Exclusive: Stormcraft Q&A

Terence Igesund from Stormcraft Studios takes us behind the scenes to find out more about the studio behind one of the most popular slot franchises of all time



Where did the concept for Thunderstruck first come from?

We finalised the game mechanic and features for Thunderstruck long before the game had a name or a theme.

The team were really excited about the volatility and multiplier win potential of the engine and wanted the theme to be all about strength and power.

Having spent lots of time in land-based casinos I had seen that some of the most popular slots had mythical themes which appealed to me.

Ever since I was little, I had always loved reading myths about powerful heroes fighting scary monsters.

My Scandinavian heritage drew me to the Norse mythologies and growing up The Mighty Thor was always the comic book of choice to spend my allowance on.

So, deciding on an epic and powerful theme for the game, was really a no brainer for me.

Why do you think it has been such a successful franchise?

I would have to say the success of the franchise would relate to being first to market with a novel product in an emerging online industry.

By launching the original game back in 2004, we introduced the online community to an engine and mechanic that had never been seen before.

Players went nuts for the win potential of multiplying wild multipliers during Free Spins.

We launched the sequel slot six years later, after multiple iterations and numerous revisions.

This new 243-Ways game was packed with novel features and once again introduced the online industry to never seen before mechanics like the unlockable Great Hall of Spins, where a player’s progress could be saved, which had never been done before.

The random Wildstorm feature where up to five reels could turn wild was also novel and gave players a massive win potential goal to chase.  These features combined with the visual aesthetics and character designs helped turn Thunderstruck II into a cult classic.

Did you always plan to launch more than one version of the game?

Truth be told, back in those days, we did not spend much time thinking about long term strategies.

There was so much going on and so much to do and so much demand for more and more games. I remember, we launched a combination of 57 different table games, slots and video pokers in one year. Crazy times!

Thunderstruck had proven to be a standout success, which resulted in us re-utilising the engine several times in other games, but none of the games were ever able to rival the performance of the original.

This indicated that the brand of Thunderstruck had become significant to the marketplace… which told me it was time for a sequel!

How have you developed the game over the last two iterations?  

Everyone knows that sequels are rarely as good as the original and generally end up being a disappointment.

That however was not the case with Thunderstruck II which went on to become an even bigger success than the original.

We went from a simple 9 Line game with 1 Free Spin Feature to a complex 243 Ways game with 4 unique Free Spin features, as well as a random base game feature that could pay up to 8000x.

The first game focused only on the character of Thor, whereas the sequel added the characters of Valkyrie, Loki and Odin to the symbol hierarchy, with each of the characters sporting their own individual Free Spin feature.

These features needed to be unlocked sequentially through triggering Free Spins multiple times, giving players a reason to keep returning to the game.

The final feature in the Great Hall of Spins belongs to Thor where the Rolling Reels™ mechanic was introduced to the online industry for the first time.

The novelty and win potential of this feature was a further incentive for players to invest the time required to unlock it.

I think it is worth mentioning again that up until this point online slot games had always been single instance with no memory built in.

With Thunderstruck II we developed the technology that would save the player’s progress, allowing them to leave the game and return to the same point they had previously left off.

This innovation was huge back then and changed the landscape of online slots forever, allowing for more feature complexity and achievement-based gamification to be introduced.

It also meant that time on device became an investment that could be visibly appreciated and celebrated, giving players more incentive and reason to keep returning to the game.

What can we expect from Thunderstruck Wild Lightning – how does it differ to the other games?

Building on the success of a cult classic like Thunderstruck II has been an incredibly intimidating exercise that took us 10 years to build up the courage to start.

The Stormcraft team were determined however to lift this iconic brand to the next level and create a memorable and legendary gaming experience.

Thunderstruck Wild Lightning is a high volatility 40 Line, 5x4 slot loaded with collection challenges, feature chases, amazing multipliers, and bonus jackpots.

Thor is Wild and when substituting can award a 2x or a 5x multiplier to help boost win potential.

His Hammer is the Scatter which awards entry to the feature selection screen where 5 Free Spin destinations, with variable volatility, are waiting to be unlocked.

Electric blue Thunderball symbols scattered across the base game reels provide clues to the location of the main event, where an impressive jackpot prize of over 15000x is waiting to be won in the Link&Win bonus feature.

The visual fidelity of the game has been dramatically improved with much of the game including the main character of Thor, fully realised in highly realistic 3D.

With the proven success of immersive game experiences like Immortal Romance under our belt, we have similarly created a captivating storyline, supported by several original music compositions.

A selectable playlist of 5 tracks is available in the base game for players to customise their gaming experience.

Thunderstruck Wild Lighting is less of a sequel and more of a reboot of the franchise, which has resulted in the creation of a visually spectacular gaming experience filled with all the innovation, entertainment and craftsmanship that has come to be expected from a Stormcraft game.

What else do you have planned for the coming months?

So, after Thunderstruck launches in a few months, we will be sending Agent Jane Blonde out again on another exciting mission.

After that, we are excited about the launch of a high-profile license brand slot that we have previously collaborated on with NBC Universal multiple times.

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