Katya Machuganova, Silverback: “We are known for introducing innovative gameplay features that go beyond traditional slot mechanics”

Katya Machuganova, Product Owner at Silverback.
Katya Machuganova, Product Owner at Silverback.

Katya Machuganova, product owner at Silverback, shares her insight on why she thinks Silverback Gaming titles stand out and the company’s plans for the rest of the year.

Exclusive interview.- Focus Gaming News sat down with Katya Machuganova, product owner at Silverback, who not only explained her day-to-day job entails but also revealed Silverback’s plans for the rest of 2023 and shared details about their new game, Beverly Wilds and why their titles are so special and different from the others. 

Please can you tell me your name and job title and a little about what your day-to-day job entails?

My name is Katya Machuganova, and I hold the role of product owner at Silverback. In my position, I actively collaborate across various departments within the games team. Serving as the voice of our customers, my primary focus is to identify areas for improvement and devise innovative features that enhance the user experience.

As a product owner, I am responsible for creating game concepts, overseeing the entire development process, from conception to live release, and even conducting post-release monitoring. I work closely with my team, ensuring that our games meet the highest standards of quality and user satisfaction.

By constantly striving for excellence and leveraging user feedback, I drive our efforts towards delivering exceptional gaming experiences that captivate and delight our players.

At Silverback, we are committed to pushing the boundaries of innovation, and I am honoured to contribute to our mission by shaping and guiding our game development endeavours.

What do you think makes Silverback Gaming titles stand out in the crowd?

The thematic landscape of slot games has intricately paralleled the dynamic evolution of societal interests and the progressive march of technological advancements. We understand the importance of staying ahead of societal interests and trends.

We excel in developing slot games with innovative and captivating themes by exploring a diverse range of topics. What’s more, we try to create a narrative arc within our slot games, to provide a sense of progression and purpose beyond mere spinning reels.

Engaging storylines add an extra layer of excitement and anticipation. Not to mention, we place great emphasis on high-quality graphics and visual effects. We leverage the latest advancements in technology to create visually stunning games that are a treat for the eyes.

From meticulously designed symbols and animations to beautifully rendered backgrounds, the attention to detail enhances the overall gaming experience. On top of that, we add high-quality sound design, including ambient soundscapes, captivating music and dynamic audio effects. The audio elements complement the visual aspects, further enhancing the overall atmosphere and immersion.

We are known for introducing innovative gameplay features that go beyond traditional slot mechanics. These unique features add an extra dimension of excitement and unpredictability to the gameplay, making each spin feel fresh and rewarding.

“To sum up, we stand out in the crowded slot market by combining unique thematic concepts, engaging storylines, cutting-edge graphics, innovative gameplay features, high-quality sound design and mobile optimization.”

Katya Machuganova, Product Owner at Silverback.

These factors contribute to an immersive and captivating gaming experience that keeps players coming back for more.

Your new game, Beverly Wilds, has a VERY distinct graphic style. What made you choose that theme?

Choosing a distinct graphic style helps the game to have a unique visual identity that sets it apart from other titles. As you know, we just entered the US market, which is very different in comparison to the European market. We wanted to consider the preferences and interests of our new target audience when selecting the theme and the graphical style. Of course, we conducted market research and analysis to choose a theme that has the potential to resonate with our intended players. 

Beverly Wilds takes you to Los Angeles, where the route to big wins begins. Players can experience the glamour of the 80s, a decade of excess and extravagance. During that time, Los Angeles was home to music, videotapes, cassette players, extravagant clothes with shoulder pads, big hair, mullets and glitter. However, in the 1980s in Los Angeles, a bank was being robbed every hour of every day. It was known as the “Bank Robbery Capital of the World”.

With over six million vehicles and more than 1,000 miles of freeways to roam, LA provided an ideal landscape for bank robberies. By targeting banks near freeway onramps, a robber could quickly escape and blend into a different police jurisdiction before law enforcement arrived. These infamous thieves stole jewellery, music players, money, cars, and anything they could get their hands on. They even attempted to crack safe deposit boxes, prompting the police to intervene! This concept sparked the idea for our game.

We had a captivating theme and an engaging storyline, which allowed us unlimited opportunities to create the best high-quality graphics and visual effects. The result can be seen in the game. We also placed a strong emphasis on high-quality sound design.

As I mentioned earlier, Los Angeles was a hub for music at that time. We wanted to incorporate a specific musical style into the game – Synthwave, also known as Retrowave or Outrun. Beverly Wilds is our first Synthwave game, combining synthesizer melodies inspired by Sci-Fi  films (such as “New York 1997” and “Robocop”) and iconic series (like “Knight Rider” and “Miami Vice”) from the 80s, all related to the New Wave music genre (featuring bands like Depeche mode and The Cure). The result achieved by our designers perfectly reflects this vision. 

Our research has shown that similar games were already popular with players, such as Hotline and Hotline 2, Neon Rush Splitz, and Detective Wilder, among others. We drew inspiration from video games like Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, Cyberpunk, Beat Cop, Neon Drive, and movies like Miami Vice, Knight Rider, Beverly Hills Cop, and the short film Kung Fury. I still remember the epic appearance of David Hasselhoff in “The Survivor” from Kung Fury. As you can see, we put a lot of emotion and dedication into everything we do, and that is why the results are so impressive. 

Can you tell us about the base game and let us know about any key features players should be excited about?

“Beverly Wilds” is an exhilarating slot game featuring five reels and three rows, offering 20 fixed paylines. With a medium volatility level and favourable RTP of 95.51%, players can anticipate an engaging and rewarding experience. 

In the base game, players will encounter the excitement of random sticky wilds represented by police cars. These thrilling high-speed pursuits on the reels offer additional chances to win. Periodically, the game rewards players with 2 to 10 random Police car sticky wild symbols. These sticky wilds not only keep you safe but also substitute for all symbols, except the Bonus symbol, maximizing opportunities to create winning combinations.

The game’s highlight is the Bonus Wheel, triggered by landing three bonus symbols. Players have the opportunity to spin their luck with the safe-deposit bonus wheel box, which awards an exclusive combination of up to 35 free spins accompanied by guaranteed multipliers of up to x10. The bonus round intensifies the gameplay in Beverly Wilds, delivering the ultimate thrill.

During the free spins feature, the heat rises in Beverly as players aim for the coveted bonus rewards. It is worth noting that additional free spins can be retriggered by landing free spin symbols, granting an extra +2 free spins for each symbol obtained. Furthermore, the multiplier remains active and guaranteed throughout the entire duration of the feature, amplifying the potential for substantial wins.

Players should prepare themselves for an immersive and action-packed adventure in “Beverly Wilds,” where random sticky wilds, free spins, and guaranteed multipliers create an electrifying gaming experience. 

Are you using any new mechanics for the first time in Beverly Wilds?

Indeed, we are thrilled to introduce our very own variation of the popular sticky wild mechanics. In traditional sticky wilds, wild symbols typically vanish with each subsequent spin of the reels. However, in our unique implementation, aptly named “sticky,” these wilds manifest randomly and affix themselves to specific symbols on the reels, transforming them into wilds. It is important to note that our sticky wilds disappear with each subsequent reel spin, enhancing the dynamic gameplay experience.

“In our upcoming game, Beverly Wilds, we guarantee the presence of sticky wilds during the free spins feature. With each free spin, players can benefit from the delightful appearance of sticky wilds, adding an extra layer of excitement and potential winning combinations.”

Katya Machuganova, Product Owner at Silverback.

By infusing our own twist into the conventional sticky wild mechanics, we aim to provide players with an innovative and engaging gameplay experience. Stay tuned for more details on Beverly Wilds and the thrilling possibilities that await!

What influences you when you are deciding what kind of RTP and hit frequency a new game should carry?

When aiming to create a high-risk, high-reward experience, the RTP may be set at a lower value, accompanied by less frequent but significant payouts. This approach heightens the thrill and anticipation for players who seek more substantial rewards in exchange for the inherent risk involved.

Conversely, for games designed to cater to casual players, a higher RTP is typically employed. By offering more frequent but comparatively smaller wins, the game maintains player engagement and enjoyment. This approach provides a sense of consistent progress and satisfaction, catering to the preferences of the target audience.

The theme and mechanics of the game also play a significant role in determining the desired RTP and hit frequency. For instance, games featuring complex bonus features or progressive jackpots may opt for a lower base game RTP. This compensates for the potential for larger winnings during bonus rounds or jackpot events, creating a balanced and captivating gameplay experience.

Maintaining an appropriate balance between RTP and hit frequency is crucial for player engagement and satisfaction. Games that strike this balance effectively tend to keep players engrossed and entertained. If the RTP and hit frequency are set too low, players may become frustrated or disinterested due to infrequent wins. Conversely, excessively high RTP and hit frequency may diminish the excitement and challenge, leading to a loss of engagement over time.

By carefully considering the design goal, target audience, jurisdictional requirements, and gameplay elements, developers can determine the optimal RTP and hit frequency for a game. Striving for a harmonious balance ensures an enjoyable, immersive, and rewarding experience for players, ultimately contributing to the game’s success.

Can you tell us anything about Silverback’s plans for the rest of 2023?

We are pleased to announce the upcoming release of four new games on pennplaycasino.com. These titles include Thundergod Wilds, Norse Legend Warriors, Leprechaun Respins, and Mega Fishing Deluxe. Notably, Mega Fishing Deluxe introduces our trademarked in-house game mechanics, called “ClockWays”. 

In anticipation of the football season starting in September, we have developed Super Sport Spins, a thrilling sports game that will surely captivate enthusiasts. Additionally, for those who cherish the nostalgia of old-school video games, we have created Arcadia Retro, a slot game that pays homage to the classics. 

Furthermore, we are thrilled to present our first series of progressive slots, catering to players seeking the allure of escalating jackpots. This collection will soon hit the market, offering enhanced excitement and anticipation.

As part of our roadmap, we are diligently working on our forthcoming Japanese-themed game, Daruma’s Wealth, which promises an immersive gaming experience rooted in captivating Japanese culture. In addition, we are excited to introduce a European Roulette game as our second table game, expanding our diverse range of offerings.

Building upon the success of our original game, Mystery Stacks, we are delighted to unveil two new editions: Mystery Stacks Tropico for the US market and Mystery Stacks Deluxe, tailored specifically for Relax. These additions bring fresh and engaging gameplay features to our esteemed players. 

Moreover, our upcoming release, Lumberjack’s Luck, will revolutionize the gaming landscape with its unique features. Prepare to encounter the exhilarating flying Axe Booster Symbol, the enticing Matching Multiplier feature, and an additional row dedicated to a bonus game solely focused on wild multipliers. This expansion adds 15 additional paylines for free, further enhancing the potential for substantial wins.

Our commitment to innovation and growth is evident as we continue to expand our team with new talented members, propelling us forward in the industry. By leveraging the latest technologies, we are streamlining our processes and accelerating development, ensuring swift delivery of our exceptional games.

“Our commitment to innovation and growth is evident as we continue to expand our team with new talented members, propelling us forward in the industry.”

Katya Machuganova, Product Owner at Silverback.

It is our primary objective to bring as many captivating titles to the market as possible. We are driven by the desire to make these games readily available to players, while also establishing a diverse portfolio of top-quality online casino games.

Please stay tuned for further updates as we unveil more exciting developments on the horizon.

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