Slots and electronic gaming

Baccarat’s new spin

Written by The Tiger

This article first appeared in the Jul/Aug 2016 issue of WGM.

Among the most eye-catching new products on display at G2E Asia this year were Aristocrat’s innovative Multiline Baccarat and Baccarat 88 slots, which cleverly incorporates Macau’s most beloved table game into a traditional slot machine. WGM spoke with one of the game’s developers – Senior Director of New Game Concepts at Aristocrat, John Daley – about this exciting release.

WGM: Can you tell us a bit about the concept behind Aristocrat’s new Multiline Baccarat and Baccarat 88 slot games?
John Daley: Everyone knows there is a vast amount of baccarat play in Asia; however, baccarat is a pretty slow game without a lot of excitement. So we conceived the idea of bringing baccarat to slot machines. It was our belief that by bringing the game into the slot space, we could add speed of play and more excitement for the players. With these first two games we have done just that. The player now has many exciting features, including banker and player progressives and a large mystery jackpot.

WGM: Where did you begin when it came to putting the concept into practice? Can you run us through some of the stages of development and what was required?
JD: Because we were bringing a table game into the slot world, we knew it was important to have both baccarat and slot experts on the team to ensure we incorporated the important features of both types of games. Once we had those experts assembled, we carefully analyzed what aspects of baccarat players love and what we could do to keep those features, while also adding some new features that would appeal to those players. After a number of brainstorming sessions, we narrowed the initial ideas down to the best of them. Once we had games to target, we built the concepts out to a point where we could get a better feel for how they played. From there we chose the ones we felt were the best to start with. We are very excited about the end results.

WGM: What were the main challenges in combining such a popular table game into a slot?
JD: Trying to recreate the feel of table play into a slot machine is always a challenge because you want the table game player to feel comfortable with how the game plays on the slot machine. That is why we were so careful and deliberate about the design process, utilizing the expertize of both table and slot experts.

WGM: In terms of graphics and design, what were the main themes you wanted to utilize to appeal to the Asian market?
JD: This game was tailor-made to the Asian market. We were very careful in our design process to ensure an enjoyable player experience. Our goal was to make the game feel fun and exciting and to provide a sense of the Aristocrat brand that players already love.

WGM: Can you also tell us a bit about the Arc cabinet being used to house Multiline Baccarat and Baccarat 88? It looks like a perfect cabinet for these games.
JD: The Arc Single cabinet is a cutting-edge piece of hardware. It incorporates industry-leading ergonomic design, upgraded graphics capabilities and 5.1 stereo surround sound to provide a comfortable and engaging gaming experience. Field usage worldwide has proven that players respond positively to this cabinet. The design of the Arc cabinet is perfect for the layout and display of our baccarat games and its rich colors and easy-to-use interfaces create a player-friendly gaming experience.

WGM: In regards to game play itself, can you explain a bit about the main features of the games and what players can expect?
JD: Multiline Baccarat allows players to play 239 hands of baccarat at the same time while giving them the fun and excitement of being able to enter two different bonus pay tables. Within one of the bonus pay tables, the player can be awarded wheel spins where they receive either credit prizes or a progressive jackpot. Baccarat 88 provides the player the opportunity to play three hands of baccarat at the same time while being able to earn multipliers up to 88x on their winning hands.

WGM: What has feedback been like so far on Multiline Baccarat and Baccarat 88?
JD: Our operator partners have been giving us excellent feedback. The game has been generating a great deal of excitement and anticipation to get these titles on casino floors. That is really important to us. Everything we do, we do for our customers and when they succeed, we succeed. We are pleased to know that we have provided another great game for our operator partners that their players will enjoy.

WGM: When can we expect to see these games on casino floors and will it be mainly in Asia or a global release?
JD: We expect to start placing games on floors around September of this year. Our initial release will be within Asia, though we plan to see what interest there may be to release the game to other markets around the globe later on.

WGM: In more general terms, how important do you see the Asian market becoming for Aristocrat in the future and do you see the slots market expanding in Macau as mass market becomes increasingly important?
JD: The Asian market is a very important market for Aristocrat. We spend considerable effort in developing games for this market and will continue to do so. Games like our video baccarat are a great example of this and we are confident these games will be very appealing to mass market players.