Nik Robinson, CEO and founder of Big Time Gaming, talks to Bigwinboard about Cyberslot, the second Megaclusters game to hit the market, and reveals some interesting things about what’s in store for 2021.
Bigwinboard: Hi Nik, hope you’re doing well and thank you for taking some time from your busy schedule to talk to us again!
Nik Robinson: I’m good thanks, and glad to be able to catch up on the launch day of Cyberslot Megaclusters. As from 10:00 am today, it will be live on LeoVegas and then across our entire casino network from next week.
BWB: Star Clusters was a particularly interesting release as it introduced the Megaclusters mechanic to us. Just as thrilling as the game itself was imagining all future Megaclusters to come seeing what the mechanic is capable of. The timing is great too since the interest for grid slots is on the rise. What did you set out to achieve this time around? How does Cyberslot differ from Star Clusters?
NR: With Star Clusters, as you know, we were introducing a new mechanic with Megaclusters™ and we wanted to keep the game accessible and easy to grasp, a bit like we did with Dragon Born Megaways™. Making something new feel familiar is a fine art, and if you get it wrong it can back fire. With Star Clusters, the game comes into its own when the feature is triggered, we wanted players to see that potential right off the bat, without having to grind for it. Also, at the time of production, we were under fire for building way too many grind slots, especially after we have made a conscious business decision to completely drop our innovative feature drop (buy a bonus) system.
So with Cyberslot, I guess you could say, the overriding difference is a more involved quest to get the feature. There are also many subtle differences, such as a guaranteed wild in every spin, a continuously split symbol that acts like a forth reel, and the fact that in the base game the symbols split into nine symbols rather than just four in its predecessor.
BWB: A while ago, Relax Gaming became the first provider to publicly announce they’ve scored a Megaclusters license. I’m sure many more will follow. Do you think it will be possible for Megaclusters to have the same impact as the Megaways engine has had?
NR: I think you have to look at player preferences to address this. When we launched Star Clusters it went straight into the UK chart at number 5, currently there is only a handful of grid games in the top 500. The point being that Megaways™ is a next level slot variant and in a market that’s predominantly slot based, Megaways™ has, and continues to be a major tool for in the industries top providers to reintroduce old brands and build incredible new content. There are only a handful of providers that produce grid based games to date, so the overall volume will be different but the providers that are coming to the table will make up for the lower amount of product with a much higher benchmark of innovation, which is really exciting for grid based fans.
“The cornerstone of Big Time Gaming is innovation, and with every game we bring to market we want to bring something brand new that players have never experienced before”
BWB: I talk to a lot of reps on a daily basis and everyone in the industry admires your achievements. You’ve inspired many game studios to experiment with various in-house developed game engines. Granted, the impact you’ve had on the industry goes far beyond ”just” giving us Megaways. Is innovation your main driving force? It almost seems as though you’re constantly in search of the next plot twist so to speak.
NR: The cornerstone of Big Time Gaming is innovation, and with every game we bring to market we want to bring something brand new that players have never experienced before. To quote the Beastie Boys, gaming products should be; “Sweet and sour like a tangerine and fresh like a box of Krispy Kreme…” It’s important that games have breadth and depth to cover many emotional tastebuds. The difference with slot machine development vs the digital entertainment/video game industry, is the underlying fact that there is something else in the mix. A fifth element, a secret sauce! Obviously there’s cash involved, but there has to be emotional input from providers to give games personality – a personality that the player already understands before they hit spin. This takes time but has great rewards for both the players and the providers that take the time to build longevity into their products.
BWB: Talking of longevity, I hear that Bonanza is four years old today!
NR: Yes indeed, we are currently promoting a €5000 poetry competition on Twitter, so if you have a anything nice – or nasty for that matter – to say about Bonanza, and you are feeling poetic, all you have to do is post a few words up on our pinned tweet. Three poems will go to a vote and the winner takes all!
“Certainly under my watch, I would never let this happen as players should be assured that the game is the same where ever they play it”
BWB: From a players perspective, your slots offer quite friendly stats and I’m mainly thinking about RTP. Every time you open a BTG slot, no matter where you play, you know you’re going to get the same RTP, right? Cyberslot comes with a 96.36% RTP which is great.
NR: Yes, I think a lot of providers have been asked by casinos to provide varied RTP’s on games, but at the end of the day the RTP IS the game, and a big part of the game play as well as it encompasses the actual time a player can get for their bank roll. Certainly under my watch, I would never let this happen as players should be assured that the game is the same where ever they play it. If it is not, then the provider should have 50% of the loader height / game intro page, explaining that the RTP may be different and a whopping great XX.XX% that can be seen on someones mobile screen from space! It’s a pretty shitty way to treat the players that dictate your business revenues.
BWB: You are known for not implementing any caps on your slots. As we’ve seen with Lil’ Devil, for example, it’s gone absolutely mental and far exceeded what we thought it was capable of. What can Cyberslot do if it decides to go crazy? How big numbers are we talking about in the best of scenarios?
NR: The numbers are huge and as both multipliers grow, the combinations can get insane. For example, you can get many more re-triggers in Cyberslot. Playing just last week I got up to a x36 plus re-triggers with the rainbow wild itching towards x22, which on collision becomes 792. The crazy thing with just four more upgrades from there, the multiplier leaps almost x200! This is about the time when you need a whole bunch of purples to magic their way into position and then boom, 25*1040 isn’t bad but it can go bonkers!
BWB: The free spins frequency is definitely lower this time around compared to Star Clusters, and the volatility has in turn received a boost. Can you tell us approximately what the free spins frequency is? Bonanza territory?
NR: It’s not quite Bonanza but it’s a fair grind. But in the same way as Bonanza is very forgiving in the base game, so too is Cyberslot. It’s no mistake that we’re launching it on Bonanza’s 4th anniversary 🙂
BWB: Do you have a premier stream planned this time too? If so, who gets the honour?
NR: Once again, we’ve gone with the sheer genius of Will Barnes from Hideous Slots – check the vid! He brings a professionalism with a healthy dose of surreal British comedy, akin to Monty Python / Vic & Bob. Will effortlessly combines funny ha ha, with funny peculiar, which is always great fun to watch. Check out the lycra in the promo!
BWB: I’m sure you’re working on a bunch of exciting stuff. Can you share any secrets with us? We know you have a Wheel of Fortune slot coming up for example.
NR: We have a bunch of beefy products coming out next year, Wheel of Fortune Megaways™ will be out in full force in Q1, as 2021 will be the 30th anniversary of Wheel of Fortune as a slot machine franchise! A new reactive game with an interesting new dual reel mechanic, which is not just a bunch of hot air! We’ll also be spicing up the lives of hungry slot players not to mention another sensational 4,096 music slot which takes a few tried and tested scenarios into a brand new orbit. The question for you is – am I being a little too cryptic?
Editor’s note: casually chatting with Nik, he reveals Big Time Gaming has “quite a few Megaways games on the way” next year as well as a “very big surprise” for Megaways fans.
BWB: That concludes our Q&A for this time Nik. Before we leave, here are 5 This or That questions!
- Dog or Cat? – Dog.
- Cardio or Weights? – Both, more…
- Elon Musk or Jeff Bezos? – Elon.
- Form or Function? – Function.
- Bonanza or Danger! High Voltage? – The D.