If you are a regular online casino player, the chances are you will have played Thunderstruck or Thunderstruck II – two of the most iconic titles in the world.
Stormcraft is the studio behind Thunderstruck and it recently launched the third title in the franchise, Thunderstruck Wild Lightning with promises of the most thrilling experience yet.
To learn more about the Thunderstruck franchise and why the third installment is potentially the best to date, we sat down with Terence Igesund, Executive Producer at Stormcraft Studios.
Where did the idea for Thunderstruck first come from? What inspired the game?
Terence Igesund (TI): We finalised the game mechanic and features for Thunderstruck long before the game had a name or a theme. The team were really excited about the volatility and multiplier win potential of the engine and wanted the theme to be all about strength and power.
Having spent lots of time in land-based casinos I had seen that some of the most popular slots had mythical themes which appealed to me. Ever since I was little, I had always loved reading myths about powerful heroes fighting scary monsters. My Scandinavian heritage drew me to the Norse mythologies and growing up The Mighty Thor was always the comic book of choice to spend my allowance on.
So, deciding on an epic and powerful theme for the game was really a no brainer for me.
How did you take that initial concept and turn it into once of the most popular slots of all time?
TI: Craftsmanship is one of Stormcraft’s core principles which applies to all aspects of game creation. From the concept sketches and maths modelling, through to development and marketing strategies, all facets of the game are carefully considered with quality assurance done at every point in the process. Depending on the business objectives of the project, a game can take several weeks or several months to create, from concept through to delivery.
How has the game evolved over the following two titles – Thunderstruck II and Thunderstruck Wild Lightning?
TI: Everyone knows that sequels are rarely as good as the original and generally end up being a disappointment. That however was not the case with Thunderstruck II which went on to become an even bigger success than the original.
We went from a simple 9 Line game with 1 Free Spin Feature to a complex 243 Ways game with 4 unique Free Spin features, as well as a random base game feature that could pay up to 8000x.
The first game focused only on the character of Thor, whereas the sequel added the characters of Valkyrie, Loki and Odin to the symbol hierarchy, with each of the characters sporting their own individual Free Spin feature. These features needed to be unlocked sequentially through triggering Free Spins multiple times, giving players a reason to keep returning to the game.
The final feature in the Great Hall of Spins belongs to Thor where the Rolling Reels™ mechanic was introduced to the online industry for the first time. The novelty and win potential of this feature was a further incentive for players to invest the time required to unlock it.
I think it is worth mentioning again that up until this point online slot games had always been single instance with no memory built in. With Thunderstruck II we developed the technology that would save the player’s progress, allowing them to leave the game and return to the same point they had previously left off.
This innovation was huge back then and changed the landscape of online slots forever, allowing for more feature complexity and achievement-based gamification to be introduced. It also meant that time on device became an investment that could be visibly appreciated and celebrated, giving players more incentive and reason to keep returning to the game.
Can you tell us a little more about Thunderstruck Wild Lightning? How does it differ to the other two games in the series?
TI: Thunderstruck Wild Lightning is a high volatility 40 Line, 5×4 slot loaded with collection challenges, feature chases, amazing multipliers and bonus jackpots.
Thor is Wild and when substituting can award a 2x or a 5x multiplier to help boost win potential. His Hammer is the Scatter which awards entry to the feature selection screen where 5 Free Spin destinations, with variable volatility, are waiting to be unlocked.
Electric blue Thunderball symbols scattered across the base game reels provide clues to the location of the main event, where an impressive jackpot prize of over 15,000x is waiting to be won in the Link&Win bonus feature.
The visual fidelity of the game has been dramatically improved with much of the game including the main character of Thor, fully realised in highly realistic 3D. With the proven success of immersive game experiences like Immortal Romance under our belt, we have similarly created a captivating storyline, supported by several original music compositions. A selectable playlist of five tracks is available in the base game for players to customize their gaming experience.
Thunderstruck Wild Lighting is less of a sequel and more of a reboot of the franchise, which has resulted in the creation of a visually spectacular gaming experience filled with all the innovation, entertainment and craftsmanship that has come to be expected from a Stormcraft game.
We are currently designing some of the other iconic characters in 3D and plan to introduce them into new Thunderstruck games in the near future.
Stormcraft is associated with Thunderstruck, but can you tell us about some of your other games?
TI: The most commercially successful Stormcraft games thus far have been Fortunium, Fire Forge and our recently-released Thunderstruck Wild Lighting which also happens to be my favourite. Please don’t tell Jungle Jim as he can be a little sensitive sometimes.
What can we expect from Stormcraft over the coming months?
TI: So, after Thunderstruck Wild Lightning, we will be sending Agent Jane Blonde out on another exciting mission. After that, we have something really special in the pipeline which I can’t discuss just yet… but what I can say is that it’s a high-profile movie brand that we have previously collaborated on with NBC Universal… more than once.