A key architect of the UK video games industry has been honoured with a Fellowship from a Midlands college group and university centre.
David Darling, Founder & CEO of game development studio and publisher Kwalee and co-founder of Codemasters, has been named a Fellow of Warwickshire College and University Centre (WCUC).
The Fellowship was awarded in a ceremony at St Mary’s Church in Warwick on 13th October, which also saw students graduating from across the university centre.
WCUC is the Higher Education arm of college group WCG (formerly Warwickshire College Group), which includes Royal Leamington Spa College, Warwick Trident College, Moreton Morrell College, Rugby College, Pershore College, and Evesham College.
Royal Leamington Spa College is based in the heart of Silicon Spa, a moniker for Leamington Spa, one of the biggest clusters of games developers in the UK.
The college runs a series of Games Design and Games Art courses from Level 3 up to degree level, with many of its graduates going on to work for games developers including Kwalee.
David Darling is recognised as one of the founding fathers of ‘Silicon Spa’, having founded Codemasters with his brother Richard in the region in 1986.
Codemasters launched classic game series, including Micro Machines, Dizzy, and Colin McRae Rally, which have gone on to sell millions of copies worldwide. In 2007, the Darlings sold their interests in the business.
David Darling founded Kwalee in Leamington Spa in 2011 and has grown the business into one of the world’s most successful hypercasual game publishers. Since its inception, their games have been installed over 900 million times. Darling is still innovating after decades in the industry and he remains as committed as ever to bringing great games to millions of players on mobile, PC, and console platforms.
Kwalee employs approximately 300 people across its studios in the UK, India, Portugal, and China and remote team members worldwide. The company’s success has seen more than £1.5 million in profits paid directly to its employees. Currently, Kwalee has over 180 open roles on its careers portal.
David Darling opened up about his shared history with Warwickshire, saying: “It was a great surprise and I’m really proud to have been made a Fellow of WCUC. I’ll try and motivate the students and take a particular interest with those on the games art and games design courses. My daughter studied at the college and really enjoyed and benefited from their creative, practical, and hands-on approach.”
“We’re always looking for new talented people at Kwalee and the educational system’s role is very important in developing that talent.”
“It’s great that people have the opportunity to learn about games now, that wasn’t really an option when I was a student back in the 1980s.”
“When I was a child, we moved around the world. I went to 14 different schools and lived in a lot of countries. We settled here in Warwickshire and have been here for 30 years now. It’s home to me, a beautiful place, and I love living here in the heart of the country.”
Angela Joyce, CEO of WCUC, said: “The title of Fellow is the highest accolade we can award as a college group and university centre. Fellowships are presented after great consideration, and we were delighted to recognise David Darling this year.”
“David is one of the most influential figures in the nation’s video game industry of the last 40 years and is still innovating and creating great games for millions of players worldwide.”
“His work has had a significant positive impact on the economy in Leamington and wider Warwickshire, and we are pleased to welcome David to our select group of Fellows.”
Watch the video from the ceremony: