Keeping it in the family: Emirati brothers' gaming venture set to win milestones

Hussain and Jaber Darwish, along with their cousin Ismail Ahli, are determined to forge a lasting legacy through their enterprise, Foxrito Studios

By Sandhya D’Mello

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Published: Thu 16 May 2024, 5:51 PM

Dubai-based Emirati brothers Hussain and Jaber Darwish, and their cousin Ismail Ahli have vowed to create a lasting legacy through their venture, Foxrito Studios.

The genesis of Foxrito Studios can be traced back to a casual conversation between Ismail and Hussain, where they contemplated the idea of creating a horror game inspired by their childhood experiences. What started as a spontaneous remark soon evolved into a shared vision fuelled by passion, creativity, and a desire to disrupt the gaming industry.

With Jaber's invaluable support and legal expertise, the trio seized upon the opportunity to upgrade into a video game development studio, setting the stage for an entrepreneurial journey.

“The gaming industry's future in the Middle East is incredibly promising, thanks to the region's burgeoning digital economy and investments in innovation. As an indie studio with limitless ambitions, Foxrito is poised to play a pivotal role in shaping this future by creating immersive, culturally relevant gaming experiences that resonate with audiences worldwide. By leveraging our storytelling prowess and commitment to creativity, we aim to elevate the MENA gaming landscape and help establish Dubai as a global hub for gaming innovation and excellence in the region,” said Hussain Darwish, co-founder, producer and managing director of Foxrito Studios.

Hussain brings a wealth of experience in aviation business administration, coupled with a passion for gaming and entrepreneurship. His professional background in overseas airport management at Emirates Airline has honed his leadership skills and business acumen, which he now applies to drive the success of Foxrito Studios.

The trio share that their family heritage has played a pivotal role in shaping their entrepreneurial spirit. “With our late father pioneering the used watches market in Dubai in the late 1960s, and our uncle, Ismail’s father, running successful catering businesses across the UAE, we grew up witnessing first-hand dedication, resilience, and innovative thinking required to succeed in business. These experiences instilled in us a strong work ethic; a passion for excellence; and a willingness to embrace challenges head-on. Our family's entrepreneurial legacy serves as both inspiration and motivation as we chart our own path in the gaming industry,” said Jaber Darwish, co-founder and legal advisor of Foxrito Studios.

Jaber leverages his dual bachelor’s degrees in Economics and Law & Public Policy to provide strategic guidance and legal counsel. His experience as a major at the General Directorate of Residency and Foreign Affairs, Dubai, equips the business with a unique perspective on regulatory compliance and governance.

The aspiring brothers and cousin acknowledge that the UAE, and Dubai in particular, has been instrumental in this ambitious journey.

“The government's forward-thinking initiatives and unwavering support for innovation have created a fertile ground for budding entrepreneurs like us to thrive. From providing access to resources to offering mentorship and networking opportunities, Dubai has been a catalyst for our growth and development. Additionally, the city's vibrant and diverse ecosystem has exposed us to a wealth of talent, ideas, and perspectives, enriching our journey and fuelling our aspirations. We are grateful for the support and opportunities accorded to us by the Government of Dubai and remain committed to contributing to its continued success,” said Ismail Ahli, creative and executive director of Foxrito Studios.

Ismail draws upon his background in aviation management and his position as an international affairs planning and statistical officer at Dubai Civil Aviation Authority. His passion for creativity and innovation drives him to spearhead the studio's artistic vision and creative direction.

Mentors shape dreams

The core team of Foxrito Studios draws immense inspiration from Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

“While we have not had the privilege of meeting our mentors in person, their influence on our journey has been profound, nonetheless. Foremost among them is Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, whose visionary leadership and unwavering pursuit of excellence have left an indelible mark on us,” said Hussain.

“His Highness once famously said, ‘In the race of excellence, there is no finish line,’ a sentiment that resonates deeply with our ethos at Foxrito Studios. His commitment to innovation, perseverance, and pushing the boundaries of what's possible has been a guiding light for us,” he added.

The trio also draws inspiration from luminaries within the gaming industry, such as Hideo Kojima and Shinji Mikami, the creators of the Metal Gear Solid and Resident Evil franchises, respectively.

The iconic figures have redefined storytelling, gameplay mechanics, and player immersion shaping the very fabric of modern gaming. “By studying their works and philosophies from afar, we've learned the importance of innovation, attention to detail, and the relentless pursuit of excellence. Their legacies serve as guiding lights as we navigate the challenges and opportunities of the gaming industry,” concludes Ismail.


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