Special Q& A w/ Stuart McCarthy, Head of Item & Program at Yggdrasil

Home » Special Q& A w/ Stuart McCarthy, Head of Item & Program at Yggdrasil


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Piggybacking on popular entertainment themes has proven to be a good strategy for games in emerging online markets, including the United States. We examine the factors that go into creating games that appeal to viewers of beloved TV shows, films and games.




What should you consider when creating a game that will get attention and build excitement around an upcoming entertainment release?

Our first Vikings game was released by Yggdrasil a few years after the TV series Vikings aired. Although it was developed to tie in with Norse mythology, and our Scandinavian heritage. However, the popularity of the game series cannot be denied.

Vikings are a significant part of Nordic history. They have been depicted many times in popular culture. This theme is also a great choice for slot games. Each new title adds to our Vikings collection. We have created characters that will return to the games in a similar fashion as a TV series, or film. And we also create a storyline around these characters. We create a sense of familiarity that ensures that players return to the games.



Which types of content (e.g., TV series or film genre) are appropriate for designing games around?

It’s a fascinating term. There were many taboo subjects that we avoided over the years. However, that has changed recently with more challenging themes in slot games.

To return to the topic at hand, game shows have always been the obvious crossover between gaming and mainstream TV. Wheel of Fortune and Who Wants to be a Millionaire are prime examples of games where players have a solid understanding of the mechanics and feel comfortable or excited to play the slots because they have seen the shows.

Besides that, the world really is your oyster. Working with popular themes allows developers to really think outside of the box and be creative. Many themes can be made into games. If it works well for TV and film, it will likely be popular with slot players. Video games are another source of inspiration. It’s possible to make popular video games into movies and television, which shows that inspiration can come from both sides. It is important to make sure that the features and mechanics of the slot match the theme in order to create an entertaining and exciting experience.


Do you think it is more important to create this content with an eye towards emerging markets where the typical online gaming genres may be less well-known?

I would not say so. A lot of popular shows, movies, and video games are a worldwide phenomenon. This means that a casino product that has a specific theme will appeal to many markets. We always ensure that our content attracts the widest possible player demographics. Often, themes drawn from popular culture work really well.

What legal issues must be considered in order to not stray too closely from an original IP?

We aren’t trying to copy or imitate existing franchises. Instead, we want our own version of a popular theme. As shown in the Vikings series, we put a lot of effort into creating our characters and stories.

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