Anticipation is high as SG Digital prepares to launch Invaders Megaways, the studio’s flagship release of 2021 and one which it promises will be an action-packed adventure slot like no other. 

Ahead of the official launch on June 15, CasinoBeats spoke to Rob Procter, SG Digital’s content specialist director, to gain a sneak preview of the eagerly anticipated sci-fi themed game, and why it could the benchmark for future slot releases from the company. 

There’s a lot of excitement around the release of Invaders Megaways at SG Digital, what is it about this particular release that’s generating a lot of interest?

There has been plenty of interest internally with this one, with a lot of show-and-tell regarding the game’s development. A new and innovative Megaways game always creates a bit of a spark and this one builds on the legacy of Invaders, an old favourite.

But as soon as we started teasing out the look and feel of the new game through some animations, it was clear to everyone that it looks phenomenal. We haven’t produced a game as aesthetically pleasing as this one for a long time and we have set a benchmark for ourselves with this one.

Everyone who has played the game so far has loved it and that also goes for operators, affiliates, streamers and review sites. We just need the players to share that view.

How did the development of the game come about?

It wasn’t always intended to be Invaders-branded. We incorporated some Invaders From The Planet Moolah iconography, but our original plan was simply to create a space-themed Megaways game. We had the idea of basing it around UFOs and aliens, but didn’t set out to create a brand spin-off – it just so happened that the game we were producing was a really good fit. 

The front-end design and graphics are not what you would expect from a typical SG game, is this a conscious decision to diversify your content portfolio?

Absolutely. There is always room for differing styles within a slots portfolio and this is very much in the realm of high-polish, high-definition content. If you look at Rainbow Riches Race Day compared to Invaders Megaways, you will see two startlingly different front ends.

There is an acceptance of both styles, if the content and the genre is right. But with a game of Invaders Megaways’ type – as opposed to a legacy game that is a spin-off from a land-based brand, with a particular magic to it – that extra level of polish is a necessity now. We have set the bar higher than ever before and this is the level I expect from all our games moving forward. 

With a cartoon-style game of this type, how mindful are you in the design process of not appealing to children?

As always, we have been very mindful of this. When operators look at these issues and make decisions on games they will carry, it comes down to the name of the game and the assets you are putting in front of players before they are logged in.

We have covered ourselves very well in this regard. Invaders Megaways isn’t a title that holds appeal for children and the way we present the game prior to being logged in stays away from the use of characters, and is driven by the use of the logo. 

This latest title is another example of how SG has taken Megaways in a new direction, what are the key highlights of the gameplay?

I have genuinely never seen a Megaways game do what this one does. You essentially get a mini-feature with every spin because as the UFO hovers in the base game, it selects a random symbol and causes a reaction wherever that symbol lands on the reels.

In addition to the responsible gambling tools that are integrated into the game, there are a lot of modifiers packed into the base game and when you get into the free spins and you only get reactions on the top-paying symbols, that’s where it starts to get really interesting. It’s the base game that is the real differentiator in this one.

I have not seen a Megaways game have as much action as in this example and even if it’s not a win, there is something happening on every spin to keep the player interested. It also provides a taster for the free spins, which is where you get the full-fat version of the mechanic.

Is this title proof that Megaways games have not yet run out of steam?

There is no sign of that, nor of suppliers slowing down in their use of Megaways. We certainly still see the benefits of the mechanic, as we have in Perfect Potions, and I believe even more so with Invaders. We also have Jin Ji Bao Xi Megaways to come later in the year, so we are not slowing down as we know that these games are resonating with players.

Tell us more about the Uni-Cow feature and how that impacts the gameplay?

The Uni-Cow feature is of a type that we haven’t utilised too often within our games, but it’s also something I am really keen on including more. These super-features are something other studios do really well and it becomes something of a badge of honour for players when they manage to trigger it. It is present in some of our legacy games – in Bruce Lee, for example, when you hit the double feature – and gives players a sense of pride when they see it happen. 

When it occurs in the base game, everything goes dark and the Uni-Cow appears in a spaceship to unleash a guaranteed  number of Megaways Megaways as well as allowing wilds to land on all reels. There is a very high maximum win attributed to it, with the potential to hit over 1000x. I don’t want to spoil it too much, though – a lot of love has gone into that feature!

What promotional activity do you have planned with operators around this upcoming release?

We have a period of exclusivity with 888 which we are very much looking forward to from June 8 to June 15 and there’s a week of activity there to give it a good push. 888 is a great partner of ours with excellent reach particularly in Europe, where we see Invaders Megaways having plenty of appeal. 

It is a good time to launch the game, as traffic particularly on sportsbook sites will be high around the European Championships. Hopefully results go the way of punters, so we can get some traffic over to the gaming side. If operators are putting on cross-promotions using Invaders Megaways then that would be great to see. There would be mileage in it, as it’s the type of game that would appeal to sportsbook fans.