Meet the Slots Creators – Light & Wonder’s VP of Game Development, Rob Proctor Interview

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Tell us a bit about yourself. What makes you, you; and why have you chosen to work at Light and Wonder?

I’m Rob Proctor, VP of Game Development at Light & Wonder. I look after everything from new game concepts to choosing which games to build (and which countries to launch those games in).

I started almost 10 years ago now in the QA team at Sky Betting and Gaming. Then I moved to a product role there, and then I went into a more ‘content and commercial’ position, heading up their casino content. That was across Sky Vegas, Sky Casino and Sky Bingo, so it was covering quite a large range of content. Then I moved here, to what is now Light & Wonder, looking after our second-party partners – the likes of Big Time Gaming and Lightning Box – helping them get onto our platform and develop their own games. I did that for about a year or so and then came into first-party.

Can you please tell us what are the slots with the most big wins from Light and Wonder?

If you look at a game like Spartacus Megaways, I think we saw a win at one point of about 97,000x, which is big! We are regularly getting wins on our newer games of 10,000x. For our European-focused content, we’ve made a conscious effort to make sure that those max wins are winnable; we don’t want a max win for the sake of having a max win – we want it there because it’s something players feel like they can win.

300 Shields Mighty Ways is your newest game. Why do you think the original was so popular?

I think it was a little bit before its time if I’m honest. That super-volatile nature of having 300x was something at the time it was first released (and for a long time after) wasn’t seen as widely as it is today – having the ability to get 300x on your wins. So that was the catalyst for its popularity. I think it got a bit of a cult following as players saw the potential in that top-level bonus, and the theme’s great as well, even with the original version. It’s not the best-looking game, but players have taken to it, and the mechanic and the math was so solid that key players and hardcore slot players stuck around with it for a long time. And then down the line we did 300 Shields Extreme with the bonus buy option, so that just gave it a new lease of life.

What can people expect in this revisit?

This is the second game in the Mighty Ways series – the second of many as the first one, Cluedo Mighty Ways was a good strong one for us. 300 Shields in its early days has proven to be stronger still, so it’s good to see that the new mechanic and new branding is starting to resonate with players. I think from a game-specific point of view, it’s a great brand to fit to this type of mechanic. We’ve added a lot of neat new features in there, while also maintaining the ethos and the DNA of what 300 Shields has always been, which is a highly volatile game with bonuses that are either life-changing or very demoralising! We’ve also taken the opportunity to give the assets a really nice polish; they stay true to the original, but we’ve brought them up to date a little bit and given them a nice little breath of fresh air. It’s about combining everything that’s good about the original 300 Shields with a new mechanic, and I think we’ve done a good job.

Do you think it’s tempting for games studios to keep revisiting already-popular games rather than creating new IPs?

It is tempting and it’s something that we do and others do as well, and why not? If you get a good brand and a good game with a theme and a mechanic that works for your audience, then you’d be silly not to try and build on that. I think from a players’ point of view, they like to see sequels; they like to see what you do with a game and where you take it next. Players like to see how you build and develop on the theme and the characters and the mechanics. I don’t see it as a negative; I think it’s a good thing. Obviously, there’s a limit; if you’re bringing out nine or ten games all under the same banner it gets a little bit tedious after a while, but I think as long as you’re keeping it fresh and as long as it’s adding something new every time, I quite like a series of games because undoubtedly then you always find your favourite, whether it’s game two, game three that you always gravitate back to. So I think if it’s done properly, it’s good for the player.

Do you have any new mechanics in the making you can tell us about?

We’ve got a couple and we’ve just released Action Bank Cash Shot. Cash Shot is a theme built on our Quick Hits model, which has been widely mirrored across the industry in recent times and done particularly well for other suppliers. We’ve rebranded that model of game now for UK and Europe as Cash Shot. We’ve tweaked the math slightly as well and played around with what we think UK/European players want to see when it comes to those types of games. So, Cash Shot is going to be something you’ll see more of. Accumulate – which we’ve already done two games with and have another two coming out this year – which we’re looking to build and continue to innovate on that type of mechanic, and then obviously Mighty Ways which you’ve seen. We’re also looking at a deluxe range of slots as well, Deluxe being remastered older titles that we want to bring back to life, so there’s that to look forward to in 2023. And then we’ve got some other big things that right now I’m not going to unveil, but we’ve got two or three other big content and product players for next year that I’m really starting to get excited about now that I can see them come into life. So yes, we do – watch this space!

Beyond 300 Shields Mighty Ways, what is the next big release you’re planning?

The next one up is Raging Rhino Mighty Ways – that’s currently our ‘work in progress’. Once we knew Mighty Ways was a mechanic we wanted to go hard on, Raging Rhino was a brand that fits the mechanic really well; that was one that just jumped out initially, with the rampaging rhinos going across the screen and the reels expanding – it just works really well. That will be released on November 23rd.

In a market with hundreds of game studios, what would you say is Light and Wonder’s biggest differentiator?

I think what sets us apart is our scale and familiarity. We’ve got a very good bond with players in key markets who chose and respect our content to be fair, good, fun, entertainment-based content that they understand and really want to play and can get a good win on. Moving forward, I think they’ll start to see us for what we are, which is an A-star team of content creators. We have ideas here that I honestly don’t think any third party could pull off. We’ve got the brains, we’ve got the experience, we’ve got the imagination, we’ve got the innovation and now we’ve got the platform to push it on. I think we’ll be unrivalled pretty soon when it comes to the quality of our content in all countries.

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