Bryan Upton – Founder & Director at Lucksome
Tell us a bit about yourself. What makes you, you; and why have you chosen to work at Lucksome?
I’ve been in the gambling industry all my professional life which is around 16 years now. I started out as a game artist, then game designer, studio lead, product management and then C-Level management. 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 because we simply 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.
We love big wins, so can you please let us know the top 3 winnings ever paid by Lucksome?
Our top 3 biggest wins so far are 12186x, 10007x, and 8824x. But we have literally like over 1000’s of big wins from our 5 games since launch.
You have an impressive slots portfolio. What do you think are the best three slots you’ve ever released?
It’s always hard to comment on your own work, but our best three would be, Voodoo Temple, Divine Links and Way of the Tiger.
Looking to the future, what can you tell us about your next game, Bon Bomb Luxpots™?
Luxpots™ is our new prize ladder feature with a twist. It’s also our first Megaways game, but the Luxpots™ sets it apart from the other Megaways games. Collecting each one of those Candy Bombs every spin will upgrade the prize in the base game, but when you get into the free games things get very interesting. Luxpots™ prize ladder can be multiplied multiple times and the Candy Bombs now lock in free games until no more bombs have landed. So, if you get a bomb in spin one, lock it… spins again… and say you get another bomb. Now that’s locked. It spins again for another bomb… the game keeps going and the prize ladder’s totting up, and what you’re hoping for is that a multiplier will come in and multiply the entire prize ladder, BOOM! Even better, whatever ways win you’ve won on that particular spin will also be multiplied as well.
Next is the bonus buy. In our other games like Voodoo Temple, the prices vary according to how many scatters you buy. You can buy say three, four or five, and then the price goes up accordingly. With Bon Bomb, we’ve done it differently. We’re matching the price and the math profile to the player motivation. What we’ve done is said, ‘players that can afford it might want to be more careful with their cash, so we’ll put in a second chance re-trigger’. How does it work? It’s 300x your bet to buy VIP – which is the most expensive – but if you win 60x your bet back or less, you can KEEP those winnings that you made AND we’ll re-trigger the bonus for you again’ – that’s our new Double Lux™ feature.
Then we said, X-plosive, the most volatile one and at 60x also the cheapest, because some players will probably want to play at a lower price because they want to convert a lower bet into a much larger amount (because they’re players that prefer more volatile games). So that’s quite a new (and important) design philosophy riffing on the bonus buy play we’re seeing from our player base.
In a market with hundreds of game studios, what would you say is Lucksome’s biggest differentiator?
Great games and great game design are obviously huge factors. We’re working on exciting games that will stand out because they are unique, or they are just well made and are exciting to play. We put a lot of time into our game’s visuals and mathematics to provide a clear indication to our players of 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.
We would love to hear more about the slot creation process. For you, what is the most exciting part of the entire process when creating a new slot?
I would love to say ALL of it, but I would be lying a little. The best parts are absolutely in the majority though. We love sitting and having creative sessions, coming up with concepts and just speaking games, thrashing out and beating up ideas. When the art starts to come through, seeing the look and feel of the game come alive is one of the greatest parts of the process, but the most challenging is the math and mechanics, and when you make that final change, and know you’ve got something special in front of you, is one of the best things about being a slot game designer. I think all designers would agree that the documentation writing would be the least favourite, but it must be done in a highly regulated industry such as I.
Can you ever tell if an online slot is going to be a hit or not before you release it?
I think it would be fair to say that you get a sense when you’re on to something big. But on the flipside players constantly surprise you with what they like, a new game or theme will get traction that you wouldn’t think would and then the market moves. This is what makes it so exciting to be in the industry!
Did you use to play slots before entering the iGaming industry, and if yes, can you share with us your biggest win on an online slot? (you don’t have to name the stake, just the multiplier and the game is more than enough)
Nope. I didn’t even know what a slot machine was until I was asked to design one all those years ago. But I’ve been playing games since then, although I spent my most pleasurable times on the land-based machines in Vegas. The biggest win was around 2500x. That was a great day!
What are your hobbies?
Playing board games with my family. Video Games and learning to sail. Lucksome has taken a lot of energy but I would like to return to learning woodwork, but this I fear will be a while away!
What has been your biggest challenge and your most significant success in the gambling industry?
Working at NetEnt was one of my greatest challenges. Coming into a company that has been hit by a sudden, rapidly changing market, lost a lot of talent, and had not adapted quickly to the immense competition. Turning the game production around, improving quality and output by constructing a robust product strategy and was a gargantuan task.
So far I think Lucksome is my favourite success, although it is still early. Building a new team working on new tech, with a new brand. We have built a good number of games from a standing start, with many more in the pipeline, during a pandemic, it’s a big achievement with more to come.
If you weren’t in the gambling industry, what other industry would you want to work in?
Great question – I think it would be mobile games, hyper-casual games. Not sure I’m cut out for anything other than games!