Bigwinboard sits down to have a chat with Product Owner of Nolimit City, Per Lindheimer, about the past, present, and future. Or, that was the plan at least. Unavoidably, much of the attention shifts towards their 2020 super hit Deadwood, a slot that has taken the casino community completely by storm.
But there’s a whole lot more where that came from. Nolimit City is undoubtedly one of the hottest game developers in the industry right now and have been dropping one bad-ass slot after another this year. Let’s see what Per has to say!
We’ll be honest Per, before you guys released Tombstone we had barely heard of Nolimit City. There was this one time you guys reached out to us, asking to be featured on Bigwinboard, and we were pretty nonchalant about it. We’ve learned a lesson from that. Never underestimate any game studio. Look at you now, you guys are totally smashing it with titles like Barbarian Fury, Golden Genie, Punk Rocker and, of course, Deadwood. 2020 has definitely been your year. What happened?
Per Lindheimer: “We’ve heard this from others, it’s hard to break into all the other great suppliers. You need a hit to be noticed, and all of a sudden you get the attention – that goes for players, operators and affiliates.
We’ve learned a lot and made some changes along the way. We’re also a creative and dynamic bunch that strive to come up with new and fun ideas – but you also need to take the time to reflect and see where you’ve gone wrong. When you create something that you want to be innovative and fresh, you may miss the mark at times. Luckily, we’ve hit a homerun with the xWays and xNudge mechanics, which are a big success and super fun to play.
We work from a point of view which could be summed up as “visual value” – you need to see the value of the features, even when not winning, and feel that the game is exciting. It needs to be fun after 25 spins, and also after 750 spins.
The volatile trend within the casino community of course helped us, as both xNudge and xWays creates very volatile games. There’s always that “but what if I just gotten one more multiplier” or “if that xWays symbols was that bottle symbol” in our games, which keeps you on edge.
I’m sure you’ll be able to find a few gems in our older portfolio as well. They’re not as highly volatile as our biggest releases in recent times, so it might not be for the wider Bigwinboard audience unless they want to change things up with some smoother rides inbetween.”
Nolimit City is home to some seriously talented artists. We’ve seen you release a whole line of exceptional games, Deadwood in particular, which is a strong contender for slot of the year. When we first fired it up, it was a truly jawdropping experiences. The music during the win count-up still gives us goosebumps. Did you know you were on to something big whilst working on it, or did the overwhelmingly positive feedback take you by surprise?
“We had Tombstone to start out from, so we knew we had something big coming up“
“I guess we’re very humbled by the positive feedback on this game, but we had Tombstone to start out from, so we knew we had something big coming up. The graphics are stunning – we’ve gone with a “nicer look” than the gritty style from Tombstone. People knew what to expect from Deadwood after playing Tombstone, which helps to gain the trust from players. In order to get the players attention, you need their trust – and I believe that we’re at that level as a supplier now, which feels great.
Our sound dude is getting so much praise, even long before we had our breakthrough as well. Sound and music are very important elements. Animation without proper effects isn’t really doing anything at all. Hopefully we can release some of his stuff on Spotify or Soundcloud one of these days.”
One controversial part, or “ballsy”, to quote one of your competitors, was the decision to include a 750x bonus buy option. First time we saw it we had to check and double check our documents just to make sure it wasn’t some bug haha. It definitely offers some super intense moments for those who like to go big or go home. Were you ever nervous about including it, and what kind of reactions have you received?
“It is ballsy, and can hit a bankroll quite a bit on a bad run. Luckily, the ShootOut feature isn’t as volatile as Bounty Spins in Tombstone, so there’s always that option. We always discuss stuff internally and this was a hot topic. As exciting as the Tombstone bonus features is, it can take players quite some time before they even get a chance to see it, so bonus buy is a shortcut – at a high cost!”
What do you think has changed at Nolimit City as a company that has made it possible for you to create games on the scale of Deadwood?
“We’re working smarter and with a more methodical approach compared to before. We don’t leave many stones unturned. We’re fortunate to have such a passionate group of people in the office that truly care about all games, not just the ones they themselves are responsible for.
One of the biggest changes is probably that we’ve matured and found our own style along with some popular mechanics that we’ve refined. It’s something that makes us unique. “Is this really us?” – is something we often throw around in the office, which is more aimed across our own identity. It’s something that we can be proud of and hopefully also something that the players can identify as Nolimit City.
I guess Miles Davis’ quote fits pretty well for the journey we’ve made – “Sometimes you have to play a long time to be able to play like yourself.”
It must be quite challenging to come up with unique ideas for slots these days? There’s only so much you can do with the format, or?
“…I wouldn’t be too surprised if we’d present a new mechanic in the “x-series” some time soon“
“Yeah, but I don’t think it’s that much different compared to 10 years ago. Some things really shakes the industry up, but we’ve been fortunate to work during a period when it all shifted from desktop to mobile, and that gives you a few new things to tinker with.
New and unique ideas isn’t that hard, but creating new ideas that are fun, now that’s something completely different. It can be hard at times to really see the potential in the game at a concept stage. You have to kill a lot of darlings along the way. Some ideas, however, just pop up and are great from the start.
For now, we’ve got xNudge and xWays, which can combine to great effect – maybe even a bit too explosive at times, but I guess its something that can thrill the Bigwinboard community quite a bit. I wouldn’t be too surprised if we’d present a new mechanic in the “x-series” some time soon – maybe even in the fall.”
Company initiatives sometimes only last as long as the people spearheading them are at the company. Even with great leadership currently at Nolimit City, what would you hope the company kept consistent so studios like you can keep operating the way you want to operate?
“We’re a strong team that know each other very well as a lot of us have been working together earlier in our career’s as well. We’re all part of the Nolimit City family, and that’s what drives us. It’s a lot easier to feel passionate when you like each other whilst also getting some success out of it. History has taught me that no one is irreplaceable, but it would sting if someone found another adventure to jump on – it still feels like we’ve just started ours!”
Is there anything in the future of game-making possibilities that you all are excited for?
“Technological progress always gets me excited – moving into HTML5, and also more powerful mobile devices, has created a tremendous shift. It wasn’t so long ago that we played flash games!
The bigger shift right now is elements surrounding the games – not just things that affects the game itself. Replay tools, like our Nolimit Winners, or other more direct gamification additions, are all on the rise still. I can imagine a lot of these tools becoming bridges between suppliers, casinos, players and also the affiliates – something that haven’t really been available before. All these things are super exciting to see, both from a competitor point of view and as a player myself.
In terms of mechanics and development, I’d love to experiment and play around with mechanics with no set reels and a more free flowing game area – something that can offer more freedom in terms of presentation. However, that can be quite a tricky feat to handle from a math point of view.”
We’re absolutely convinced that you guys will come up with more super hits! Thanks for taking the time to speak to us!
My pleasure, thank you!