Welcome to our exclusive interview with John Duffy, CEO of Gold Coin Studios, a leading slot game development company known for its innovative and immersive games. With a team of experienced game designers and developers, Gold Coin Studios creates top-performing slot games that players worldwide enjoy. This interview delves into the company's history, game development process, and plans.
So, please sit back and enjoy as we take a behind-the-scenes look into the exciting world of Gold Coin Studios.
Please introduce yourself and your role, as well as Gold Coin Studios.
Thanks for the opportunity to give you some insights into Gold Coin Studios and our games! My name is John Duffy, and I am the CEO of Gold Coin Studios. I've been making and playing slot games for nearly 30 years now - it's an amazing industry to be part of.
Gold Coin Studios is a small team, with under 25 employees, and our first game, Arthur's Gold, launched in July 2020.
You work exclusively with Games Global. How does this relationship impact day-to-day operations?
The partnership with Games Global was an easy decision for myself and Gold Coin Studios. To partner with a company of its size, distribution and professionalism are an honour. We see it as a win-win for both companies as they get our fantastic content, and we get the distribution, marketing and support network. Our day-to-day operations are the same as any studio, which is to create the best games possible. To be a little more specific, we want to develop games that become player favourites and go-to gaming experiences.
What have been your most popular slot games so far - and why do you think that has been the case?
Fiona's Fortune has been a strong game for us. Fiona, our lead character in the game, is a twist on the usual Irish Leprechaun that you see in so many games and has been very well-received in the market. In terms of the game design and math, the game is packed with features that all work in harmony, including instant awards with the ExpressCollect™ feature, a Wheel bonus and the Link&Win™ feature.
Cairo Link&Win™ was also a strong release for us. Our beautiful art interpretation on the frequently used Egyptian theme. Three Link&Win™ features, including what we have now branded the Single Stack Link&Win™ feature in the free spins, where you only need one stack of 3 symbols to trigger the feature. These 3 symbols are copied to reels 2 and 4, with the feature then being played out on reels 1 and 5. The free spins feature is really where the chase is in this game as, along with the Single Stack Link&Win™ feature, they are played with stacks of high symbols and wilds only.
The Aquatic Treasures games have also done well for us as they have become the old favourites of a very loyal player base.
Fiona's Christmas Fortune just launched. What is the story behind it, and what gameplay are we getting with this superb game?
We first introduced Fiona in Fiona's Fortune, and as the market so well received her, we decided to bring her back to bring some Christmas cheer.
Fiona's Christmas has cash on Christmas ornaments that are instantly awarded the ExpressCollect™ feature. Trigger the Wheel Bonus to win multipliers, metered prizes and even the Link&Win™ feature.
Fiona is dressed in her Christmas finest and talks with the players throughout the game with a range of voiceovers.
How many slot game ideas does your company have each year, and how many do you actually get to work on and launch?
We are constantly doing blue sky sessions where we throw out a range of ideas. The next step is to see where they fit on our strategic roadmap and will these designs resonate with players. The goal is to have the right mix of designs that we know are currently popular with the players and those new designs that could create a whole new product line in the market.
What is Gold Coin Studios' game development process from ideation to launch? How many hands touch the product through all the stages?
We are only a small team so every time we make a game a large percentage of the studio is involved. Our process starts with what we call "blue sky". This is where our designers and mathematicians discuss new designs and concepts.
Once we have vetted an idea, it will go onto our roadmap. From here we bring in our artists and prototypers to create the initial version of the game, so we can play the game and tweak the math until we are happy. Then it will move into production with our software engineers and sound engineer.
To get the game submitted our QA team tries to break the games in every conceivable way and they do an amazing job of this. All of this is managed by the game producer and ops director.
The great thing about my position is that although I am the CEO, I see my primary role as game designer/producer and mentor to the entire team.
Video, audio, features, mathematics, marketing… What are the key ingredients that make a Gold Coin Studios game?
We try to bring our personalities and our passion for gaming into every game, to create a unique game experience for the players and to differentiate ourselves in a very crowded field.
Game design and math is our number one priority. If we can get this right, then we start in a very strong position. If we can then present this with a clear symbol hierarchy and beautiful art that accentuates the features and presents the games intuitively, then we have achieved what we have strived for. We believe our music and sounds are top quality and are the icing on the cake for our games.
New concepts don't often come by, features are replicated across studios, and there's just a general feeling of "oh, yet another title" without real appeal. I feel like you will obviously disagree, but can you share more?
This is very much what the industry is in some ways. I always liken it to an under-6 soccer game. Wherever the ball is, twenty children are running around chasing it. The gaming industry is the same, with everyone chasing the latest hot game or design features.
Gold Coin Studios will also carve out part of our portfolio to innovate and try and bring something new to the market. In soccer terms, we want to "be the ball" and create something that everyone wants to chase.
You must receive excellent job applications, but what makes a good staff candidate great?
We absolutely receive a lot of applications. The first part of our hiring process is to see if the person will be a good fit with the team and our culture. We work for each other, not just with each other, and it is critical that when we hire someone new, they are the perfect fit. From here, it is then an easy process to test if they have the requisite skills to do the job they are applying for.
What would you recommend a new development studio to pay attention to when it comes to responsible playing?
Responsible gaming must underpin everything that you do when designing and developing slot games. Player fairness is part of our modus operandi. Being a player myself I know how important it is that our games are fair. Slot games work because they are random and everyone is equal when playing them - it is critical that they are presented this way. For new studios, the key is to focus on what you would think is fair if you were playing the game yourself. If you would not tolerate the design or how you are presenting it, then don't do it - it is that simple.
What slot games are you currently working on, and can you tell us more about what else is in the pipeline?
We are kicking off 2023 with Fishing Floats of Cash™ which is another feature-rich game with ExpressCollect™, Link&Win™ and a Wheel Bonus. Georges Gold™ will continue the Cairo Link&Win™ product line.