Jo Purvis, Director of Marketing and Relationships at Blueprint Gaming, talks to Bigwinboard.com about the recently released smash hit branded title Rick And Morty and the machinery behind it all. We also asked the daring question – who makes the best Megaways slots, Blueprint or Big Time Gaming. Let’s see what Jo had to say!
Bigwinboard: Hi Jo, thank you for taking the time to speak to us! What’s the best thing about working at Blueprint Gaming?
Jo Purvis: Thank you for inviting me. Knowing that the games we produce are enjoyed by so many players all around the world and provide real entertainment has to rank high on the list. We’ve got a fantastic team here at Blueprint Gaming who love playing slots as much as they do creating them, so there’s always a positive atmosphere around the place. There’s a real drive within the business to push the boundaries and deliver innovative games and concepts that players will love.
BWB: Sounds like a great team to be a part of for sure! Speaking of slots, not only does your games look fantastic, but they typically also come packed with loads of features and cool animations. Genie Jackpot Megaways is one such example. I love that game. In fact, it’s one of my all-time favourites. When I sense the random feature coming, and the genie pops his head up, there’s nothing else like it for me. You guys seem to invest a lot of effort into making sure there’s a high dose of entertainment involved. It often feels like a hybrid of a slot machine and a video game. How did this tradition come about, do you know?
JP: Our philosophy at Blueprint is to create unique moments within gaming, delivering something new and different with each spin of our games. The founding members of the team have a background in the retail slots sector and have made the transition to online development, with that comes a wealth of experience and ideas of taking slot provision forward. That’s been a key driver in the way in which our games have evolved over the years and, as you say, are now packed with a wide range of features.
Online slot mechanics allow for amazing flexibility, which is why we’ve been able to introduce multiple reel modifiers and bonus rounds within our games. Online slots don’t have to be restricted to fixed paylines, unlike their mechanical retail relations, and suppliers like Blueprint are always experimenting with ways in which every spin can entertain players in different ways.
“Having produced many top-class branded games over the years, we hold very strong relationships with license holders of films and TV shows and they entrust Blueprint to successfully deliver a high quality game for them”
BWB: We’ve been dying to ask this question – how in the world did you manage to land a deal with Cartoon Networks to do the Rick and Morty slot? We never expected to see something like this ever.
JP: Having produced many top-class branded games over the years, we hold very strong relationships with license holders of films and TV shows and they entrust Blueprint to successfully deliver a high quality game for them. We’ve collaborated with Warner Bros. Consumer Products previously and jumped at the opportunity to produce a game that brought the hugely popular TV show Rick and Morty™ to the reels for the first time.
The nature of Rick and Morty™ fits perfectly to the style of game we develop at Blueprint. It’s a fun show with lots of laughs, which is exactly what we aim to offer within our slots. With the brand’s characters and storylines available to us, we simply had to work on a gameplay that maximised its potential. Bringing Megaways™ into the equation made strategic sense and we were able to put our own twist on the mechanic that players love. The game broke all Blueprint records to become our most successful launch, demonstrating we got the formula just right with this sci-fi odyssey.
BWB: That game was incredible. Prior to the release I didn’t know all that much about Rick and Morty, but thanks to you introducing us to these wacky characters I’ve now become a huge fan. I’ve even binge-watched all episodes! I was stoked to learn a follow-up was on the way, please tell me a bit more about it.
JP: Indeed, such was the strong response to Rick and Morty™ Megaways™, we decided to revisit the brand and make it even better than the original. Rick and Morty™ Wubba Lubba Dub Dub is out now and features a multitude of new bonus rounds and reel modifiers. It’s exactly the kind of game on which Blueprint has built its reputation and fans are in for a real treat with our latest instalment.
We’ve introduced three new free spins rounds and a Big Money feature that makes great use of the licence. The only way to describe Rick and Morty™ Wubba Lubba Dub Dub is that “it’s Rickin awesome!”.
“Our design team have done a brilliant job in bringing Mr. Meeseeks and other characters from the show to life in this fun slot. Another example is the way in which Pickle Rick appears on-screen when the Portal Gun is activated and awards one of seven modifiers.”
BWB: One of my favourite characters from the show is Mr. Meeseeks (S1, E5), please tell me he’s making an appearance?
JP: I’m delighted to reveal that Mr. Meeseeks does make an appearance within the new game! In fact, we’ve devoted a Free Spins round in his honour which you and other fans of Mr. Meeseeks are sure to love. The creature acts as sticky wilds within the round and will stay in place until the final spin when there’s an opportunity to win big from multiple wilds on the screen.
Our design team have done a brilliant job in bringing Mr. Meeseeks and other characters from the show to life in this fun slot. Another example is the way in which Pickle Rick appears on-screen when the Portal Gun is activated and awards one of seven modifiers. Not only does it provide a quality gaming experience for seasoned slot players, these features will also resonate with fans of the show.
BWB: That sounds so freaking awesome Jo! I’m curious to hear more about the creative process behind your branded slots. Do you get audio clips and animations sent over, or are you allowed to create your own animations? Is this something you can discuss with us or is it a trade secret?
JP: Licence holders are really strict with the way in which third parties utilise their brand, so all stages of the game design and development process have to be approved externally. The last thing they want is an inferior product which brings a negative perception of their brand, but fortunately that’s not the case when it comes to Blueprint titles.
In terms of the assets available from the brand owner, well that really does depend on the licence itself. Some come packed with usable material such as animations, video clips, audio etc, and some aren’t quite so fulfilling. In those cases we work with the brand owner to generate the assets we require, keeping close relations with the IP licensee so that everything we create in-house is on-brand and approved. Live action licences can be the trickier to work on as on some occasions the image rights of the actors and main characters isn’t included, so the team really has to get creative in those circumstances, developing a game which is true to the product without featuring the most recognisable elements from the IP.
Ultimately, the decision as to which game mechanics are used are up to us, but we’ll always look at ways in how we can bring elements of a film or TV show’s storyline to life in the best way possible. The Blueprint style of adding multiple bonus rounds and modifiers to games lends itself perfectly to branded content, as we have ample ways of bringing various aspects of the licence to the reels.
“We were quick to identify the potential of Megaways™ when it was first released because our team are avid slots fans. They knew straight away it was a game-changer given how the paylines can change significantly with each spin.”
BWB: Blueprint Gaming was the first studio to sign a Megaways deal with Big Time Gaming, and boy did that take off for you. Some have even argued that you beat Big Time Gaming at their own game. What do you think enabled you guys to recognize the potential of the mechanic at such an early point when most of your competitors were still in a slumber?
JP: We were quick to identify the potential of Megaways™ when it was first released because our team are avid slots fans. They knew straight away it was a game-changer given how the paylines can change significantly with each spin. As soon as the opportunity came about to acquire the licence, we had no hesitation in bringing it into our games portfolio.
We always had ambitions to put our own twist on the mechanic, which is why so many players have come to love the Megaways™ games that we produce. We’ve tweaked the paylines and incorporated the mechanic in different ways within our bonus features. The challenge now is to maintain our position as one of the leading developers of Megaways™ themed games, given that so many suppliers have now acquired the licence. However, we’re confident of holding the competitive edge given our track record with the mechanic and producing something different with each new release.
BWB: So would you agree with those who made the statement that Blueprint has been creating better Megaways slots than Big Time Gaming themselves?
JP: That’s really a question for you and all other players! Big Time Gaming deserve recognition for the way in which they disrupted the online slots market with such an innovative mechanic. It’s rightfully earned its place as a key game category within online casinos. From our perspective, we feel we’ve moved the mechanic forward in different ways and introduced it to an even bigger audience. We are always eager to find new ways of evolving the experience for players and will continue to add twists to Megaways™.
BWB: You certainly did add your own twists to Megaways, I agree! Let’s move on to a different subject. We have to be honest, it’s been a couple of months without any major announcements from you guys. It can only mean one thing – you are working on a great new roadmap. Let’s increase the Blueprint stock price. What’s coming our way?
JP: Rick and Morty™ Wubba Lubba Dub Dub is a pretty major announcement and the standout release from our portfolio this month. Early indications suggest it’s another strong performer and has already received rave reviews from casino operators and players alike. We recently unveiled Lion Thunder, the second Blueprint game to feature our new Spin Boost mechanic. The feature is perfect for free spins fans as it allows players to spin the wheel and collect up to 50 extra spins for the Bonus game. The last six months has also seen us realise a multitude of marketing tools which enable operators to increase the appeal and performance of our title. Although this isn’t a headline grabbing story, the work and dedication from ourselves and the operators we work with closely to create and implement these tools will really pay dividends for players in the future, with increased play offers and potential bonuses.
With 2021 around the corner, we’re already developing some exciting new games that will be released in the first quarter of the year. While we can’t reveal too much at this stage, we promise they’ll feature some well-known brands and are confident they’ll be big hits.
BWB: We’re dying to know. How often do you guys roll your eyes when reading our reviews? Be honest with us, we can take it.
JP: We always value the input from reviewers, including Bigwinboard. We keep keen an eye out for your Most Read Reviews charts and annually when the voting for your awards goes live. Remember, we’re just as passionate about slots as you and your readers, so we take into consideration all kinds of feedback, which helps to shape the way in which we produce the next game on the horizon.
BWB: Thank you so much for speaking to us Jo! Lastly, anything you guys want to say to all the people visiting Bigwinboard?
JP: Thanks to everyone for your support across the year. We hope you’ve enjoyed the products we’ve brought to market and will continue to do so throughout 2021. From everyone at Blueprint, have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!