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A key architect for the UK video games industry has been honored with a scholarship from a Midlands University Group and University Centre.
David Darling, founder and CEO of game development studio and publisher kwalee and co-founder of Codemasters, was made a Fellow of the Warwickshire College and University Center (WCUC).
The scholarship was awarded at a ceremony at St Mary’s Church, Warwick on October 13, which also saw graduate students from across the University Centre.
WCUC is the higher education arm of the WCG University Group (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 nickname for Leamington Spa, one of the largest groups of game developers in the UK.
The college offers a series of courses in game design and game art from level 3 to university level, with many of its graduates going on to work for game developers, including Kwalee.
David Darling is recognized as one of the founding fathers of ‘Silicon Spa’, having founded Codemasters with his brother Richard in the region in 1986.
Codemasters released classic game series including Micro Machines, Dizzy and Colin McRae Rally, which have sold millions of copies worldwide. In 2007, the Darlings sold their interests in the business.
David Darling founded Kwalee in Leamington Spa in 2011 and grew the company into one of the most successful hypercasual game publishers in the world. Since its inception, their games have been installed over 900 million times. Darling is still innovating after decades in the industry and remains more committed than ever to bringing great games to millions of gamers across mobile, PC and console platforms.
Kwalee employs around 300 people in its studios in the UK, India, Portugal and China and remote team members around the world. The company’s success has seen over £1.5million in profits paid directly to its employees. Currently, Kwalee has over 180 open positions on its career portal.
David Darling has opened up on his shared history with Warwickshire, saying: “It was a big surprise and I’m really proud to have been made a Fellow of WCUC. I will try to motivate students and will be particularly interested in those in art and game design classes. My daughter went to college and really enjoyed and benefited from their creative, hands-on, hands-on approach.”
“We are always looking for new talent at Kwalee and the role of the education system is very important in developing this talent..”
“It’s great that people have the ability to learn about games now, it wasn’t really an option when I was a student in the 1980s.”
“When I was a kid, we traveled around the world. I went to 14 different schools and lived in many countries. We settled here in Warwickshire and have been here for 30 years now. This is my home, 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 distinction that we can award as a college group and university center. The scholarships are presented after careful consideration, and we were delighted to recognize David Darling this year.”
“David has been one of the most influential figures in the domestic video game industry over the past 40 years and continues to innovate and create great games for millions of gamers around the world.”
“His work has had a significant positive impact on the economy of Leamington and Warwickshire at large, and we are pleased to welcome David to our core group of Fellows..”
Watch the video of the ceremony: