Q&A with Rob Procter at SG Digital
This week we've had the fortune to deep dive into SG Digital's Cluedo Cash Mystery. SG's content specialist director, Rob Procter shares insights on the development process, what crucial features they envisioned early on and how they managed to balance the math to the overall experience.
Interview with Rob Procter, content specialist director at SG Digital
With 2021 barely a few weeks old, you’ve kick-started the year with a major game launch with the release of Cluedo Cash Mystery. What was the thinking behind creating a game that’s based on the globally recognised board game?
Cluedo is a brand that fits slots particularly well. As we have also seen with Monopoly, board games that have so many elements to them are perfect for slot design. With Cluedo Cash Mystery, we knew we wanted to create a slot with multiple bonus rounds as this was something we were light on within our current catalogue. After seeing our competitors doing well having gone down that route, there was a gap for us.
The mechanics of the game arrived first and as we were thinking about themes to go on top of that, the idea of a Cluedo game was mentioned and from then on it was the perfect fit.
When it came to matching up the different mechanics of the bonus round to the theme, we believe that we have distilled the essence of what makes the board game unique. On Reel 1 you have the implement providing the multiplier, on Reel 3 the room gives the number of Free Spins and on Reel 5, the character arrives with the mechanism that will be used within the free round. Within the game development process, we always kept responsible gaming at the forefront.
Overall, I believe Cluedo has been under-utilised in online casino, so it proved a good match-up.
There are certainly a number of features within the gameplay. How challenging was the development process and how complex are the mechanics involved?
The challenge we faced with Cluedo Cash Mystery centred around balancing the math of the different Free Spins combinations. It is vital that the player feels they have the potential within the bonus round to win. It was trickier than many of the games we have produced recently, simply down to the number of combinations. We were cautious not to give a player a bad experience, while also cognisant of the fact that while the result of some bonus combinations are not necessarily going to blow the player away, they can see that they have come close. Instead, the player may realise that a certain character wasn’t the best mechanic and a different one may have resulted in a better outcome. The balance of the game is tricky, but I think we have arrived at a really good place with it. It was also really important to make the gameplay as responsible as possible, which is why we’ve included all the tools expected to make Cluedo Cash Mystery a safe and enjoyable experience.
Cluedo Cash Mystery also marks the latest Hasbro branded game to be delivered by SG. How has your working relationship with the company evolved over the years?
Our relationship with Hasbro continues to improve and gets better with each game we produce. We used to go through two or three rounds with them in terms of making sure they were happy with everything and making tweaks here and there on some design aspects. With Cluedo Cash Mystery, it went through very quickly and we had some great feedback in terms of the way that we worked and what we did with the game.
They were very impressed with the love that we gave to the brand and that is echoed in other titles like Monopoly Utility Trails, one of our biggest game releases coming up in the early part of this year. We altered some of the icons and game counters that have a huge weight of history behind them, but Hasbro came back and just said what a fantastic job we had done. We look forward to further collaborations with Hasbro later this year.
Scientific Games brought 2020 to an end with the release of Book of Ultimate Infinity. What’s been the reception to the game so far?
The team put in plenty of hard work in order to deliver what we certainly believe is a high-quality game. The reaction that we had back was in keeping with our own thoughts, with operators and players providing us with some very positive feedback.
The Infinity Reels mechanic from ReelPlay undoubtedly adds an extra element of excitement through the addition of more reels during gameplay. With this mechanic in play it means players have that feeling that any symbol has great win potential, while also incorporating responsible gaming tools. Add to the mix the combination of the ‘Book of’ genre which is so popular with players and the outcome is a slot that has a very broad appeal.
The game also marked the first SG title to feature the innovative Infinity Reels mechanic. Just how impressed are you with ReelPlay’s feature and will it be used again within future game launches?
We have had some really good feedback on our implementation of ReelPlay’s system, both from operators and from within the streaming community, which is becoming increasingly important in terms of gauging the reaction to a newly utilised mechanic. We worked closely with ReelPlay initially when developing El Dorado and it wasn’t difficult to immediately understand the potential that the system has to make a major splash in the industry. We are looking forward to more Infinity Reels releases, starting with Odin Infinity Reels Megaways next month.
Following the launch of Cluedo Cash Mystery, we’re excited to know what’s next to come from SG. Can you provide an insight into your games roadmap over the next few months?
The opening quarter of 2021 is jam-packed and we are all-set to start the year very strongly. Cluedo Cash Mystery has gone live, as has Blazing Hot 7’s Stack Em Up, a super-volatile game that premiered recently. There’s also 5 Treasures arriving this month, so that’s three top-line games to kick us off.
After that, there are a couple of stand-out releases. Rainbow Riches Race Day, which from a UK market perspective has full buy-in from all of the major operators, will have some great campaigns around it linked to the Cheltenham Festival. We want to get sportsbook punters excited about this slot. It’s a great demographic to hit and the game is geared up for success.
The other big one is Monopoly Utility Trails. It’s a reactor game, built around the Monopoly brand with a steampunk feel to it. The feedback from Hasbro was fantastic and it’s a game packed with features and which is very strong mathematically. All of our operators are excited for this one.
Looking ahead, what gaming trends do you expect to see in 2021? Any particular areas of the gameplay that you expect to evolve at all?
More and more, you see bigger suppliers asking how content can be produced that harnesses the power of social channels and influencers and it’s something we are keeping a close eye on, in terms of coming up with ideas for collaborations.
With gameplay, the next big jackpot mechanic to reach the market is always a focus. There are still gaps in the market and we are pushing hard in this area with Mega Drop Jackpots and Jackpot Wars. Our goal is to really push these products further, to really challenge and surpass our competitors in that space.
Cluster Pays mechanic is a good example of a mechanic that can be taken further this year. We didn’t have any of these titles 12 months ago, but have since produced two. Now, we have more on the roadmap for 2021, with a Monopoly Utility Trails being the first – a big-brand on a Cluster Pays engine.