VegasSlotsOnline News Talks to Blue Guru Games Head of Studio Lloyd Roberts

  • Blue Guru slot Otterly Amazing, out on June 6, conveys a serious message with a fun mechanic
  • Roberts says the theme idea first came from a National Geographic article on barren kelp forests
  • The theme and mechanic became a perfect match as they created the slot, according to the exec
  • Collecting urchins expands the kelp steps, delivering wilds and higher multiplier mystery reveals
Blue Guru Games
VSO News sat down with Blue Guru Games Head of Studio Lloyd Roberts to talk new game Otterly Amazing.

Blue Guru Games is back in VegasSlotsOnline News‘ Slots of the Week with its upcoming release Otterly Amazing. The supplier is known for its passion for great games driven by a fascinating narrative, and its latest environmental-themed release is certainly no exception.

help a group of cute sea otters clean up the oceans

In Otterly Amazing, you help a group of cute sea otters clean up the oceans by collecting urchins and litter. Collecting urchins will lead to more kelp steps and rewards like further wilds and higher multiplier mystery reveals. It’s a game that conveys a serious message while providing plenty of fun to go along with it.

VSO News recently sat down with Lloyd Roberts, Head of Studio for Blue Guru Games. He explained where the idea for the game first sprouted and how the theme and mechanic became a match made in heaven.

What would you say is the most challenging part of creating a game like Otterly Amazing?

When there are so many elements to a game sometimes you have to make sacrifices so that they are balanced. We’ve worked with games for a long time so we know which are too far out there and won’t work with the maths model. But it’s still a challenging part of the process to make that product as complete as you envisioned when you started out.

That said, it’s one of the parts of the job that I love doing the most, especially around the narrative side of things and linking that theme to the mechanic. Similarly, even though it is equally challenging, managing a team of creatives is also something that I love.

You need to take a few steps back and assess whether it’s going in the right direction

Another challenge is not getting too close to the project. You need to take a few steps back and assess whether it’s going in the right direction. You can be too protective and see it as your baby, but you know that you designed this product for a reason and it’s not just for you to play.

Otterly Amazing is such a unique idea. How did it first come about?

Several years ago, we were joking about games where you start with a title and then work out the actual product afterward. With that in mind, we were thinking of novel themes without really having the mechanic behind them. Otterly Amazing was one of them.

Although otters were the first animal I remember being taken to see at our local wildlife park, the idea first came from a National Geographic article I was reading the night before. It explained about the barren kelp forest and how ecosystems are now collapsing because predators have been removed and the urchins are flooding the seabed in the Northern Pacific, destroying all the sea kelp. In 2014, they re-released sea otters into the wild to help remove the urchins from the bed and help the national grasses grow.

the more we discussed it, the more we realized that there is quite a lot of substance to it

We made light of the theme at first but the more we discussed it we realized that there is quite a lot of substance to it. It was the same time we were developing an expanding reels mechanic, which we realized we could link seamlessly to the theme. That, matched with our Blue Guru love for storytelling, seemed a perfect fit.

Can you explain a bit about these features and how they tie into the otter theme?

Sure! We have the collect system, which of course in this case relates to the urchins. The otters can collect the urchins to expand the kelp steps, delivering further wilds and higher multiplier mystery reveals.

Otterly Amazing slot reels by Blue Guru Games
Otterly Amazing by Blue Guru Games.

With the mechanic itself, we were looking for an additional element to add a focus for the player in the free round game especially. Thinking about the otters and how they collect the urchins, we decided to add an additional environmental feature by including the symbol knockout system. On your mystery stacks, it will reveal higher and higher paid symbols the more urchins you collect. Then we decided the low pay symbols would be litter in the sea, hence the otters are collecting urchins and litter.

it was important to do it via the otters and blend it seamlessly with the mechanic

At Blue Guru Games, we passionately believe in the overarching message, but it was also crucial that we weren’t perceived as virtue signaling. We wanted to make sure we were doing it in a subtle way because people play slots for escapism, so we were cautious about adding that serious message. That’s why it was important to do it via the otters and blend it seamlessly with the mechanic.

Sounds like the theme and mechanic were a perfect fit. Did you hit any roadblocks trying to make your initial idea a reality?

As we had such a strong vision for the mechanic to begin with, it was just a natural marriage between the two. It was actually a joy to work on because of that so we didn’t struggle at all with this game.

For example, with the symbol removal element, that was something we debated for a while and there could have been several directions to go in. But because we already had the urchin collection element, it just made sense to add another feature to that with the trash. It’s also a feel-good element to the player because you’re helping the otters achieve their ultimate goal.

Communicating this theme was probably the hardest thing because it’s such a unique idea and we wanted to strike the right tone with it. We went through several different ideas for the art as initially we were going for a much harder and stronger message which we toned down a little bit.

the narrative of where we’re going to take these otters is quite fun

If this is a successful slot, there is a mechanic two and the narrative of where we’re going to take these otters is quite fun. So hopefully we get to progress that story.

Have you had much feedback on the game yet?

The feedback has been good. It’s always hard to sell and get someone’s attention when you only have them for five or ten minutes but everyone recognizes it’s a unique theme that approaches gaming in a different way. It’s also one of the first that is trying to deliver an environmental message within the theme of the game, definitely the first to do so with otters!

It’s also a different look from our previous games, perhaps a little more wholesome than what we’ve managed before. That’s all been really well received.

Finally, what’s next in the pipeline after Otterly Amazing’s release on June 6?

The next game for a global audience is a Chinese-themed title that adopts a bit of a different look to what we’ve been taking with our most recent games. It’s called Terracotta Army and we’re pushing ourselves to make the max wins achievable while keeping the game nice and balanced. We’re trying to use that Asian style but adapting it for the European market, so stay tuned for that.

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