Unveiling Immortality: Terence Igesund Talks Immortal Romance 2

Unveiling Immortality: Terence Igesund Talks Immortal Romance 2

In the ever-evolving world of online gaming, few titles have captured the imagination of players like Immortal Romance. Released over a decade ago, this iconic slot game has not only stood the test of time but has also set a high standard for storytelling and innovation in the industry. Today, we sit down with Terence Igesund, the Executive Producer at Stormcraft Studios, to discuss the highly anticipated sequel, Immortal Romance 2.

As the mastermind behind the enduring success of the original, Terence shares his insights on the creation of the sequel, the challenges of living up to the legacy of a beloved game, and the future of storytelling in slot games. With a blend of nostalgia and fresh excitement, Immortal Romance 2 promises to offer both longtime fans and newcomers a rich, immersive experience. Join us as we delve into the creative process, the evolution of characters, and the innovative features that aim to redefine what players expect from a top-tier slot game.

Bigwinboard (Daniel): Reflecting on the fact that it has been 13 years since the release of the original Immortal Romance slot is astonishing. Observing its enduring popularity and appeal today is truly remarkable. Many players, including myself, regard it as one of the most iconic slots ever to be released. Looking back, how do you feel about its lasting impact and significance?

Firstly, just wanted to say it’s great to be chatting with you again (you can find our previous IR interview with Terence here) and thank you for the opportunity to engage with Bigwinboard and your followers. I know Immortal Romance holds a special place in your heart as you have mentioned before how that iconic big win video was a game changer for you. I completely agree with you how remarkable it is that Immortal Romance has stood the test of time, consistently maintaining its charm and appeal over the past 13 years. While we had high hopes that the game would resonate with players, the extent to which it became such a classic is something we did not anticipate. I am very proud of the game’s enduring success, which is a testament to the level of entertainment & creativity that we poured into the creation of the game all those years ago.

‘The prospect of seeing our game brands on the big screen or stage or as part of a streaming series, would be a dream come true for me personally.’

Bigwinboard (Daniel): I’ve always believed that if any online slot were to inspire a movie, Immortal Romance would be the prime candidate. Have representatives from the video game or movie industry ever approached you about such a project?

For as long as I can remember, I’ve fantasized about flipping the script on the normal brand licensing approach. Instead of adapting existing entertainment properties into slot games, why not transform an original slot concept into a movie or TV series? Whenever I’m visualizing a new game concept, it unfolds in my mind like a cinematic sequence, which can easily be adapted into various storytelling formats—be it comics, graphic novels, or even screenplays. The lyrics that I have written for the soundtracks of the Immortal and Thunderstruck game series, all have strong narratives that tell a visually evocative story which adds to the entertainment value of the experience.  The prospect of seeing our game brands on the big screen or stage or as part of a streaming series, would be a dream come true for me personally.

Bigwinboard (Daniel): We were thrilled to hear the announcement of a sequel, and now that we have a release date, the excitement is even greater! When did the idea of creating a follow-up first occur to you, and what was the journey like from that initial thought to the final outcome?

I had always intended for Immortal to be a series of games, which is why I left Sarah’s narrative on such an open ended cliffhanger. The plan was to wait for the game’s performance to drop to a certain level, before kicking off the sequel project. As you well know, Immortal Romance continued to live up to its name and never showed any signs of dying off. This gave me the time needed to focus of building the new Stormcraft team and subsequently rebooting the Thunderstruck franchise.

I had the Immortal character narratives ready to go for years. I knew exactly what dramatic twists I wanted to introduce to the storyline that would be highly entertaining. Having a clear vision helped expedite the writing and composition of the new soundtrack as well as the creation of the cinematic win animations. The real challenge was deciding on the game mechanics. We needed to ensure that the game features were on trend, and considering how quicky trends change in the online industry, this proved to be a moving target which forced us to pivot several times on the game features. We are pleased with where we eventually landed, and the game demo at the ICE tradeshow in London was very positively received by operators and the streamer community.

Bigwinboard (Daniel): The original Immortal Romance boasts a loyal fan base. Did you feel any pressure to meet their expectations without disappointing them and is this something you worry about?

Absolutely Daniel! The pressure and expectation to successfully deliver on the sequel to such a popular brand has been quite overwhelming at times to be completely honest. We knew that there would be fans out there that would be disappointed by whatever we delivered, because how dare we attempt to create a sequel to their favourite game, right?  Throughout the creation process we leaned into our core values of craftsmanship and entertainment, knowing that our player-centric approach would deliver an awesome user experience. We hope that players see and appreciate all the love and consideration that has gone into every aspect of this game and are open to falling in love all over again with the sequel.

‘I will admit that each of the four characters carry a small piece of me within each of their personalities, narratives, and songs.’

Bigwinboard (Daniel): Seeing the visuals and the characters making a comeback in new settings, I experienced a wave of sentimentality, given my deep emotional connection to the brand and my history of extensively playing it over the years. Do you share any of these feelings?

Immortal Romance holds a very special place in my heart Daniel. While there is certainly a sense of sentimentality when I think back to days spent conceptualizing the original game, what I am more emotionally invested in currently is the future story arcs of the characters. As their creator I will admit that each of the four characters carry a small piece of me within each of their personalities, narratives, and songs. I can’t wait to embark on the journey of disclosure, where we reveal all the answers to the mysteries we built into the mythology of the game franchise.

Immortal Romance 2 – base game

Bigwinboard (Daniel): From a storytelling point of view, was there any particular message you wanted to explore in this continuation?

Wow Daniel, what a deeply insightful question. Thank you for asking the question and giving me the opportunity to share some of the archetypal themes that I was exploring during the creation process.

Those that know me will attest to the fact that I am the silent contemplative personality type and my world view is certainly not mainstream, which invariably seeps into the DNA of the game brands I conceive. The overarching themes that were explored throughout the game relate to the human experiences of ambition; betrayal; regret and inadequacy for example. Drama aside, the strongest underlying message speaks to the re-emergence of the divine feminine through intentional reconnection with the power of the natural world. I believe these themes are most evident in the new soundtrack we created for the game, so listen carefully to the lyrics of each of the songs to get more insight into the themes being explored. I will go into the music in more detail later in the interview.

‘We prefer to steer away from sensationalism and focus is on creating entertaining and sustainable gaming experiences.’

Bigwinboard (Daniel): Looking at some of the numbers, you’ve kept the 5×3 layout and 243 ways to win but only slightly increased the max from 12500x to 15000x. What influenced your decision not to go crazy with the max like many providers tend to do today?

We are well aware of the volatility trends within our industry. Stormcraft however prefer crafting games that are well balanced mathematically and designed with longevity in mind, that will not rapidly exhaust a player’s credit balance. We prefer to steer away from sensationalism and focus is on creating entertaining and sustainable gaming experiences.

Immortal Romance 2 – Wild Desire feature in action

Bigwinboard (Daniel): Could you outline the major differences between the sequel and the original in terms of gameplay and mechanics?

A lot of time was spent debating what we envisioned the player experience to be. We wanted there to be familiarity as well as innovation, a feeling of confidence as well as curiosity to explore all the features in the game. So, with that in mind we chose to keep to the original’s 243 Ways but introduce Rolling Reels throughout the entire game, which is closely coupled to all the new Wild multiplier features and functionality that we have introduced.

Based on industry feedback, we decided to commit the time and effort into once again creating unique Free Spins feature mechanics for each of the 4 characters, enhanced with their own original soundtrack. As per the original game, each of the Free Spins differs in volatility, but this time all the features are available to play from the first trigger with no unlocking required. Amber’s feature is an extension of base game’s mechanics with multipliers that increase by 3x per rolling win. Troy has a Locking Wild which expands and evolves into multipliers during consecutive rolling wins. Michael feature can randomly synchronize up to 4 reels at a time. Finally, Sarah has stacked sticky mystery symbols with a multiplier trail above the reels.

We’ve introduced four character-themed Jackpots into the base game which will grow and improve through a novel gem collection mechanism. The jackpot wheel bonus can be triggered randomly on any gem collection event, where players can win 1 of the 4 Jackpots or trigger the famous Wild Desire feature.

Speaking of the Wild Desire, we knew this feature needed to be next level so we elevated the experience to a thrilling 1024 Ways to win. But that’s not all. One of the consistent requests we saw online was for a multiplier to be added to Wild Desire… so we did it! This multiplier was built into the base game as a collection device which starts at 1x and can be increased up to 3x. Another change we introduced to Wild Desire was the way it was triggered. Originally it was completely random, which gave players zero indication of the hit rate of the feature. Wild Desire is now a reel symbol driven event, requiring a mouthwatering Blood Drop symbol to land on reels two and four. We also increased the max win potential in the feature from 12,000x to 15,000x! So, as you can see there was a lot of work and engineering that went into this feature.

‘We knew how important it was for us to really nail the soundtrack to the sequel as the original game soundtrack had set such a high bar of expectation.’

Bigwinboard (Daniel): It seems like your goal wasn’t solely to satisfy the core fan base but also to make a significant leap forward in attracting a new audience, correct?

I would not say we attempted a significant leap forward, but rather made informed decisions based on user feedback trends and industry reports about what appeals to the next generation of players. We introduced gamification into the game through the Bloodline feature mechanic below the reels, which tracks your number of spins and rewards you at certain spin milestones along your journey with additional musical and visual themes to customise your gaming experience. We also snuck a Wild Desire purchase unlock in there as well at 1000 spins. Interestingly enough this mechanic got the most attention from operators and streamers during our game demo at ICE, which proved its relevance and success. 

Immortal Romance 2 – Bloodline progress

Bigwinboard (Daniel): The soundtrack significantly contributed to the success of the original release, still giving me goosebumps when I hear it today. What details can you share about the sequel’s soundtrack? Did you also compose it yourself, as with the original’s soundtrack?

That’s very encouraging to hear that the original soundtrack still resonates so strongly with you Daniel. Music creation and appreciation for the most part is a deeply personal thing which people connect with on an emotional level. We knew how important it was for us to really nail the soundtrack to the sequel as the original game soundtrack had set such a high bar of expectation.

To clarify, I am not a musician so did not compose the music, but I did set the vision and music direction for our sound designers, before sitting down to write the lyrics for songs. One of my favourite parts of the collaboration process is listening to the instrumental demo tracks and figuring out how my lyrics could work in the verse and chorus structure. Sometimes everything clicks together perfectly and sometimes we need to do a lot of reworks.

Amber’s new song Turn the Tide probably took the longest to sign off and we went through many iterations until I was happy. The song evolved into an awesome anthem of self-empowerment, a reminder of the inner strength and resilience that vibrates within all of us. The other character’s songs took on a far darker tone, exploring the shadow side of the human psyche. Troy’s song Monster is all about the rebellious defiance he uses to mask his painful inadequacies. Michael’s song Forever explores the feelings of heartbreak associated with betrayal, while Sarah sings about the injustice of emotional rejection in her song Sacrifice. So, lots of emotional drama which all of us have felt at some point in our lives and can relate to right?

Also just wanted to confirm that the soundtrack for Immortal Romance 2 will be added to Stormcraft’s Spotify account as well as all other major music streaming sites, before the global launch. You can also find the original Immortal Romance album there as well as the Thunderstruck soundtracks, so go check them out.

Bigwinboard (Daniel): The anticipation surrounding this release is immense, and I’m eagerly looking forward to playing it myself! To conclude, I want to seize this moment to congratulate you on 13 years of the Immortal Romance brand’s success. You are indeed an industry legend!

Thank you Daniel, that is very generous of you. I really appreciate your feedback and support. I hope that you’ll find as much enjoyment playing Immortal Romance 2 as you did the original.

Immortal Romance 2 is set to be released on the 28th of May, 2024 across all Games Global casinos.

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