Exclusive Q&A session with Terence Igesund, founder of Stormcraft
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For this week’s special interview we met Terence Igesund, founder of Stormcraft. Terence told us about his experience in the iGaming industry from the beginnings with Microgaming, when he developed the first online slot over 25 years ago, to today. In this interview we talked about how slot machine games have changed over time, the major trends currently affecting the market and, of course, the upcoming Stormcraft releases.
Hello Terence, could you please introduce Stormcraft to our readers? How did you start and what goals have you reached so far?
Thank you so much for the opportunity to talk to you today. I have been designing games for Microgaming since the early days of the internet, over 25 years now. Would you believe me if I told you that I designed and produced the first online slot!? Over the years, my team and I have had the privilege to work with many awesome licensed brands and bring those games to life in the likes of Lara Croft: Tomb Raider™; Jurassic Park and Game of Thrones™ to name a few. We have also originated many successful slot brands for Microgaming, like Thunderstruck, Immortal Romance and Mega Moolah.
All of that was before I founded Stormcraft as an independent studio supplying games exclusively to Microgaming. Stormcraft Studios is a multi-disciplined, multi-national collection of people from around the world, with our HQ located in South Africa. Collectively, we have over 350 years of industry experience within the studio and produce everything in-house, from game art and music to maths engines and game development.
Commercial success and independence have been an important goal that we have managed to achieve through lots of hard work and determination. We are very proud of our incredible Stormcraft team of professionals who rose to the challenge of working remotely during this pandemic, and successfully delivered Thunderstruck® Wild Lightning to the marketplace, which went on to break multiple commercial records.
Stormcraft Studios was born in 2016, so it is already a few years since you have been in the business now. We know that the iGaming industry is very dynamic and always evolving and we are sure you know this world very well. How do you think the industry has changed since you started?
Having been in the room at the birth of the iGaming industry in 1996, I have witnessed, participated, and thankfully survived every change and evolution of this fast-moving industry. I helped produce the first online 3-Reel and 5-Reel slot; the first online progressive (Cash Splash); the first online slot with free spins (Thunderstruck); the first online license branded slot (Lara Croft: Tomb Raider™); the first online slot with persistent progression state (Thunderstruck II); the first online mega jackpot slot (Mega Moolah).
Through the decades, we’ve learned how to embrace change and allow it to accelerate us forward towards new goals and strategic objectives. The current high volatility trend has been perpetuated by social media and the streamer community that’s always looking for more and more big win potential. We have a few games in that race, but believe in the importance of having a well-rounded portfolio of slots with a wide variety of game variances for operators and players to choose from.
Where do you find inspiration for new games?
We find inspiration from so many different places. Obviously visiting casinos, both land-based and online, as well as attending trade shows, provide us with a wealth of ideas that influence our strategic vision. However, one of Stormcraft’s core principles and value propositions is entertainment, so we also derive a great deal of insight and inspiration from the realms of television, film, music, and literature. Licensed brands are really fun to produce, but what we get most excited about is the creation and cultivation of our original brands like Thunderstruck and Immortal Romance.
What are your most successful slot machines? The games that most represent your style and you would like players to play at least once.
The best example of a slot game that epitomises Stormcraft’s core values of innovation, entertainment and craftsmanship, would be Thunderstruck® Wild Lightning. Having designed and produced both Thunderstruck games back in 2003 and 2010, the challenge of creating a follow-up game was very daunting, considering how iconic these two games had become.
The industry has changed so much in the past decade, so we decided it would be best to reboot the Thunderstruck brand completely instead of just creating a third iteration. We started by giving our god of thunder a complete makeover in 3D while working on a back story and narrative that will ultimately span a multi-game release strategy over the next few years. We created high production value teaser trailers for the game which formed part of our social media and marketing campaigns. We decided early on that music was going to play a big part in this game’s experience and so we set ourselves the challenge of writing and composing ten original tracks for this feature rich game.
As part of the promotional strategy for the game, we had vinyl records pressed and distributed to operators and affiliates which were a big hit. All the music for the game is available on Spotify with lyric videos available on YouTube. So, as you can see, we are not your average slot design studio as we go the extra mile to deliver legendary gaming experiences to the online marketplace.
How has the partnership with Microgaming influenced your work?
As previously mentioned, I have been designing games for Microgaming for 25 years, so it goes without saying that we have a good business relationship based on years of experience and many commercially successful collaborations. Microgaming has afforded us an incredible platform on the world stage to showcase our studio brand and gaming products, for which we are very appreciative.
Do you have any exciting news about Stormcraft releases for 2022?
We will be sending our favourite secret agent out on another exciting mission early in the new year, with Agent Jane Blonde Max Volume. After that, we will be launching our highly anticipated licensed brand slot, Jurassic Park: Gold. The game is loaded with exciting features including multiple free spins, the exciting WildStorm feature, as well as a Link&Win™ bonus game.
The team are also currently working on the next game in the Thunderstruck saga which will be launching later in 2022, so keep an eye on our social media platforms for sneak peek reveals. I promise it will be an epic gaming experience with another rocking soundtrack of original songs.
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