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Award-winning games company founder says DMU gave him the confidence to succeed


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The co-founder of an award-winning computer games company says that he owes his success to the vision and support of the teachers at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU).

David Banner studied at DMU in the early 1990s, taking Graphic Design as a way of developing skills he really wanted to use in the burgeoning games industry.

David Banner (2)

Since then he has been involved in some of the biggest names in gaming, working with Eidos during its Tomb Raider heyday and later forming his own company, Wales Interactive, which has released a strong of award-winning games, most recently releasing The Bunker to rave reviews on PS4, Xbox One, PC and Mac.

But David, now 43, insists that it was the support and encouragement he had at DMU which set him on his subsequent path.

David Banner (4)

He said: "At the time I went to DMU, there were no dedicated computer games courses available so the closest thing was Graphic Design.

"I loved games and they were just taking hold, on things like the Amiga and Sega Mega Drive systems.

"The lecturers at DMU - especially a chap called Matthew Lane - were willing to allow me to submit things I'd done in design software as a portfolio.

"They were willing to challenge what constituted graphic design back then and from that I was able to assemble a portfolio and improve the skills I really wanted to."

Part way through his last year at DMU, David wrote off to a software developer and, on the evidence of some of his work, was invited to the firm's offices and offered a job.

He said: "The problem was they wanted me to quit uni and start with them. But I was the first one in my family to go to university and I wanted to see it through.

"I came out of my course with first-class honours and so much confidence, knowing I was wanted in the industry."

After finishing at DMU and moving back to his native Wales, it wasn't long before David, doggedly writing to every software firm he could, landed a job with a London company, about to become Eidos Interactive, which produced the hugely popular Tomb Raider, Deus Ex and Commandos games.

David Banner (1)

David said: "This was an amazing introduction to the industry and let me really hone my skills and see how games were put together; the whole process."

In 2004, David went back to Wales to eventually set up his own company, Wales Interactive, which he co-founded with Richard Pring.

The firm has produced and developed a series of games, including Soul Axiom, Master Reboot and most recently, The Bunker, a unique post-apocalyptic adventure game which uses live action film instead of computer graphics.

David Banner (5)

The company's games have won them a string of awards, including five Welsh BAFTAs.

David said: "I'm proud of what I've done but I do maintain that it was that support at DMU which showed me I could do it, that I could have this career. That kind of thing stays with you forever."

The Bunker is out now on PS4, Xbox One, PC and Mac.

Posted on Monday 3rd October 2016

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