Blueprint Gaming’s The Goonies Return generated huge interest within the online slots community prior to its release, with expectant players intrigued to see how the sequel to one of the industry’s most successful games would unfold.
Since going live in late September, the slot has become one of the developer’s most successful launches ever. Players were eager to experience the upgraded gameplay, which includes new bonus features and reel modifiers, as well as improved graphics and sounds.
Speaking with CasinoBeats, Blueprint director of key accounts and marketing UK, Jo Purvis, details the branded title’s initial performance and the approach to creating this latest instalment inspired by the iconic 1985 film.
CasinoBeats: Can you give us an insight into how The Goonies Return has performed so far? Has it met your expectations?
There was significant hype around The Goonies Return before it was even launched. In fact, more operators went live with the title on its launch day than any other previous Blueprint release, illustrating just how considerable the interest was for the return of the iconic gang to the online slots world. It’s since become one of our most successful launches in terms of plays and overall turnover, and holds the record for the most active users in its first week of operations.
The strong results has vindicated our decision to produce a sequel of one of Blueprint’s most successful games ever. The original title has earned legendary status within the industry and is still a prerequisite for the homepage of most online casinos, considering its appeal in attracting players. Developing direct sequels are not common for us, but The Goonies warranted a follow-up version due to its popularity.
CasinoBeats: Producing a direct sequel comes with its own risks, especially considering the success of the original release. How did you approach the development for The Goonies Return?
Before we started the design and development process, it was crucial for us to identify the key elements of the original gameplay that we would maintain, but also consider ways we could enhance it. For instance, the skeleton key that lights up green and activates a modifier is hugely popular and so we didn’t want to change that.
Given The Goonies was first released in 2018, trends have moved on and there was scope for us to build new bonus features and modifiers that were built around concepts that are currently popular in today’s marketplace. The overall graphics have been sharpened too thanks to advances in technology.
However, we felt it was important to keep some of the key characteristics of the first game to ensure this latest instalment was popular with existing players. Quite often within slots development, it only takes some minor adjustments to offer an exciting new gaming experience for players to appreciate.
CasinoBeats: So what are the key new features of The Goonies Return that makes it different to the original?
Avid players of the original slot will instantly recognise a new look to the graphics and soundtrack, but the key differences are found within the bonus rounds and modifiers. Most notably, the big money round titled The One-Eyed Willy Riches uses hold and win mechanics where players are given an initial three spins.
Landing cash symbols or character symbols resets the spins counter to three and brings numerous different benefits, including win multipliers, total respin boosts and additional columns to the game field. Already we have seen players and streamers share significant wins from the round on social media, which is great to witness.
We also created a new mechanism called One-Eyed Willy Exchange that makes the game’s bonus rounds more accessible than before. This lets the player collect a win over a certain amount or choose to exchange it and try and win one of three levels of bonus. This is very much driven by the existing trend of players wanting to trigger bonuses in alternative ways than the traditional formula of hitting three or four scatters, which can often take longer.
CasinoBeats: Having built the first game in partnership with Warner Bros. Consumer Products, as well as collaborate together on other projects, did this make the development process any easier?
Our unrivalled experience in creating content inspired by licensed material certainly eased the process. Having worked with Warner Bros. Consumer products for several years now, the licence holder entrusts us to develop engaging content that provides a true representation of its IP, in this case The Goonies.
Building a branded game is a different process compared to releasing an original concept. Not every developer can pull it off, but it’s an approach we’ve certainly mastered based on recent successes.
CasinoBeats: Given the success of The Goonies Return, can we expect more direct sequels from Blueprint in the future?
It’s certainly something we’re considering for The Goonies Return. We have the potential to develop the game series further by adding jackpot king functionality or our prize lines mechanic in the future. This approach has already proved successful in building new variants of popular Blueprint game themes.
We still have one eye firmly fixed on creating original and innovative content, whether that comes in the shape of a branded game utilising a new IP, or building an idea from scratch. The Goonies Return has been great for us, but as with every game launch, we’re already one step ahead in thinking about what’s next in store.