This Q&A session is with Jo Purvis, Director of Marketing and Relationships at Blueprint Gaming Ltd. Jo speaks in-depth about how Blueprint Gaming got started, the game releases the company is most excited for in the coming months, the Megaways mechanic and why popular characters are so good for keeping slot games entertaining.
Read the full Q&A on Gambling.com
Q: Hi Jo – thanks for taking the time to speak with us! First, please tell us a little bit about how Blueprint Gaming started and how it came to be the game provider that it is today.
My pleasure! The Blueprint adventure started back in 2006 with a small team of industry-bred talent from the land-based retail sector. The company quickly gained a reputation for creating innovative games that really resonated players and gained a strong foothold in the land-based digital AWP and SWP markets. In 2009, Blueprint moved into the online environment with the release of its first slot Viz™, inspired by the popular comic magazine.
The high caliber of talent we have here at Blueprint has unquestionably been a defining factor in helping the business grow and to deliver high-performing games. We’ve built a team that are experienced across various areas including design, artwork, math and software. With a superb leadership team, there has always been a clear strategy of how to take the next step forward and what kind of content to develop for the portfolio that appeals to players and operators alike.
Having a flexible approach has also been a key in allowing us to evolve over the years. We haven’t been tied down to a set working method, which enables the team to become more reactive to player trends and ensure that the content we produce resonates with our target audience.
Q: Tell us a bit about releases that Blueprint Gaming fans should expect in the coming months?
We’ve got a bumper few months ahead with lots of releases planned. May will see us deliver two key releases to our global network of operator partners – Legacy of the Gods Megaways™ and Rhino Rampage.
Legacy of the Gods continues with our success in utilising the Megaways™ license, which now stands at over 30 titles from our own portfolio. This almighty slot includes all the features Blueprint has added to make the mechanic even more attractive to players, such as our unique free spins multiplier volatility selector and the mystery symbol which transforms into any other symbol creating even more chances to win.
Rhino Rampage features a new take on the progressive system for Blueprint, including a progressive pot and three Super pots, all available to win through the action packed Lightning Spins and the Lightning Spins Wheel, which can award any of the jackpot prizes.
We’ve also expanded our library of converted Reel Time Gaming titles with the release of four new slots – 7s Deluxe, Crown Gems, Thai Flower and Hot Frootastic. We know that popular retail games can work in the online market too when they are optimised, as proven by the success of Eye of Horus and Fishin’ Frenzy, which are as attractive in the online market as they are in arcades, LBO and casino settings.
After an incredible start to the year, which has already seen the huge launches of Rick & Morty Megaways™ and Sausage Party™, the releases are not letting up and May promises to be another cracking month for us.
Q: If there’s one thing that Blueprint Gaming is well known for it’s progressive jackpots. Tell us a little bit as to why you think players love slot jackpots so much.
The life-changing prize that’s on offer is what players love about progressive jackpots. Jackpot King has evolved over the years, keeping on trend with player and operator demands and is one of the most popular operator specific progressive jackpots on the market. It is certainly one of the most prolific for the amounts and numbers of payout, having made multiple millionaires across a number of brands to date, including five winners on Sky Vegas alone.
However, the jackpot only works well when the game it is supporting is strong enough to attract players. We select games very carefully to be included in Jackpot King. They must have substance as a game in their own right and offer players the right combination of gameplay to retain their interest for long periods of time. Without that, the pots will not build and the life-changing amounts will never been seen or paid out.
Q: One of your most recent releases is Gorilla Gold Megaways. Tell us about the new Power 4 Slots mechanic that’s introduced in the game?
We’ve used the four-reel sets concept before, mainly as an extended free spins feature. The opportunity to try the four-reel system with Megaways™ was too tempting for our game designers and they have really pulled off a master stroke.
Since taking the Megaways™ licence, Blueprint has always tried to push the boundaries of what is possible with the mechanic. While many suppliers simply stick the mechanic to any old game, we’ve been driven to take it to a new level. Our innovations have really moved the popular system forward and adding it to four reel sets in the same game, ramping the pay lines up to 470,596, is a glowing example of our approach.
Q: You are releasing a Jackpot King version of Fishin Frenzy. Explain to fans exactly what ‘jackpot king’ is, and how it will make the game different?
Jackpot King is an operator-specific progressive jackpot system that offers huge prizes to players from any spin and stake. The first incarnation featured a single jackpot and now the latest Deluxe version features a three-pot system. Sitting alongside the main prize are two ‘must be won by’ pots, Royal and Regal, that drop by specific values, meaning prize money is paid out more often.
Fishin’ Frenzy is one of the best known and most popular retail games across Europe and in the UK arcade and LBO market. We launched an online version of the classic game a couple of years ago and it has consistently been a top performer. Progressive jackpots attract a certain player, so adding Jackpot King to Fishin’ Frenzy is sure to open up the slot to a wider audience.
Q: Blueprint Gaming is well known for releasing massive IP themed slots at online casinos – for example The Goonies, Rick & Morty, Ted and Sausage Party. Do you think having recognisable characters in a slot game makes the experience more engaging for fans?
Absolutely. We’ve proven in the releases you’ve mentioned that having a well-known brand on top of a good game is a winning formula. Not only do they have instantly recognisable characters, but the licences we select already have a strong base that kick starts the popularity of these games.
Being true to the licences is extremely important as these fans expect authenticity of the brand. Blueprint is renowned for delivering this, as we ensure every game is made from scratch rather than just adding a licence’s theme on top of a re-skinned title. Brand owners demand respect of their license and our track record of handling licenses now means brand owners are offering Blueprint their best IP’s first, knowing the quality of the slot they will get from our team.
Q: How do you pick up the topics/movies/series for these kinds of slots, since we’ve noticed some sort of a quirky/naughty tendency here? Do you have a very specific audience in mind?
We pick and choose licences that we feel will resonate with our loyal fan base. At Blueprint, we have a ‘tongue in cheek’ way of working and don’t take ourselves too seriously, and we aim to bring that into every game we develop.
At the end of the day, we are players ourselves and have a good understanding of what players want. Licences are selected with this in mind. We take the ones which appeal to us and the ones which excite us not only on a potential game play level, but on the nostalgia or trending level. If they make us laugh, or rekindle great positive memories, then it’s a licence we’re interested in.
Q: If you could name one thing that makes Blueprint Gaming games unique from other game developers, what would it be?
Our games are made by players for players, which create unique moments in gaming. We keep on trend with what is happening in the gaming world and our flexible working approach means we can react quicker and better than most to the latest gaming feature, mechanic or innovation. This also relates to films, TV and social trends. Reflecting that in our games gives an instant impact and a very good chance of long-term player retention.
Q: What’s the long term look like for Blueprint Gaming? Will you continue to focus on slot games? Are there plans to branch out further into other types of games? Are you planning to continue with Megaways and/or planning to come up with something equally big?
Slot games is what we’ve built our business on and that is where our future remains, it’s what we know from the ground up. As long as Megaways™ proves popular with players, the mechanic will form an important part of our games roadmap.
We’ll continue to develop around the feature, adding exciting new twists and bringing a fresh look at a licence which is now being diluted somewhat by all the other companies who have taken it onboard. Our designers are always brimming with innovative ideas and developing the basis of what a slot is, from looking at our own game concepts, to potential licenses, media or mechanics.
We recently launched a new third party programme, in which we have invited developers who are struggling to break through the chance of a helping hand via our RGS and operator network. The initiative will play a key role going forward, not only in expanding our games to market ratio, which is one of the highest in the industry anyway, but also providing a platform for the talent that are striving for a foothold.