There’s no doubt that Quickspin have made some successful video slots over the years, but perhaps none as important as their Big Bad Wolf release – the recipient of EGR’s 2013 Game of the Year Award. The Swedish games designer was still in relevant infancy at this stage, looking to truly make a marker within the iGaming world after a year or two on the scene. That came in the form of Big Bad Wolf, with the high-quality graphics, which were particularly revered at the time, still looking sleek and modern compared with today’s slots.
As this game has just celebrated its 4th birthday on the iGaming market, Mats, Richard and Marc took a time-out from their busy schedules to reminisce with Quickspin Casinos about just how monumental the release was. With the game still going strong across many casinos with Quickspin games, there’s no doubt we’re talking about one of the legends of the industry. Let’s see what they make of it.
Big Bad Wolf – Quickspin’s Magnum Opus?
While all three interviewees held back from describing Big Bad Wolf as Quickspin’s best ever work, there was undoubtedly a lot of pride in the voice of Mats, who being one of the co-founders was involved in production, and admiration from both Richard and Marc who joined afterwards. Mats describes Big Bad Wolf as having the “it” factor, with the combination of a great storyline, fantastic artists and cool functionality all coming together to make the finished article what it was.
“The success of Big Bad Wolf was massively important to us at Quickspin” – Mats Westerlund
Once the storyline was in place, the team got their heads together to think of the slot’s features – such as the infamous Blowing Down the House Free Spins round involving the three little pigs. Richard believes that having such a strong idea for the slot’s plot was critical to its success, as it allowed the artists to be as creative as possible when it came to the graphics. What’s more, Richard is delighted with the artwork being very simple so the game is “not about the effects”, something he believes to be a huge strength for game designers.
Mats says Quickspin’s stature also helped the creators. Describing the company’s size in 2012 when development was taking place, he commented “we also had a lot of focus at that time because we weren’t that big – so we only produced one game at a time”.
What Makes for the Perfect Video Slot?
As he played a key role in a game that has scooped an EGR Game of the Year Award, we asked Mats what he thinks the ingredients are for a truly revolutionary video slot. He laughed to himself for a moment before exclaiming “that’s the million-dollar question!”. However, he makes an interesting analogy with the music industry – artists can have the perfect “formula” for what should be a smash hit but it doesn’t always work out that way.
Of course, slot companies must give themselves a chance of producing such classic titles by doing the necessary research, but he concludes that “sometimes the pieces are just there and people enjoy it”.
How Difficult Was it to Produce a Game of Such Quality?
Due to the success of Big Bad Wolf, we thought it would be interesting to see whether Quickspin found its production to be tougher than usual. Although Marc joined the company in December 2013 after the release (coincidentally around the time Mats was picking up the Game of the Year Award), he can appreciate the difficultly of programming Big Bad Wolf.
As anyone who has played the game will testify, there are numerous animations involved – with the wolf and three little pigs occupying a lot of the developers’ attention. Marc explains that they had to create a workaround of sorts to include all the graphics they wanted/were required, as animations are known to take up a considerable amount of space. Marc attests this to be “one of the main difficulties of this game”, but one he thinks was clearly handled well due to the response from the iGaming industry.
“When we created Big Bad Wolf at the time, the requirements for mobile and desktop were quite tight” – Marc Bjersbo
Mats took a slightly more general tone with regards to Big Bad Wolf’s challenges, touching upon the limited resources at the company. Interestingly, as Quickspin were hiring more and more talent, he said getting employees “who hadn’t worked in the industry before” up to speed was critical. He mentioned that this is still a key aspect going forward for the company, as sharing Quickspin’s passion for slots with new workers was imperative for their continued success.
Overall, though, Mats states that he doesn’t believe the challenge was so great after all, as “everything felt so natural”. Rather, “it was just one of those things [that] felt right from the start”.
The Success of Big Bad Wolf Instilled Major Confidence in Quickspin
To wrap up, both Mats and Richard outlined just how important Big Bad Wolf was for the future of Quickspin. Richard begins by comparing it with previous games, saying that the art team managed to do “quite a lot more with the graphics than Rapunzel, and before that Goldilocks”. He explains how the feedback from the slot was a fantastic morale boost for his department, with the game being living proof that the department could do everything going forward.
“We can do anything we want in-house, basically – we can tell this story, we can design characters, we can do whatever” – Richard Hilding
Mats echoes this by claiming the slot’s success proved to Quickspin that anything was possible moving forward, and there was no need to outsource anymore projects to third-parties. One of the things we noticed during our visit to their Stockholm office was the proud display of prizes they have for visitors to admire. Included within it was Big Bad Wolf’s Game of the Year Award, something that Mats proudly comments on, telling us how it was “a fantastic thing for the company, since we were new in the industry”.
Big Bad Wolf pretty much put Quickspin on the map towards success in the online casino slot design market, and they haven’t looked back since!