Fantasma Games CEO and co-founder Fredrik Johansson talks to CasinoBeats about how the developer is translating lessons from the video gaming sector into exciting new casino content
Fantasma Games launched just two years ago. How has the company carved out a share of the market in that time?
FG: “We entered the fray two years ago with a mission to create slots that offer players an experience that goes way beyond gambling. To do this, we bring together the worlds of online casino and gaming to create slots that use innovative gamification to deliver unrivalled levels of engagement.
“Of course, we are not the only game developer to build gamification into slots, but we are the only one that is using video games as a blueprint. The result with Flower Fortunes? A game where players climb through levels to unlock incredible features and bonuses.”
So what can the online slots sector learn from the video gaming world?
“A lot. Video games deliver a hugely entertaining and immersive experience to players. This includes missions and tasks which players progress through. In doing so, they earn points and clear levels, unlocking features and rewards along the way.
“Traditional slots, in comparison, simply don’t offer this. Players bet and spin and that’s pretty much it. In the past, this has been enough to keep players engaged with a game, but with so many other entertainment options available, slots must become more interactive. I also think narratives and storylines will start to feature more in slot games.
“Players want to be taken on a journey when playing a game, and stories and characters – combined with missions, levels and rewards – are the most effective ways of doing this.”
How do you bring these two sectors together in the slots you design and develop?
“We are combining the thrill of playing slot games with the engagement methods used in popular video games. Flower Fortunes, our latest release, has four levels that players climb through in order to reach the bonus game – a deal or no deal format where they have to pick one of three flowers.
“That said, we still recognise that a big part of why people play online slots is for the big win potential and Flower Fortunes certainly delivers this via our innovative reel matrix that expands from 6×5 to 6×9 as the player’s Flower Spirits meter rises and falls.
“We have combined this with Big Time Gaming’s Megaways so the game offers 531,441 win lines and the possibility for the player to win 18,480-times their initial bet. This, combined with the gamification features we have built into the game, brings together the best of online slots and video games.”
Why is it so important to create a one-handed mobile experience?
“From day one we have focussed on developing our games for mobile play, but specifically for portrait play. This is different to most game developers who focus instead on creating slots that play in landscape mode.
“Portrait play allows players to access slots wherever they are, whatever they are doing“
“We have taken a different approach because we believe that one-handed play is key to unlocking even greater growth on mobile and that actually the portrait screen real-estate opens up a lot of opportunities for creating never seen before features and functionality.
“For example, in Flower Fortunes we have used the screen space to develop our expanding reel matrix which goes from 6×5 to 6×9 as players progress through the game. In landscape mode, this simply wouldn’t be possible.
“Portrait play allows players to access slots wherever they are, whatever they are doing, which in turn increases the opportunity for play. This is a great for players seeking an entertainment fix but also for operators as the time players can spend on a game increases.”
Why did you take the decision to license Big Time Gaming’s Megaways mechanic?
“Flower Fortunes was not initially developed as a Megaways title but as we worked through the process, we realised it was actually a perfect fit for Big Time Gaming’s evolutionary mechanic. By combining Megaways with our own unique reel matrix, Flower Fortunes is a truly special slot.”
What can we expect from Fantasma throughout the rest of the year?
“We aim to launch around six to eight games a year, and have some amazing titles making their way down our production line at the moment. We also want to work on our brand and make operators and players more aware of Fantasma Games.
“To do this, we have plans to work more closely with online casino affiliates and streamers and have some incredible ideas for raising awareness around our slots while giving players even more value.
“It’s going to be a busy second half of the year, so watch this space.”