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  • Q&A: Play’n GO’s Erik Hellström on the standout success of Rich Wilde and the Tome of Insanity
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In this Q&A, NEXT.io sits down with Play’n GO’s game retention leader, Erik Hellström, to discuss the success of the supplier’s hit game title Rich Wilde and the Tome of Insanity.

NEXT: When did you release Rich Wilde and the Tome of Insanity, and what has the response from players been like so far?

EH: We went live on 30 May with all non-US operators, and it’s fair to say that the response has been staggering.

The game has performed very strongly, the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, and we really believe we have a Game of the Year contender on our hands.

Most crucially, for us, we stayed true to Tome of Madness, the original this game is based on, but managed to develop new features and enhancements to attract even more players. It seems to have worked a treat.

NEXT: What unique features, mechanics or themes does the game have?

EH: The game is a grid slot, where the aim is to create winning clusters and fill the Portal of Chaos. This grants different features (Ruin, Harvest, Abomination, and Damnation) along the way to the Portal of Chaos round, which requires 48 winning symbols to unlock.

After that, players need to light up another 48 symbols on the grid. Achieve that, and you release Yog-Sothoth, who’s the grandfather of Tome of Madness’ Chtulhu. Yog-Sothoth will act as a Mega-Wild to grant more wins, with the potential for an up to 4x multiplier.

NEXT: What was the inspiration behind the game?

EH: Similar to Tome of Madness, the inspiration comes from HP Lovecraft’s work with characters such as Yog-Sothoth and Chtulhu. However, we’ve incorporated our own touch to the whole story by adding none other than Rich Wilde himself to tie the game and narrative into one of our best-known characters.

NEXT: Why do you think the reaction has been so positive?

EH: The risk with game sequels is when you drift too far away from the original, the same original that was successful enough to justify a sequel.

In Tome of Insanity, we’ve managed to hit what we think is the perfect note between staying true to the original game, while also building new, exciting features that have engaged players.

We’ve pushed the boundaries on entertainment in this sequel, and we’re very glad that players have reacted so positively.

NEXT: How difficult is it to know which games will go on to become standout hits when you’re designing them?

EH: Honestly, game preference is so subjective, which is what makes the whole process so fun, but also hard to predict.

With that said, the internal feedback on Tome of Insanity was stellar from day one, and we were very hopeful, verging on confident, of its success, not dissimilar to its predecessor, Tome of Madness.

It’s quite affirming when the entire team’s confidence is justified like it has been here – it doesn’t always happen that way.

NEXT: How much work goes into the development of a game like this?

EH: A huge amount of work goes into these types of games. Even attempting a sequel to a game like Tome of Madness is a considerable feat, as we need to be certain that we’re enhancing the original experience, not just making a new game for the sake of it.

You need to expand on the storyline, develop relevant new features that tie into the story, and try to estimate the demand for a new game. It’s not easy!

NEXT: Why is it important for companies to receive recognition via accolades such as industry awards?

EH: Recognition of success is important, not only for team morale, but for the entire industry. We view our industry as one of entertainment.

This is a positive step we feel, but is also a challenge – all of a sudden, we’re up against other forms of entertainment that potential players have access too.

We believe that this makes promoting our successes more important than ever. We need to show off the best of our industry, and prove that we can grab the imagination of players.

NEXT: What other projects are you and the rest of Play’n GO particularly excited about at the moment?

EH: How long have you got?! This is one topic I could talk about for hours. One that does stand out, though, is another sequel due to launch in August – Gemix 100. The excitement levels for this game internally are also very high – let’s hope we’re discussing a similar success story in a couple of months!

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