Whether you’re an online gamer or you prefer the traditional land-based casino, one thing stays an absolute: slots is one of the most popular games on the market. It’s a perennial classic; the quintessential game of chance and thrill, perfect for solo players or a group of supporters.
One of the best parts of playing slots is finding your favorite iconic version.
Because these games are so popular, developers would love to take advantage of this success by creating an equally popular sequel. They know that their games have shaped the industry and they want to keep that ball rolling at any cost. Making a sequel seems like a no-brainer, right?
Here’s the challenge: making a great sequel is much more difficult than creating an original slot. When you’re developing a brand-new slot idea, there’s no pre-conceived notions of what the game’s going to be like. Players are open to anything: the crazier the better.
A sequel, on the other hand, is a whole different beast: because of the success of the original game, players have built expectations that the sequel must live up to.
It’s not surprising that there are a ton of steps that take place in the development process of a slot game, whether original or sequel. It’s that extra effort that makes the game stand out and go down in history.
An interesting way to think about creating a slot sequel is to think in terms of generations: as we learn from the mistakes of our parents, slot developers can learn from the mistakes in original games and redeem themselves in the sequel.
It’s the easiest way to ensure a sequel’s success: simply fix the mistakes in the original game.
A great example is Dead or Alive, by Net Entertainment. The original Dead or Alive is a totally respectable game! Despite being almost 13 years old, fans still play today: that’s what we call longevity. Unfortunately, the game has a drawback: the maximum win just isn’t high enough to keep modern audience attention.
Dead or Alive 2, the slot sequel, improved this in a huge way: instead of a maximum win of 12,000x stake, the new max win is 111,111x stake. It also feels somehow lucky to have so many ones in a row—it’s a beautiful round number without even having to be round.
Another bonus (pardon our pun) is that other games took this as inspiration: Jammin’ Jar 2, Narcos Mexico, and Gemix 2 all followed suit and wildly raised that max win.
A slot sequel is a great opportunity for improvement on a theme, not just variation. Poor design, graphics, low RTP, or a lack of features all hinder the playability or just attraction to a game. Correcting these issues shows respect to the player and we really appreciate that.
We had to mention this first: the most important part of a sequel is that it’s properly aligned with the original slot. This doesn’t mean that it’s identical—on the contrary, we require that any new slot game comes with new graphics, bonuses, and surprises. An ordinary sequel endeavors to copy the original game; a great sequel introduces new features and ideas while giving us that familiar play and tone of the original.
One of the first examples that comes to mind is Money Train 2 from major developer Relax Gaming. We loved the Wild West setting and the vague criminal undertones that put the first Money Train slot game ahead of the pack.
While relax doesn’t generally produce sequels, we’re glad they took the gamble (hah) with this one: there was definitely more to the story and we wanted to explore it.
Money Train 2 proved to be just what the market wanted: it was one of the best slots of the year in 2020. This is especially significant because in 2020, a huge number of original slots and sequels came online to serve the unique needs of players during the pandemic. Money Train 2 kept the Wild West tone but added a cool Steampunk twist. It was the perfect balance of originality and nostalgia.
Another factor to consider is that because Money Train 2 was so popular, it led to spin-off games of its own. Money Cart and Money Cart 2 debuted to surprising critical acclaim.
This just goes to show that if you create a good sequel, you could potentially have a slot franchise on your hands.
Revolutionary mechanics work hand in hand with other game improvements to make a slot sequel worth playing. In fact, adding a new mechanic used to be the only real way to differentiate a sequel from its parent product. Examples such as Gonzo’s Quest Megaways, Rainbow Riches Megaways, and Fishin’ Frenzy Megaways show us just how much added ways to win enhance an experience.
Against the backdrop of the global pandemic, this would change. In 2020, the new influx of players started demanding more variation: simply adding Megaways wasn’t enough anymore.
In some ways, Hypernova Megaways thus represents the end of an era. It’s an undeniable classic, but its sequels are even cooler. Hypernova Radial Reels and Hypernova Infinity Reals really upped the ante with distinct mechanics from the original.
In Hypernova Radial Reels, the ReelPlay developers created a unique scenario: no traditional paylines, and instead, a wheel with 12 special paylines.
Hypernova Infinity Reels features the Infinity Reels mechanic, to give players unlimited opportunities to use as many paylines and reels they want. This really freshened up the sequel and ensured a bright future.
To make a truly memorable sequel, designers need to walk a careful line of keeping what we love while adding new features. We look forward to the release of a ton of new, anticipated games: including a new variation of Age of the Gods. We hope they’ll take our advice and make it worth the play!