Interview: Product Owner, Toby Woolhouse, speaks to European Gaming about our latest release, Wheel of Wonders
Read on to find out more about where the inspiration of the game came from, as well as what makes this game so unique and excititng!
Wheel of Wonders marks the final slot released by Push Gaming in 2020, what made this title your favourite?
As one of the younger POs on the team, I’m very much drawn to providing a gaming experience that can really offer something different. As a passionate gamer, I’ve always been into Ways and the Cascading style of games, so I really wanted to deliver something that matched the same aesthetics, but also offered a real twist with something fresh and exciting.
The mathematics behind the game also provide something entirely new, especially when it comes to balancing the gameplay. My vision here was to create a game that can deliver a high level of excitement and anticipation with every spin. As a result, Wheel of Wonders is absolutely crammed with exciting features that ensures that every single part of the game can bring in massive wins of over 1000x! But more importantly, anything can happen along the way, which is what makes the game hugely unpredictable and fun.
For me, Wheel of Wonders is a truly entertainment-first product. Every feature is there to engage the player, rather than the usual mode of waiting for free spins to trigger.
Can you tell us a bit about the inspiration behind the game’s features?
Features were a massive part of the thought process behind Wheel of Wonders, and we wanted to develop something that would really stand the test of time. I’ve used a lot of the cascading influences from our games – and rather than your usual 5x3 slot, it instead dynamically expands through each spin, bringing layers ever-changing win possibilities for each spin to really keep things interesting.
To a certain extent it’s a relatively new concept, but it’s something I really think players will buy into given what we’ve seen from games with similar ideas. Elk’s Gold series has plenty of shared characteristics, as well as Cygnus – which makes me confident that players will really enjoy the hugely changeable gameplay as the fundamentals of the game continue to shift throughout.
Last but not least, for the theme, we wanted to do something that centred around the best of the ancient middle east. Mesopotamia, Babylon, Assyria – we were influenced by them all. Our team put in some serious research into the music and sounds to ensure we could really bring together a disparate set of cultures, and I’m absolutely delighted by the result.
Are there any particular features that you wanted to incorporate that would particularly resonate with current player preferences?
I’m very excited about Wheel of Wonders’ variable reel set because it provides the player with a fantastic level of additional engagement. Games with progressive elements such as these are proving particularly popular right now, and I believe the inclusion of gamified features is something that is resonating very strongly with players.
Whether that’s randomised sequences that evolve as the game continues, or the expansive selection of completely new combinations of elements, there was a gameplay flow that we wanted to capture, and expanding reels proved to be a great option for doing that.
We took the slot through plenty of rigorous tests and we actually refocussed the game on this mechanic during the creation process. We saw what would make the game even more exciting and we incorporated it into the development, which really allowed us to elevate the parts that were entertaining. For me, the key learning is that we didn’t start out looking to tap into a fundamental formula, but rather evolving the title as we created it to come out with a game we were really happy with, and ready to share with our players.
Can you give us some insight into some of the standout moments players can expect in Wheel of Wonders?
For me, there’s two things players should look for. The first, and this is the same as any top-quality cascading game; a really fantastic element of unpredictability that will keep you engaged throughout each stage.
The second, and it’s something I’m really excited about, is the Base Game wheels – you can effectively work out the prizes you want to see. Because of how variable the game is, and the raft of different prizes and multipliers that come with it, there’s just so many ways you can move advance through the slot and begin to really understand what will be the most valuable on the reel at any moment. I think this type of entertainment will really keep players hanging on to their seats, and we’ve had some really great feedback since its launch.
When it comes to development, is there a signature style at Push Gaming and one that players can recognise across your catalogue?
On one hand, we put a lot of stock into the elements that go into the gameplay experience, as we want to make sure it emotionally satisfies the moment that comes with the pay-out.
When we’re making a game, the Push team is always looking to be as flexible as possible during the development process to find ways we can make our games deliver that little bit extra. We’re always ready to leverage that during production, and we do everything we can to ensure our games can deliver something that is truly fun to play. Key here is to make sure that our games can still be broadcast years later as a flagship for the brand. Jammin’ Jars, Fat Rabbit and Razor Shark are great examples of this from our catalogue, and I’m proud to be part of a brand that really pulls all the stops out to make sure we deliver a premium level of gameplay.
How do you think player preferences towards slots have changed this year?
There are a few conflicting schools of thought here. For me, two things are really popping off right now. I’m a big believer in ‘in your face potential’ when it comes to the gaming experience, and I think super-clear, big numbers, exciting gameplay and a clear understanding of the mechanics are what’s needed right now. Easy-to-understand gamified elements are really taking off too, such as progressive jackpots and the like, and players are really buying into it.
Games crammed with plenty of different mechanics and a wealth of symbols to choose from can create massive wins – which is the holy grail for many, but with it comes plenty of challenges for design and mathematics. From what I’ve seen over the last few years, there’s a strong risk that players may find too many instructions as a barrier to engagement, but I also think that’s really opened the door for a massive variation of elements that players can connect with.
Players always look for new experiences and shifting preferences are starting to open the door for mechanic-driven titles, as well as feature-rich slots that offer multiple additional levels of gameplay. As a PO, I’m going to be very happy if that is the case, because it opens the door for us to get even more creative with our content.
The original article may be found here.