Sequels can sometimes prove difficult, particularly when the first edition is a great success, but this hasn’t been an issue for casino games provider Leap Gaming. The company is about to follow up its Egyptian-themed Secrets of the Nile slot with the new and improved Secret of the Nile 2, out February 20.
slicker graphics with the same bonus thrills and features of the original slot
The soon-to-be-released game features slicker graphics with the same bonus thrills and features of the original slot, including its walking wilds and collection mechanic. It has already proven a huge hit in the VegasSlotsOnline News office, making it into our most recent Slots of the Week.
In light of that success, VSO News sat down with Leap Gaming product owner for slots Dani Rosen to find out a bit more about his Hollywood background, the player appetite for 3D gaming, and the design process behind Secret of the Nile 2.
Tell us a bit about yourself and your day-to-day role with Leap Gaming.
My background is in animation and graphics. I actually started in Hollywood working on movies and commercials. Then, I slowly found my way into content for virtual sports where Leap Gaming was primarily working at the time. Around five years ago we started diving into slot games as well.
We’ve always focused mostly on quality of the graphics and on the harmony of how the game works, in a combination of the sound, the animation, and the design. We’ve got the simple style games to appeal to those users who just want it quick and easy, then we have the more complex ones that are character-driven and have the story behind them.
I’ve been the head of 3D animation and development in the company for many years. Recently, I became product owner of slots, so I oversee all production from start to finish.
It’s interesting that you came from that Hollywood background. Did you find that it was a totally different world or was there a lot of cross-over?
Well, with virtual sports we tried to make it as realistic as possible so there was quite a lot more cross-over. With slots, it’s a little more different, although I am trying to push some 3D content. We do now have a lot of 3D elements in our slot games, although much of the time it’s not really noticeable because it’s had 2D treatment after we produce it. We try to find a nice balance with how everything plays out together.
Do you feel that modern slots players have an appetite for these new features like 3D?
It’s really hard to tell because the market is inundated with very simplistic slots, so if you look at that you might think that players just want something quick and fast. But then on the other hand you have some of the big players who are producing really intricate and elaborate slots that push the limits of technology, including going deep into 3D gameplay. There’s always an attempt to try it.
I remember a couple of years ago at ICE there was a company that was trying to see how virtual reality was going to play out in slots. That was probably more of a gimmick than actual usability, but gaming companies are trying out new things all the time.
We try to touch on every theme that people love
I think we have many types of users, some players want themes of cats and unicorns, others want diamonds and gems, and some want something really adventurous with backgrounds and quests. We try to touch on every theme that people love. We’re never going to hit what everyone likes but hopefully we will get the best looking slots in every category.
Now, moving onto Secrets of the Nile 2, the sequel to the first edition in the series. Is it difficult to make a sequel to a successful slot?
Creating a sequel is actually easier because you already know what worked. The reason we made this slot was because the first is one of our most popular releases, so something in that game obviously struck gold, whether it’s the theme, the math, or the overall feel. Plus, it has great features, including shifting wilds, and the backstory of this romance between Cleopatra and Caesar. It gives a lot of tension to the game and we have a lot of users who really like the Ancient Egypt theme.
How did the design process work for this latest release?
When we make an existing slot, we don’t tackle the mechanics much more than what we’ve done before. In this case, we pretty much used the same map so we focused on improving the design and animations as much as possible, especially the sound too.
everything blends together really nicely
With this one, we used similar gods but came up with new designs to think how we can present them in a more mystical way. Design is a big foot in the door with players, because they will be really attracted to it and see it as a great upgrade. Once we do that, we put a lot of thought into what animation we would like for the symbols and special effects. Overall, everything blends together really nicely.
You mentioned you have some other games lined up for release, are there any details you can share?
We have one slot that we’ve been piloting. I can’t reveal too much but it will be filled with lots of features that we haven’t used up to now, giving players lots of opportunities to get big wins. It will be really exciting to play.
Then we have a Wild West idea that is different to anything we have done. It’s almost like watching a cartoon. There is a lot of animation in there and funny characters. Even if you just look at it without getting any money out of it, it’s a really nice-looking game.
Then, we’re doing an animal-based game as I mentioned. Plus, two more that it’s a little early to release the details on, but stay tuned!