A legend of the gaming industry has passed away. David Ward, who helped found Ocean Software, has died at 75 years of age. Ocean Software was a prolific force in gaming in the 1990s, building a massive library of published and developed arcade ports, licensed games, and further titles.
Ward’s passing was announced by his son, who posted of his death on May 9, 2022 via Twitter. There was no detail on what caused David Ward’s death, but Ben Ward’s posting of his father’s year of birth put David at 75 years old.
“Sad to report that my father David Ward has died,” Ben wrote. “Born in 1947, he was a computer games pioneer and father of six. We had a complicated relationship and we loved each other. Will miss you, Pop.”
David Ward created Ocean Software with co-founder Jon Woods. It began as Spectrum Games and distributed clones of popular arcade games for the ZX81, ZX Spectrum, and VIC-20 home computer systems. However, David and Woods eventually rebranded to the iconic name and built an empire of home console ports of popular arcade games like Arkanoid and Berzerk, as well as a massive library of licensed games both developed and published. Ocean’s efforts in gaming produced some of the first and most successful games in franchises such as Batman, RoboCop, and Jurassic Park.
Ocean Software would eventually merge with Infogrames and be rebranded first to Infogrames United Kingdom and then to Atari United Kingdom Limited. The current rights and assets of everything Ocean Software was is currently under the control of Bandai Namco UK.
Nonetheless, Ocean Software was one of the most prolific publisher/developers of the 1990s and 1980s, earning awards throughout its existence in throughout the industry. We have plenty of Batman and other DC games to look forward to in the immediate future, but Ocean was an early pioneer of the licensed gaming scene and Ward was one of the pathfinders that lead it there. Shacknews wishes the best to Ward’s family and friends during this time.