but has in-game purchases.

Soul Fjord is the latest project from Airtight Games, developer of the puzzler Quantum Conundrum, lead by creative director Kim Swift. Swift previously worked as lead designer on Portal, as well helping the development Left 4 Dead and Left 4 Dead 2. Airtight announced Soul Fjord early last year, describes the game as a “rhythm-based roguelike,” and will feature procedurally generated dungeons and musical combat. The game blends 70’s funk trappings and Norse mythology as it puts “players into the dance shoes of funk Viking Magnus Jones as he attempts to save the world from Ragnarok.”

Soul Fjord also features original music from award-winning composer Austin Wintory, whose body of work includes music for the critically acclaimed PSN title Journey,  indie title Monaco: What’s Yours is Mine, as well as the recently released The Banner Saga. In Soul Fjord, Wintory has been working on a score that melds classic funk tunes and Viking vibes.

Along with the press release issued today, Airtight has also put out a new developer diary focusing on Wintory’s work on the game, which you can check out below.