How Pragmatic Play’s Queen of Gold was made
The other week we released the Queen of Gold slot in the LeoVegas Casino, a game made by Pragmatic Play exclusively for LeoVegas. You really can’t play it anywhere else.
We’ve already reviewed the slot in terms of graphics, theme, base game and features here.
But ever the curious ones about the science behind slots rather than just the end product, we sat down with Catalin Bratosin, Producer at Pragmatic Play to ask a few questions about ‘Queen of Gold’, the slot-making process and the key to making a popular game.
Let’s start with an easy one: what’s Queen of Gold all about?
At Pragmatic Play we always look to push new boundaries, take risks, explore new avenues. With Queen of Gold we have devised a maths model that gives control back to the player by actually influencing their their own luck and having a more interactive experience. While taking the player on a journey of exploration through ancient Egypt, of course.
You start the journey in front of the grand pyramid of the Queen of Gold. By ‘leveling up’ (going up levels through achievements) you get to explore the whole tomb, stacked with riches until you reach the heaven of Egyptian culture.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words so the storyboard should give you an idea of how the game unfolds.
Is coming up with a new theme idea for a slot just a bunch of people in a room brainstorming or is there more method to it?
Each game is has its own creative process. We treat our games as a media production, with the entertainment of the player at the heart of the whole project. Our production team is involved in the process from beginning to end. The process starts with coming up with tons of ideas (so yes, the brainstorming you mentioned) with the next step being deciding which ones to turn into slots and which ones to discard.
Then it’s a case of turning the idea into something tangible- a casino slot you can play. That requires the concentrated effort of the whole studio to do their jobs.
Think of it like the Staff in a restaurant. If the waitress takes the wrong order or the Chef burns the food, the customer simply isn’t going to end up eating the food they wanted. With us, if there’s a flaw somewhere within the Production chain, that slot isn’t going to end up as we imagined it.
We love and understand casino slots. The production team spends a large part of its time studying the art of entertaining through games of chance and talking to players about what sort of games they want to play.
Tell us about the order in which all aspects of the slot are made. For example, what comes first: the ideas for the symbols or the features?
We have devised a winning formula for making games – we start with the theme and features first and then build around that until we have the finished product!
What’s your own personal favourite element to this game?
My favourite feature is the manually controlled progressive game. In other words, the fact you can choose where to put the selection circle on the reels, which is the key to going up levels. For a full explanation of how it works, you can read the full review of Queen of Gold written by the LeoVegas Blog team.
Personally, I change the circle every spin when I play!
Which is the most demanding part of the slot-making process: creating and building it…or testing it?
The most demanding part is by far creating the game. Most of the time spent on a slot is pre-production, when we think about what the game should be and how we’re going to get to the stage where it becomes that.
Because we treat it like a media production, we keep coming back and re-evaluating certain ideas before giving them the green light. This is a demanding process but one of the most rewarding parts about slot -making. By the end of it, the game becomes your “baby” and everybody gets emotionally involved in making each game great!
Assembling and testing is a straightforward process. We have a stable and mature system for making games that allows us to put things together quickly, giving way to fast prototyping and the safe assembling of everything. This means we are also able to test efficiently and optimize the games.
So I guess that’s the easy bit!
What is to you the single most important thing a slot needs to become very popular?
In my opinion, the most important thing is to have ‘re-playabilty’, rather than just being a ‘one-trick pony’ slot. Cool graphics and a base game that’s fun to play and understand is fine to get you interested in trying it. But in terms of getting customers to play the slot in the long term, you have to create an experience they want to savour time and again.
In other words, graphics are very important but you might get bored of them quickly. The game needs substance to be popular!
Does Pragmatic Play have any unique elements to its slots that no-one else has?
At a higher level, one of our main focuses is to bring the land-based experience online. As a Producer it’s my job to make you, the player, feel like you’re playing in glitzy Vegas or Macau casino but with all the creature comforts. Like which device you want to play on or where you want to be when you’re playing it.
Another thing we strive to do is ensure our games are always identical on desktop and mobile.
Our system allows us to optimize the games in such a way as to not compromise at all between desktop and mobile versions – you get the exact same game, with the same animations, graphical quality and sound quality on a mobile device as you would get in browser. This is something that both us and LeoVegas 100% agree on.
Then there’s usability. Anything from ‘fast play’ to providing a ‘Battery Saver’ mode when playing on mobile. We don’t want anything to get in the way of your enjoyment of playing the game.
You started off making slots for the Asian market and have now adapted them to be more ‘European’ for the European market. Give us some examples of that.
Well, yes we did start by making slots for the Asian market and some of them explored Asian themes like Journey to the West. And that slot is actually a good case study because it’s an example of a game that was maybe primarily aimed at the Asian market but turned out to be extremely popular in all markets.
But it’s worth saying that from the very beginning it was less about making X game with Y theme for Z market and more about making slots that had the ‘Pragmatic Play’ stamp on them. The idea being that you play a slot and say ‘Ah, this must have been made by Pragmatic Play.’
Now that we’re looking to explore the European market a bit more there will be subtle elements to our slots that will make them more appealing to European players and you’ll see that by playing slots such as Dragon Kingdom, 3 Genie Wishes and of course, Queen of Gold.
But the goal is to make slots that appeal to all players from all countries. That’s what’s best for our business and best for all the players who enjoy our games.
And finally: what common philosophies do Pragmatic Play and LeoVegas share that should mean this is a successful partnership?
But that’s enough about me, Pragmatic Play and the hard work that went into making ‘Queen of Gold’ exclusively for LeoVegas. The game is for you so try it out today.