To celebrate the nationwide roll-out of BATTLESHIP™ Team Compete to Win slots, we sat down with the game designers behind our latest competitive team slot experience to find out more about the making of the game.
One WMS Facebook fan asks: How long did it take to create this game, from initial concept approval to the first units going live?
This game was huge – the Community Gaming®, Team Compete to Win, Sensory Immersion, Experience Design and other technologies combined for the first time, plus two Video Reel and two Mechanical Transmissive Reels® technology base themes that could also run as standalone games for our international customers. From start to finish, it took about 18 months.
How many people worked on this game, beginning to end?
This is difficult to quantify, since so many people had their hands in some aspect of the BATTLESHIP themed slot. We would guess anywhere from 50 – 75 people across departments at WMS.
Another fan asks: Is there any concept or prototype art that didn’t make it into the game you could share?
We went through many iterations until the game was just right. One was each player’s top screens. We wanted an electronic scorecard - a way to keep track of how many ships your team hit and sank - but we didn’t want to draw attention away from the main action on the big screens. Here’s a version of the art we had running in the game for a long time before we ultimately pulled it and went with something far simpler. All the info is duplicated on the big screens, and we figured what the player really needed to know was where they stood – how many ships their team sunk, and how many ships of theirs were sunk.
When you first sit down at BATTLESHIP, here’s what you see in the center overhead monitor:
At various times, this switches to an animated movie we created to further advertise the game (complete with Ride of the Valkyries booming from the speakers). Initially, we wanted to have that movie span the side screens as well, which is illustrated in these concepts:
You can check out a video of our initial animated movie storyboards that were used to pitch how we thought the attract sequence should look here:
The next question was tweeted @WMSGamingNews: Do players find “competing” the best part of the game?
In market and player testing the game, we found players were the most vocal and had the most fun interacting during the competition segment.
How many bonuses are in the game?
In the communal Team Compete to Win game, there are three bonuses – Bomber’s Run, Find and Conquer, and Free Spin Victory. There are four BATTLESHIP base themes as well, each with a unique bonus round: the Commanding Officer® (5-Reel Video) theme features a picking bonus that is reminiscent of the board game; the Periscope Pays® (5-Reel Video) theme includes a WILD feature and a Free Spins Bonus; and the Grand Armada® and The Brigade® themes (5x4-Mechanicals) feature Free Spins Bonuses and features.
Is any bonus more volatile than the others?
We don’t want to give away too much - all we’ll say is, Free Spin Victory is the community bonus you want to get.
Free Spins Victory communal bonus
Was there a bonus or feature from the BATTLESHIP board game that you wanted to get into the slot game, but it didn’t make it?
Yes, we’re sure you’ll see unused game play features in future BATTLESHIP games. We had an entire bonus that we ended up cutting.
What part of the game was most fun or rewarding to pull together?
We had the most fun whenever sticking closely to the feel of the classic board game. In the Find and Conquer Bonus, players on each team take turns placing ships. We love selecting a ship and dragging it to wherever we want on the board – it’s just like the board game!
What was the biggest challenge for the design team in the making of this game?
Deadlines are always a challenge. If we had another month on the game, we’d go back and polish even further.
Are there any “easter eggs” or hidden content that players should look for?
If you listen closely, you can sometimes hear ambient sounds coming from the surround sound gaming chair.
What part of the game do you think players will most enjoy?
Hopefully, all of it! But we think the team competition [Team Compete to Win bonus rounds] really bumps up the stakes. As with [another WMS Team Compete to Win theme] the Pirate Battle® game, it really matters which team you’re on.
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