Tell us a bit about yourself. What makes you, you; and why have you chosen to work at Neon Valley?
Hi! I’m Tomas Tezak and I have been a market readiness and logistics lead at Neon Valley Studios since its inception a couple of years ago. I’ve always had a passion for great products, and my role here fits perfectly with that as it allows me to work really closely end-to-end with the team to identify opportunities, define a vision and execute it. I was always drawn to gaming and the opportunity to work with a team that embodies quality, creativity and innovation is something I just couldn’t pass up. It’s been an amazing time and we’re just getting started.
Which slot takes the 2020 title of the best Neon Valley release?
We had a couple of great releases in 2020, so that is a bit like asking a parent which child is their favourite. Very early in the year we celebrated the release of Atlantean Treasures, which was the first original math model featuring the Mega Moolah progressive in about 10 years. Then came Age of Conquest – its persistent wild reel collect mechanic along with the epic visuals made it a huge hit with players, so much so that we quickly followed it up by applying a Roman theme to the same mechanic for Augustus, which did amazingly well in its own right.
In between those two, we had a lot of fun working on the steampunk-themed Noble Sky. We focused on an engaging mechanic combination for that game, coupling the pot collect with the walking wilds feature, and enjoyed flexing a lot of creative muscle.
It was a really solid year for Neon Valley.
Looking to the future, what is the next big release Neon Valley is planning?
We did not slow down at all for 2021 and it has been an outstanding year so far with the release of Queen of Alexandria. That said, we still have a lot of cool things in the works. The one I can talk about is our November release, an epic 243-ways game that pushes the Link&Win mechanic further than ever before with a couple of exciting additions. You will be hearing a lot about this one as we approach the winter season.
In a market with hundreds of game studios, what would you say is Neon Valley’s biggest differentiator?
Well, it’s not just that we’re located in Las Vegas, we are Las Vegas! The whole team lives and breathes casino gaming and slots and comes to every project with a solid understanding of the different types of players and what they look for in a game.
Since every member of the team is essentially a subject matter expert, we have the luxury of tapping into an endless pool of perspectives and ideas for any project we choose to pursue.
Also, having solid opportunities to research right outside our front doors and having direct contact with slot players is an advantage we like to draw from as part of our internal process.
We would love to hear more about the slot creation process. Can you let us know which is the most exciting part of the entire process when creating a new slot?
Every part has its appeal, but for me there is something special about that early discussion with the team when the game starts taking shape in our minds. When you communicate the initial vision and the team starts believing in it, the creative floodgates just open and you can feel the excitement build along with a torrent of great ideas from everyone in the room. That’s when we know we have something special brewing.
What about any inside funny stories, do you have something to share with us?
From mid-March 2020, we all started working from home due to the pandemic. As the months went by and new people came on board, we started to realize that while we were extremely focused on our projects, our culture was starting to suffer. Thus, we started having virtual meetings where we would just have a bit of a group chat to see what everyone was up to. This spawned some very lively, funny, and maybe slightly inappropriate discussions. It really galvanized the team and cemented the bond between us all.
How can you tell if an online slot is going to be a hit or not?
I don’t believe you can tell with full certainty. The market is extremely dynamic. However, we spend a lot of time reviewing data from multiple sources and analysing trends to keep our finger on the pulse of what is popular with players. That is central to our mindset.
With that, we believe that we at least can ensure every game we release is relevant to the current state of online gaming, giving it the best possible chance to succeed.
Did you play slots before entering the iGaming industry? Any favourite games?
I did. It was always a fascinating industry to me, even if I have only been a part of it for a few years. I would always gravitate towards the classic three-reel slots. There is something special about the simplicity at the heart of the gambling experience. That said, I do enjoy the range of experiences you can get with modern slots. The options are endless.
What are your hobbies?
I’ve always been a big soccer fan and try to play whenever possible. It’s a great way to release some steam. Aside from that, I enjoy going to concerts and hitting the casino every once in a while.
What has been your biggest challenge and your most significant success in the gambling industry?
Personally, the biggest challenge for me was coming into a new industry, joining a very young studio and trying to become competitive quickly. There was a lot of learning, long hours and plenty of trial and error in those early days. Ultimately, the release and great success of Atlantean Treasures was a big milestone both for me and the studio which marked a clear before/after for all of us.
If you weren’t in the gambling industry, what other industry would you want to work in?
I have been in a few different industries, from healthcare to business intelligence, but iGaming has been by far my favorite. I’d love to stay in iGaming for years to come. If I had to choose though I would probably stay within the entertainment industry or maybe something sports related.