GMBLRS Spotlight Series shines the light on studios we think are a cut above the rest and tipped to shine for online slot stardom. Just two years young, Lucksome Gaming has stormed the scene and turned heads with a diverse debut catalogue, showcasing innovative features, eye-catching design and engaging gameplay, with something from the opening six to suit all tastes.
Bryan Upton, Founder & Director at Lucksome, kindly gave some time for a chat about the team, the content, the direction, and what makes Lucksome worthy of the spotlight.
GMBLRS: Welcome Bryan, and thanks for taking the time to chat about Lucksome and your journey so far. Can we start with a bit about yourself and the Lucksome team background?
BRYAN: Hey! Thanks a lot for speaking with me and the gang here at Lucksome! We are a small studio, based in Malta, started up during the pandemic (yes crazy times!). Most of us have been in the industry for a good while, this will be my 16th year in the business. We come from IGT, Yggdrasil, Gameloft, NetEnt and other places, and have been making casino games for a while, it is our passion for sure.
GMBLRS: Fresh out the blocks and just six games young, with Bon Bomb Luxpots Megaways out today! Take us from the realisation that you wanted to make your own games, through to launch? How do you start a game studio like Lucksome?
BRYAN: Well, it starts with the people. My first task was to get a team together who were willing to start something new with me. After that it was about finding the correct partners and investment to kick off, then the fun began. Game ideas, which art styles, themes, markets, players desires, features.
We had to establish the brand, our colours, how we portray ourselves to the players. Then it’s time to go for it. Sounds easy…it wasn’t, especially during COVID, but it was a fun challenge.
GMBLRS: How long before you were happy with your premier title Divine Links, were there tough challenges or hurdles, or was it plain sailing with an air of confidence?
BRYAN: First game is always the hardest, you tend to over think everything, but to be honest, the first game is also setting a ton of baselines and standards.
We designed the UI from scratch, we had to set out our timings, win processing, line shapes, standard game behaviours. That stuff is iterative, and takes time to bed into the team as well as the code. All that new stuff made Divine Links the hardest but that’s normal. We are improving with every game – despite Divine Links being one of our best performers. Plain sailing….definitely not!
Where to Play Lucksome
GMBLRS: By comparison, Divine Links, Joker Maxima, Loki: Lord of Mischief, Way of the Tiger and recent releases, Voodoo Temple and Bon Bomb Luxpots Megaways, are diverse in gameplay style. What drove the choice of themes and formats?
BRYAN: Well, the team and I can do anything, we believe that and we demonstrate it with our games. We are hoping that as we build up our portfolio, there will be a game for every player by Lucksome. I’m sure that when we have that scale we will move to build on mechanics and themes that players liked from us, but it won’t stop us from doing new and different things.
You have to produce things that both tick the players’ boxes, but also that we as a team can authentically do. Our team is pretty diverse, so why not make diverse games? As long as they are awesome of course we’ll keep doing what we are doing.
GMBLRS: Each game loading screen comes with informative transparency, in a player-focused ten-step scoring system, showing a ‘bonus’ and ‘win’ frequency plus a ‘win focus’. Could you explain the idea and driving force behind the info?
BRYAN: We believe in transparency and player control. If a player sees a game of ours and it allows them to make an informed decision, say…it’s too volatile for them, then they shouldn’t play it. We would prefer that players playing our games are there because they feel the game is the right fit and that it is not misrepresenting itself. We hope to build up trust and therefore loyalty with players over time.
GMBLRS: What’s on the horizon, is there a focus or particular direction for Lucksome through its infancy?
BRYAN: I think stability and increasing the team a little is a priority job alongside hitting a rhythm of around 8 games a year. We think that we can put more time into the games so the quality is obvious to everyone out there. This is the only true differentiator, quality. Rushed games stand out like a sore thumb these days due to huge competition.
Then it’s innovation, we have some seriously cool new mechanics coming that we think players are going to love which have been slow burning passion projects that I hope will come into fruition this or early next year. We now have our first Megaways game, so look out for that!
GMBLRS: Talking innovation, Lucksome games have some novel and unique features; Way of the Tiger has Lucksome Locks, Loki:Lord of Mischief features the Lucksome Gamble, and a personal favourite, Voodoo Temple, has Shadow Spins, explain a bit about these trademark features for those yet to try?
BRYAN: Like any studio, being known for certain mechanics is a way to stand out and connect with players. Consistency is key, Lucksome Locks is a common feature in most of the games we are doing because of the lower chance of triggering features and better costs, instead of say, taking a straight bonus buy, which gives players other options for bonus triggers and we think is a good thing.
Overall though, features like Shadow Spins are there to demonstrate to the player different states and modes of the game which boosts understanding on what’s possible without forcing them to read a complex help file.
GMBLRS: When checking out new studios, there are lots of types. Some focus on math, others on visual appeal, some clone or borrow from former slots, and others reach for dizzy heights. Lucksome games have detailed artwork and engaging design, demonstrating a push for a polished product. How important are individuality and quality for launching games to players?
BRYAN: Practicality should win out here. Players like what they like. To not give them that spells doom for any studio, large or small. The issue is fulfilling those desires in new ways as well as old ways. It’s like telling Disney to stop making Superhero films as there are too many of them…pretty sure cinema goers wouldn’t be happy with that, I would be one of them! Find new ways to thrill and excite as well as building on the proven stuff too.
GMBLRS: Thanks for the insights on Lucksome Gaming, and the journey to starting a successful game studio from scratch. Let’s wrap up with some quickfire questions, just for fun, Sum up your games in three words?
BRYAN: Transparent, punchy, awesomefun (the last one counts as one word right?)
GMBLRS: Who from the competition do you admire, and what for?
BRYAN: Love Elk, their Gold series are superb, Print Studios are brethren in a way and are being bold, I like that. Pragmatic Play, for their size and yet ability to execute is impressive.
GMBLRS: What’s your favourite game?
BRYAN: Massive Fan of Hades video game by SuperGiant. Casino – Buffalo Gold – Aristocrat
GMBLRS: What was your dream job growing up?
BRYAN: Work for Pixar as a character animator
GMBLRS: Who is your idol or childhood hero?
BRYAN: Gotta be Steve Jobs.
GMBLRS: Thank you, Bryan. It’s been a pleasure to talk with someone whose games I personally spin. Voodoo Temple is a serious contender for my slot of the year, and Joker Maxima makes my regular rolls.
BRYAN: Thanks for listening and for the great questions. Voodoo Temple and Bon Bomb Luxpots Megaways are out now – go check them out and let us know what you think. You can find us on youtube or Lucksomegaming.com, we love hearing from players!
You can read more about Lucksome Gaming here, the impressive starting catalogue of games with complete reviews and the best online casinos to try them at. Check out Lucksome Locks, the Lucksome Gamble Feature, the thrill of Shadow Spins, and more, or the sweet addition to the Megaways family tree, Bon Bomb Luxpots Megaways, out now!