Q&A WITH M|VIDEOSLOTS
Thank you for taking the time to do this interview. It has been a difficult year in many ways, yet you continue to surprise with new blockbuster releases, like Rick and Morty™ Megaways™ and ted™ Megaways™. Have the past several months had any an impact on your slots provision?
Jo Purvis (JP): Our release schedule is set out well in advance, at least six months ahead of time. So, although the current situation impacting the world has affected many areas of the industry, our game distribution pipeline has seen little impact.
We’ve had to adapt quickly and learn new ways of functioning as a company, with many of the team adjusting to remote working as we changed our day-to-day operations. With an office of over 100 people, setting up and organising staff members with little notice caused a few logistical challenges, but the team pulled together and solutions where found extremely quickly, meaning it was mainly business, just not as usual.
Understanding the impact and new processes for our operating partners has been the main challenge in our continued high capacity schedule. However, the strong relationships which we’ve built over the years paid huge dividends, allowing our strong communication lines to continue as normal.
You have an impressive collection of more than 30 Megaways™ slots with a massive following. With so many Megaways™ games released over the years, how popular does this mechanic continue to be among players?
JP: There’s no getting away from the fact Megaways™ has shifted the goal posts when it comes to online slot gaming. Blueprint were the first company to recognise its potential and acquiring the mechanic’s licence early on has most definitely paid off. It’s important to stress though that the mechanic is not the be-all-and-end-all of iGaming, it’s simply a strong edition to our already successful portfolio of in-house developed concepts.
Our history of creating robust brands which have real longevity and attract loyal players across multiple markets has proved just as popular. The likes of Jackpot King, the Pub Fruit Series and our latest Lightning Spins™ bonus concept will continue to offer something different and draw in the players which look outside the singular Megaways™ route.
Megaways™ has undoubtedly added an extra spice to these brands and to Blueprint’s offering. We’re not content with just taking the mechanic as it’s supplied and will continue to add exciting new features and additional functionalities going forward.
The Megaways™ licence holder, Big Time Gaming, has recently released their new innovation in slots that they call Megaclusters. Is this something that we may also see in your games in the future?
JP: Who knows, we always keep a close eye on all industry trends and innovations which resonate with players.
Speaking of cluster or grid slots, you released your very first such game, Dragonfall, late last year. Looking at the Big Win Board stats within your slots, it seems to be one of the most rewarding games since the start of the year, showcasing wins of more than 6,000x bet. Is this slot format something that you would like to pursue more or enhance upon?
JP: Grid games are a perfect example of how we offer something for everyone to meet all player tastes. Dragonfall added a new arm to our catalogue, a game that several operators had requested we develop. They appeal to a large percentage of the playing community, unsurprisingly with the outstanding win potential they offer.
Our reputation of producing chart topping titles which appeal to players, as well as our very close working relationships built over a number of successful years, means we’re constantly discussing the next potential opportunity with casino operators.
Grid games offer a different take on the standard gaming format, so if the appetite is there from players and operators alike, it’s certainly a format we’ll explore further in the future.
In addition to your highly successful Megaways™ slots, Blueprint also has a fascinating portfolio of branded slots, including the newly launched ted™ Megaways™. What have been some of the most memorable moments or games that you’ve had most fun developing?
JP: Branded games are hugely important to our offering. We’re very selective on the licences which we choose for game development. They must complement our philosophy of creating a fun, relaxed gaming environment for players, which is why the majority of our branded slots are derived from cartoon or comic-style Hollywood brands.
The Goonies™ will always be a highlight in our licensed games portfolio. The award-winning slot helped to raise the profile of Blueprint throughout the industry. It really has become the benchmark for not only our own branded games, but for others within the online gaming market.
These types of games by their nature are fun to develop. Utilising famous scenes and characters which fans love adds humility during the development process. You can really tell that our game designers enjoy playing games just as much as they do creating them.
Many of your online slots now also come with the Jackpot King progressive jackpot system. What impact does it have on the game math and payouts when the jackpot is added? Does it affect RTP?
JP: Jackpot King itself is not connected to the base game, which is why we continue to add existing titles to the popular progressive system, as seen recently with King Kong Cash and Buffalo Rising.
The original gameplay and RTP of the base game is not affected, but the addition of Jackpot King and its huge prize potential from any spin and stake heightens the excitement for the player. The evolution of Jackpot King, from a single prize to the addition of must win by pots, has helped maintain player interest over the years.
Blueprint Gaming has seen massive success with transitioning popular land-based slots to the online space, such as Eye of Horus and Fishin’ Frenzy Megaways™. Are there any other exciting slots with rich retail history in the works for the fans?
JP: We have a very good relationship with fellow Gauselmann Group member and the creator of those mentioned games, Reel Time Gaming. They have a hugely successful retail games library which has translated seamlessly into the online market after our conversion.
Good games will always be crowd pleasers, whichever market they are adapted for. The activity allowed by these titles in the base game is the real winner, and Reel Time Gaming have hit the balance perfectly. Once the opportunity came about for Blueprint to host online versions of these slots through our group ties, it was a no-brainer.
These games are historically popular across Europe and their latest releases continue in the same vein. Our roadmap for transforming their creations for the online market is strong over the remainder of the year and we’ll also be revisiting some of the existing favourites and merging concepts, like we have done previously with Fishin’ Frenzy and Megaways™.
With regard to land-based slots, the UK Gambling Commission is considering implementing similar bet size limits between £1 and £5 on online slots, plus an additional £100 monthly limit before customers pass additional checks. Would such regulations have a serious impact on the game design or performance? For example, your All Action Slots come to mind with the ban of the Bonus Buy option.
JP: The retail and online landscape is always changing, with new legislation constantly being reviewed and implemented. At Blueprint, we take player safety very seriously and have regular discussions with the relevant authorities around game concepts.
Our game designers are used to adapting their processes to suit these changing boundaries and we will continue to create games which meet the requirements of multiple jurisdictions.
Finally, if I had £100 in a casino account right now but had never played your slots, which of your games would you recommend starting with?
JP: It would have to be The Goonies™. In essence, this game is exactly what Blueprint is best known for – a fun, feature rich gaming experience which entertains players on all levels. The slot offers great graphics and audio, a highly engaging gameplay that takes the player on a journey through multiple reel modifiers and bonus rounds. We create great moments in gaming and The Goonies™ encompasses every part of that.
Read the interview on the m|videoslot sites – Exclusive Q&A with Blueprint Gaming