The process of creating an online slot can vary amongst developers. There are many developers that can churn out a huge amount of slot games within a small time frame, whilst there are some that only deliver a few each year. Perhaps, the biggest issue comes from developers rebooting and remaking old slots.
This ultimately raises the question of whether these developers should actually be focusing on creating new titles rather than rehashing past hits. Every industry loves a reboot as it’s often a cheaper and easier way to deliver something that people want – but is this necessarily the best solution?
According to the experts at Slot Gods, one of the leading sources of independent bias-free online slot reviews, there has been a huge rise in rebooted slots in the past few years with mixed responses from players. Naturally, there are pros and cons to this – all of which will be discussed here.
A brief history of rebooted slots
As previously mentioned, many developers have decided to revitalise previous titles. Arguably, this trend really started with Microgaming releasing a rebooted version of Immortal Romance. The slot was originally released in 2011 but saw a revamped version of the classic slot almost a decade later in May 2020. This was definitely a well-deserved facelift for a beloved slot – so naturally many developers followed the trend.
Microgaming led the charge with slots such as Jurassic Park and Thunderstruck getting remade versions with the Thunderstruck slot ending up being rebooted entirely with Thunderstruck Wild Lightning. Microgaming decided to bring back an extremely popular series and revitalise it for a modern audience over 10 years after the end of the original series, Thunderstruck II, was released.
It’s not just Microgaming who have led the reboot train, as NetEnt and IGT joined in the fun with reboots and remakes of existing slots. Perhaps two of the most iconic slots ever, Starburst and Cleopatra saw a rebirth in 2021 with sequels almost a decade after the originals. So, what is the actual appeal of reboots over original content?
Why some reboots work
There are a variety of reasons as to why reboots actually work and a majority of fans enjoy them but it all begins with nostalgia. People often love something that they are already familiar with as many studies show that nostalgia is actually good for a person and has been shown to counteract loneliness, boredom and anxiety. So, naturally, people are going to have a soft spot for familiar games that they enjoyed in the past.
Furthermore, there is already a fanbase set in place, so it makes sense for the developers to create something that they know will do well. These rebooted slots were already popular during their initial release, so it stands that there will be some sort of audience ready to play these reboots.
Of course, most of these reboots come from franchises that people know and love. In the case of Thunderstruck, the main character of the series is Thor with the focus being on Norse mythology, so people know exactly what they are getting into. The same goes for the mechanics in most of these slots such as with Cleopatra II as the core gameplay remains the same with a few extra additions. Therefore, it’s easy for pre-existing players to pick up the sequels and reboots as they have a vague idea of what to expect.
Not all reboots work
Naturally, there is a divide amongst certain reboots showing varying degrees of change. For example, Cleopatra II is a sequel to the original but is intended to be more of a reboot of the series. The biggest difference comes from the features, but the visuals of the slot look like a re-cloned version of the original.
Thankfully, Cleopatra II does have the features to back up this design choice but many other slots just clone everything from the visuals to the features showing a lack of imagination. Slot players aren’t stupid and can instantly tell the difference between good reboots and bad ones. Certain reboots do just feel like a cheap cash grab in order to take advantage of nostalgia to make them play something that isn’t necessarily brilliant.
The creativity of original slots
Despite a huge amount of developers capitalising on nostalgia to release rebooted slots, a majority of developers are still focusing on new and original slots instead. Yggdrasil are a titan within the slot development world as they mainly focus on unique ideas with innovative storytelling mixed with engaging features.
Known for cinematic slots, Yggdrasil has created some of the most distinctive and quirky slots within the past few years. Hades Gigablox, Dr Fortuno and Vikings go to Hell are just a few titles from their extensive collection. These slots are remarkable and all completely different from each other, whilst retaining all that is enjoyable with online slots.
There’s a huge amount of creative freedom for developers when they are creating a new slot as opposed to rebooting something that already exists. It’s also difficult to get everything right for fans of the previous slots as there are predetermined expectations. For example, there could be expectations of a slot to contain certain features, therefore the developers have to retain them – even if they don’t want to.
So, should developers focus on new games instead?
Of course, nothing can fully be original – but there’s no harm in trying to do something fresh and inventive. Certain reboots work because they take something beloved and add improvements that enhance the players’ experience rather than just repeating what was made in the original. With a reboot or a remake, there will also be a limit to what the developers can do and change – which is why an original slot is always better.
Naturally, this doesn’t mean that all original slots will be perfect or even playable – but they have the potential to be more creative. Innovation leads to the invention of game-changing mechanics such as Megaways, Cluster Pays and Infinity Reels – what would the world of online slots look like now without these incredible games?
Whilst reboots aren’t all bad, slot developers should definitely focus on new games rather than the reboots or cloned sequels. Without the originality of some developers, the world would’ve missed out on crucial mechanics that are staples within the industry. The future of online slots is constantly growing and changing, but it’s doubtful that the success of reboots will last forever.
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