Yours is a story of success. How did you manage to grow from a studio with a handful of employees to one of the most successful software providers of 2020?
CJ: The high calibre of talent that we have here at Blueprint Gaming has unquestionably been a defining factor in helping the business grow. We have built a team of individuals that are experienced across various areas including design, artwork, math and software. With a superb leadership team, there’s been a clear strategy of how to grow the business based around developing a content portfolio that appeals to players and operators alike.
Having a flexible approach has also been a key factor in allowing us to evolve over the years. We’re not 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.
At MegawaysSlots.com our favourite Blueprint slot from 2019 has been Return of Kong, which one is the one that makes you most proud?
CJ:It’s difficult to narrow it down to a single title, as there are quite a few that spring to mind when thinking of the impact they have had on our company. Take Viz™, for example, which was the first online slot that we ever produced. The game inspired by the popular comic magazine hit the online market over a decade ago and has since been enhanced to mark the 40th anniversary of the publication.
From our branded games portfolio, The Goonies™ is the standout performer, receiving critical acclaim from both players and the industry for its immersive gameplay that brings the iconic gang back together as they look to unearth the long-lost fortune of One-Eyed Willy.
Diamond Mine is another important creation as it signalled the first Blueprint game to incorporate Megaways™ and kickstarted our dominance of the popular mechanic. We now have over 30 titles that utilise the feature, which have proven to become a real hit with players across the globe.
Viz™ will always hold special significance for us as it was the first online slot that we ever produced. The game inspired by the popular comic magazine hit the online market over a decade ago and has since been enhanced to mark the 40th anniversary of the publication.
How and when did you start producing Megaways Slots? Was it hard to get a licence from Big Time Gaming?
CJ:We first released Diamond Mine Megaways™ back in May 2018. The original game had been in development for a while before that and we saw the mechanic as the perfect way to ramp up the user experience.
It wasn’t difficult at all to acquire the licence from Big Time Gaming (BTG). When we first approached Nik Robinson (BTG Managing Director) about the potential to license the product, it was clear there was an opportunity for both parties to broaden the appeal of Megaways™. Since then, we’ve been able to take the mechanic to the next level and continue the development of the brand in our own unique style.
You have released some of the most interesting branded games in the Megaways series. Titles like Deal or No Deal Megaways and Rick and Morty Megaways are blockbusters in the video-slots world just a few months after their release. How did you get a licence for working with such big names in the entertainment industry?
CJ:Branded slots play a big part in our game roadmap, complementing our range of in-house developed titles perfectly. The use of a popular brand is effective in not only reaching a wide audience to play the licensed game, but also sparking interest in the Blueprint brand itself. We work with highly respected IP licencing specialists and some of the leading license holders in the business, including Warner Bros. Consumer Products, Paramount Pictures and Endemol Shine, who provide us with access to a huge variety of licences each year, mostly as they become available on the market.
We select each brand and licence very carefully. They have to reflect our core values in keeping the gaming experience light-hearted and fun, while also resonating with our loyal player base. Blueprint now has a strong reputation for delivering high quality games which utilise the license effectively. We’re now in the situation brand owners approach us rather than the other way around, as they entrust our team to follow their strict guidelines and create a polished product which keeps their brand authentic.
How do you decide the theme and story behind the video slots you are going to develop?
CJ:It’s a given that our game designers love slots. They are essentially players, hence they are very in-tune with the latest trends impacting the industry. This knowledge translates directly into each game design, as they know the themes and mechanics that will grab the attention of players. Seasonal events also come into the equation, so it’s imperative that we plan our games well ahead of time and maximise each opportunity.
When you are planning a new slot for the Megaways series do you have a lot of freedom when it comes to special features? Do you have to follow strict guidelines from Big Time Gaming?
CJ:Megaways™ is purely a reel mechanic and we’re not restricted at all as to how the game is produced. How a supplier implements the feature is entirely at their own discretion, which is why these games may seem similar on the face of things, but are actually very different.
As the first games studio to acquire the Megaways™ licence, we’ve proven we know how to get the most out of the popular feature and our design teams creativity has incorporated even more features to make the mechanic even more appealing to players. We’ve been able to tweak the mechanic, introducing varying pay lines and not sticking with the traditional 117.649 ways format as has been seen with other license holders.
What gives us the competitive edge is how we put the Blueprint stamp onto each Megaways™ game. We look to build even more exciting concepts around the core function, such as the gamble wheel and other bonus features, plus we haven’t been afraid to revisit some of our most popular back catalogue games and add Megaways™ to what was already a successful formula. Taking these calculated risks, not only speeds up the development time of new releases, but gives players the best of both worlds, the most popular mechanic at the moment and some of the most popular themes.
Things are looking great for Blueprint Gaming right now. What are your plans for the future?
CJ:We’ll keep looking to build fun, engaging games for our loyal players and continue to create unique moments in slot gaming. We have a packed roadmap of games for release during the year ahead, featuring more Megaways™ developments and some of our own innovative in-house concepts, plus some exciting new licensed brands that we’ll be revealing in the coming months. We also have some new initiatives which we’ll be announcing shortly, which again look to further our relationship with talented industry professionals and operators alike.
See the full interview over on Megawaysslots.com here.