Richard Vermaak Slingshot interview

Best Casinos Interview with Richard Vermaak, Head of Slingshot Studios: “We Treat Every New Game and Brand as a Unique Creative Journey”

Staff Writer Editorials, Game of Thrones™ Power Stacks™, Microgaming 56

In 2018, Microgaming proudly announced a new innovative gaming factory – Slingshot Studios. The prolific partnership set in motion a full line-up of cutting-edge video slots. To date, the duo has launched 8 games together, one of which is a branded slot.

In the following interview, Best Casinos talk to Slingshot’s very own Richard Vermaak, who is the mastermind behind all the artwork. Learn more about upcoming releases, how Slingshot slots are made, and more.

  • Hello, and welcome to BestCasinos.com. We are delighted to have you here with us, so thank you for taking the time. Let’s start with introducing Slingshot Studios to our readers. Who are Slingshot Studios?

Hi, thank you so much for inviting us. Slingshot is a slot game design studio based in South Africa, developing slots exclusively for the Microgaming platform. The studio is about five years old now, but we have a solid mix of people from industry veterans to new blood, some of whom have 20 years’ experience in the industry.

  • What is your favourite part of working at Slingshot Studios?

Without a doubt it’s the people I get to work with. We’re a diverse bunch with many passions, interests, and strong opinions. Our team is full of people with incredible drive, ownership, and work ethic. Their dedication to making great quality technology and experiences inspires me every day. We are a team with honesty, collaboration and good humour at our core.

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  • Your collaboration with Microgaming has brought you to the centre of the industry. How would you describe your company’s path since you signed with Microgaming?

Microgaming are a fantastic partner; their network is ever-growing and at the forefront of this industry. They offer fantastic support and great reach to a huge operator and player base. Being entrusted with handling the continuation of Microgaming’s partnership with HBO on a great brand like Game of Thrones™ has been a big step for Slingshot.

  • Let’s talk about your games. So far, you’ve enriched the Microgaming platform with six of your releases. Which one would you say was your favourite slot to work on?

I know this is probably cliché to say (but it is true that for me) – the latest and next games are always the most exciting. Game design is a passion for me, and I love the process of creating something from nothing. The merging of the creative and technological worlds is where the magic lies. If I had to pick a few highlights from recent years, working on the story and character development for A Dark Matter was a lot of fun and I am incredibly proud of what we achieved with that game’s original score. Getting to work on our most recent release, Game of Thrones™ Power Stacks™ has been great experience too.

  • We are big fans of the mysteries encircling A Dark Matter slot, and we also appreciate how its thrilling theme works well with exciting new features. How do you come up with such creative game concepts?

We treat every new game and brand as a unique creative journey. Each game can have a different depth to its concept, story, and design. Some games need little more than a simple premise to be entertaining and others can be developed into worlds for us and the players to explore. The latter is how we approached A Dark Matter. The beginnings of that game, in which we wanted to explore more mature subject matter, started with three core pillars: Supernatural, Victorian and Thriller. From there we worked on setting, characters and core story. We split the story up between the game, marketing materials and the supporting website. We build these brands and stories through a lot of collaboration and brainstorming, which is general a very entertaining process.

  • We have to say, we are delighted by your work on Game of Thrones™ Power Stacks™ slot. It’s simply remarkable, and we are certain the process of production was stimulating. Can you tell us more about the development process of this game? How long did it take for you to create the slot?

Thank you very much; I am very proud of what the team has achieved with this game. Game of Thrones™ Power Stacks™ is the first game Slingshot has released on entirely new technology that we’ve worked on. Due to the game being developed alongside that framework, I wouldn’t really be able to tell you a specific timeframe just for the game itself. Our development team has produced some truly amazing work on this tech and to be able to launch a brand of this scale along with it was a very proud moment for us.

  • The show Game of Thrones is a global phenomenon. How challenging was it to create a game based on such a popular brand?

The challenge is knowing when to stop! The world of Game of Thrones™ and Westeros is such a brilliantly realised vision and so rich with content and exquisite production design that it makes for a brilliant playground from a game design perspective. We worked closely with HBO and Warner Bros to build our game with the utmost respect paid to their brand.

  • Can you share some details about acquiring the rights to make this game?

Microgaming partnered with HBO many years ago for the original Game of Thrones™ online slot game. This new game is an extension of that same license agreement.

  • What is your favourite thing about Game of Thrones™ Power Stacks™ slot?

I really love what we were able to do with the Big Win experience – having Drogon launch out of the reels at you and envelop the win value in dragon flame is just great; I never get tired of seeing it.

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  • Before the end of 2021, we are sure you are planning on releasing new content, so can you tell us a few hints about your upcoming releases?

We have two more games planned for 2021 with iterations of Microgaming’s Link & Win™ feature. They are Leprechaun Links and Links of Ra. Our next big release thereafter will be in Q1 2022, while we can’t reveal more at this stage, we’re excited about what’s to come!.

  • Thank you for your time! Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?

It’s been an absolute pleasure; thank you for the opportunity. We love making these games and I hope your readers enjoy playing them. Despite its challenges the world over, 2021 has been and will be a productive year for us and we can’t wait to get our games into everyone’s hands. Take care everyone.

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