Within the iGaming world, there are many iconic online slots that have completely shaped the industry. These games continue to remain popular amongst players and enthusiasts alike, so much so that developers often wish to capitalise on this success with a sequel.
This is where the true challenge comes in, as making a good slot sequel is more difficult than creating an original slot. With original slot ideas, there is no assumption of what this game could be, whereas a slot sequel must adhere to certain rules whilst living up to expectations from players.
It may come as no surprise that there are many steps in the process of developing a truly incredible slot sequel. Any developer can make a sequel, but it takes extra effort to make that game stand out and have longevity.
Keeping the same tone as the original
One of the first things that slot developers must ensure is done correctly, is to make sure that the sequel is aligned with the original slot. That’s not to say that the game can simply be a copy of the original – a great sequel should introduce new ideas and features whilst maintaining the familiarity and tone of the original, and to some degree, the branding.
An excellent example of this is Relax Gaming’s Money Train 2. The first Money Train slot featured a Wild West setting with criminal undertones that made the game stand out amongst other popular titles of the time such as Dead or Alive 2, Dr Fortuno and Sweet Bonanza. Relax Gaming is not a studio that frequently produces sequels, but decided that there was more to tell within the Money Train series.
By 2020, the iGaming industry was shaken up by a multitude of original slots and sequels – but none quite as big as Money Train 2. This slot managed to be one of the best slots of the year and one of the greatest slot sequels ever due to simply keeping what made the original so great. The Wild West tone was brought back but with a Steampunk twist making the slot feel familiar whilst being original.
This sequel was so successful that it even led to spin-off games with Money Cart and Money Cart 2. Ultimately, this shows that creating a good sequel can potentially lead to a slot series franchise as well.
Building on lessons learned from previous games
Even slot developers can make critical mistakes when it comes to games. A slot sequel is the perfect time to fix up any issues from previous games. This is the easiest way to improve upon a prequel, by literally solving the problems from the original.
The original Dead or Alive is a respectable game with many fans playing the game today almost 13 years since its release. However, the maximum win for this game is quite low for modern audiences.
Thankfully, this is why the sequel, Dead or Alive 2, radically improved upon this, taking the maximum win from 12,000x stake to 111,111x stake. Other games including Gemix 2, Jammin’ Jar 2 and Narcos Mexico followed suit, putting right the low maximum win from the first games and enhancing the overall win potential in the sequels.
There can also be other issues in games such as a lack of features, low RTP or just a generally poor design. A slot sequel can be successful by correcting these issues instead of just copying them over to the new game. This is what separates the bad sequels from the great ones that stand out.
Adding a revolutionary mechanic
Back when Megaways was fresh and new to the iGaming world, slot developers could get away with creating a sequel with just this. Sequels such as Gonzo’s Quest Megaways, Fishin’ Frenzy Megaways and Rainbow Riches Megaways were all enhanced by Megaways but mostly because the added ways to win completely improved the experience.
By 2020 this would all change as Megaways was no longer an easy tactic for developers to use. Many developers would simply add Megaways to a slot to make a sequel with nothing extra added, and players were not satisfied. If a new mechanic is being added to a sequel, it should be innovative, and ideally, unique.
The original Hypernova slot started off with Megaways but the developers changed up the mechanics for the sequels. Hypernova Radial Reels and Hypernova Infinity Reels both tried to do something original with distinct mechanics. With Hypernova Radial Reels, the developers at ReelPlay created a unique mechanic with no traditional paylines but instead a wheel with 12 special paylines. This shook up the format and gave players something completely different for the sequel.
As the name suggests, Hypernova Infinity Reels features the Infinity Reels mechanic. The Infinity Reels mechanic gives players unlimited possibilities in terms of how many reels and paylines they can receive. Essentially, adding a fresh new feature can spruce up any slot sequel, but the developers must ensure it still aligns with the tone of the original slot to avoid it being unrecognisable.
Like in most mediums, there are great sequels and bad sequels. Ultimately, the terrible sequels are usually through lack of care on the creation of the product ending up as something lifeless. A good sequel manages to embody all that is great about the original, whilst adding something new. After all, what is the point in a sequel if it’s an identical copy of the original?
Age of the Gods: God of Storms 2 releases this year as a long-awaited sequel to the fan-favourite original that is still popular at casinos today. It would’ve been easy for Playtech to capitalise on the popularity by cloning the original, but instead, the developers have decided to improve the experience for the players in the sequel.
Simple changes such as enhancing the design with added audio and crisper images as well as improving the gameplay with added paylines make the sequel worthwhile. All of this is done without compromising the tone of the original showing other developers how to make a successful sequel.
Slot sequels like this give the player something new and different. Anyone can create a sequel, but it takes a strategy to deliver one that is remembered and not immediately forgotten. As previously mentioned, some sequels can even lead to franchises showcasing what a successful slot can really do.
Slot players are intelligent and will not just play any sequel that is thrown in front of them. The sequel has to be something remarkable to do well in the current iGaming climate that continues to expand and grow. Developers will be able to make a good slot sequel by following the simple criteria outlined here.