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Interview: Lucksome’s Founder Bryan Upton
Rather young yet promising Malta-based studio, Lucksome has got some big names under its belt. Led by Bryan Upton, a seasoned iGaming professional with experience in pretty much every stage of game development, the studio is focused on creating high-quality casino games tailored to the needs of real players. We had a chance to talk to Bryan about the qualities that help Lucksome stand out from the crowd, their approach to slots development, and the upcoming titles.
iGamingNJ: Hi. Please can you tell us about yourself, your background, and how Lucksome came to be.
Bryan Upton: I’ve been in the gambling industry all my professional life which is around 16 years now. I’ve been a game artist, a games designer, studio manager, product manager and then C-Level management. I’ve now worked in the online space as much as in land-based. I worked a lot out of Vegas and have been around the world to see how players play different games in different settings. I founded Lucksome in Sept 2020. Lucksome is about making well-made games with transparency, awesome graphics, and the best mathematics in the world. We started off simply because we wanted to do something in a less chaotic and corporate environment. We’ve all worked at the big studios and felt that we can do better by staying small, focusing on games design quality and what it is players out there want.
iGNJ: Competition is huge in your space. What makes Lucksome stand out from the crowd?
BU: Quality. Transparency. Diversity. We don’t compromise on quality, even with games like Coins on Fire – a simpler more classic game – detail and polish is everything. Transparency: we show more stats on our games so that players know what our games are about. Diversity: take a look at our portfolio. Our games are very diverse in themes, mechanics and math profiles. We are masters at what we do, but Lucksome is new and is out to impress and build player trust.
iGNJ: With the world becoming more and more accepting of iGaming as a popular pastime, where are the main markets of interest for you?
BU: We have seven licenses including Romania and Greece now which is exciting. We are also very excited that our content is releasing in Italy and North America but have a strong following in many markets including Scandinavia.
iGNJ: Which Lucksome game has been the biggest hit, and why do you think that is?
BU: Voodoo Temple and Bon Bomb Luxpots have been especially popular with players – two very different games. Our first game (Divine Links) has consistently performed also. It’s too early to tell on our newest release, Gates of Etherea.
iGNJ: With so many games and signature features already in the market, what do you think has become Lucksome’s “thing”? What are you known for?
BU: Great games and great game design is obviously hugely important. We’re working on exciting games that will standout because they are unique, or they are just well made, and are exciting to play. We put a lot of time into our games visuals and mathematics to provide a clear indication to our players what each game will do. A key difference to Lucksome games is information. We like to give players much more transparency in how our games will play and the math profile will feel so players feel they can trust what they see and if it’s a right fit for them.
iGNJ: What does the creation of a game look like at Lucksome?
BU: We ALWAYS start with the player. Who is this game for? What features do/might they like? What math profiles do they like to play? We then begin putting mechanical concepts together and when we’ve thrown the idea around a lot and put a narrative on it (and we’re happy!) then we’ll get to work on the art and the math. Then we go into production writing code and animation. A game can take weeks or many months depending on the concept we’ve come up with.
iGNJ: Would you ever make any other kind of game beyond slots?
BU: We do, but not yet. We have some interesting immediate plans with our current slot content, but we have some really nice ideas for other game types that we would also love to try out.
iGNJ: What can you tell us about the forthcoming game, Gates of Etherea?
BU: Gates of Etherea is a Max Win game. We wanted a game where the max win isn’t just about the bonus, so we focussed a lot of the RTP in those Scatter Portals, which have a very strong paytable and a 5,000x Bet potential. Waking up the Guardians is the other focus; Scatter Portals will power them up until they wake and launch Free Games. Watch them shoot lasers from their eyes and convert symbols to High Paying symbols, Wilds, Wilds with Multipliers and Scatter Portals that with 10+ can retrigger Free Games.
iGNJ: Please also tell us about Coins on Fire.
BU: “On fire” is what this game is about! It’s high hit frequency action so the game is super-exciting. It’s a 3×3 5-liner with beautifully designed classic symbols and a Respins On Fire feature that you will see frequently.Trigger is simple: land a wild and Fire Coin sub-symbol on any of the non-wild symbols. Each Fire Coin has a value, and if you’re lucky enough to land multiple fire coins they will add up to give you the number of respins you have. Every wild you land INCLUDING the wild you triggered becomes a sticky wild for the remainder of the respins AND any new Fire Coins that land during respins will add to the respins you have left! If you are lucky enough to get a full screen of wilds in the respins feature, you can get repeated respins of 80x! In jurisdictions with operators that allow it, there is the option of the Extra Respins Sidebet that allows you to double the bet and have between 1 and 7 respins added to the triggering number of respins when the feature launches for extra excitement!
iGNJ: As an industry expert, what interesting trends have you observed?
BU: Lots and lots of content, so the quality of the games out there has dropped significantly as everyone competes. This is why Lucksome is focusing on quality more than anything.
iGNJ: Bryan, thank you for your time and interesting insights. Hope our readers will find this interview equally informative!
BU: Thank you! One thing I wish to mention before we go, remember to play responsibly and set realistic limits, and you’ll always enjoy your play.