Leamington Spa, UK, 1 November 2022 - A key architect of the UK video games industry has been honoured with a Fellowship from a Midlands college group and university centre.
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:
Find out more about the Kwalee game studio.
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Kwalee is a games publisher and developer based in Leamington Spa, UK, which boasts more than 900 million installs on mobile platforms with games such as Teacher Simulator, Draw it, Bake It, Shootout 3D, Rocket Sky! and Line Up: Draw the Criminal. The company also publishes a growing catalogue of PC and console titles, including Eternal Hope, Scathe and the upcoming Die by the Blade, Wildmender and Robobeat.
Founded by games industry icon and Codemasters co-founder David Darling CBE, who is joined by a fast-growing team of global gaming experts with studios in the UK, India, Portugal and China and remote team members all over the world, Kwalee is on the lookout for high-quality games to publish on all platforms and encourages developers to get in touch.
Outside of its games, Kwalee is also highly active in the industry, as an ambassador of not-for-profit organisation Women in Games and a regular supporter of the charity SpecialEffect.
About David Darling
David Darling has been a key architect of the UK games industry since co-founding Codemasters with his brother in 1986, launching classic gaming series such as Micro Machines, Dizzy and Colin McRae Rally along the way. Now CEO and founder of Kwalee, one of the world’s most successful hyper casual game publishers, David 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.
About Warwickshire College and University Centre (WCUC)
WCG is a leading education group in the Midlands with six colleges across Warwickshire and Worcestershire – offering a course pathway from Entry Level up to Honours degree.
It is a diverse college group and includes Royal Leamington Spa College, Rugby College, Warwick Trident College, Moreton Morrell College, Evesham College and Pershore College – with more than 14,000 students.
The colleges range from general Further Education to those with engineering, horticulture and land-based specialities.
WCG was the first college in the UK to be granted Bachelor degree awarding powers and in 2021 launched Warwickshire College and University Centre for its Higher Education provision. The college group also benefits from a Student visa licence allowing it to recruit students from overseas.
The college group is the largest college provider of apprenticeship training in the region, with more than 2,000 apprentices trained every year and working with over 1,100 local, regional and national employers.
In November 2021 WCG was awarded the Queen's Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education, in recognition of the outstanding contribution made by the group's engineering apprenticeship programmes, bridging the skills gap successfully and rapidly responding to changing supply-chain needs in industry.