Northern Lights Gaming is a video slot studio based in Stockholm and Manchester.
Today, Northern Lights Gaming is a company that proudly makes exclusive video slots for the Games Global network, and we are delighted that we finally have the pleasure of introducing you to this unique studio. See our full interview with Northern Lights’ CEO Andy Goodale below.
Hi, no problem at all, my pleasure to talk! I’m Andy Goodale, CEO of Northern Lights Gaming. The story started at Northern Lights about five years ago, setting up in two locations, Stockholm (mainly being the tech side) and Manchester (mainly being the creative and QA side). Since those early days, we have grown to a team of 17(ish) ‘Northerners’ and our games are now available on most major platforms.
Firstly, we have an incredibly experienced management team, which means we can take on people who are really passionate about all different areas of game creation but don’t necessarily have that experience. This means there are lots of opportunities if you are the right person! Then – like most smaller studios – it’s also the person and how they will fit into the team dynamic. The one thing we all share is the goal to make the best slots around.
We are always looking to improve and always looking to learn. I’d like to keep the company on the smaller side to remain more agile and responsive to the market, with a vision of creating quality slots incorporating new ideas mixed with existing ideas that have our own twist.
I class myself as very lucky; I’ve been in the industry for nearly 30 years now, still absolutely love it and am still learning all the time. You can’t rest on your laurels in the gaming space otherwise you’ll just get lost in the mix.
There are multiple parts that I love about being in the industry: the first time you get to play a simulator of the game that has been in development with your logic guys – when you get a real feel for a game – I love that feeling. The first review of a full game, when everything comes together for the first time, this will give you a really good indication as to whether this game will work or not… there really are so many areas (too many to mention!) that I still enjoy – name-choosing is always fun as well!
I’ve seen huge change in this industry, probably more than most people. I started in land-based gaming with a well-known UK based company way back in 1995! Moving forward, we started Northern Lights five years ago. The space was hugely different but still with lots of room for content and new studios. Within a year or so the space was changing so quickly with new studios popping up every month. The numbers of games started to increase massively, and this has continued over the last 3 or 4 years.
“You can’t rest on your laurels in the gaming space otherwise you’ll just get lost in the mix.”
–Andy Goodale, Northern Lights Gaming
To be honest, I would have to think really hard about setting up a new studio in today’s market: it’s difficult, competition is fierce, and studios are now dropping out just as quickly as they start. You need to have a really good game plan to make it work, and a really good route to market – distribution is key, which is why it’s so great working with Games Global. The market always surprises me; it’s so full of content but I feel the market is crying out for innovation. I think you have to be really careful as a studio owner as to what content you do release. It’s easy to get it wrong – trust me, I’ve been there and got the t- shirt!
We actually started out on the old Open Bet platform. It wasn’t until a few years ago until that we got the opportunity to deliver our games on the Microgaming platform – that was a huge game-changer for us. The seamless transition to Games Global has been very smooth and had very little impact on our business operations or games roadmap. If anything, it’s spurred us on as we look towards a new era in the iGaming industry.
There are lots of perks… LOTS! The two biggest are the data and the distribution. The data that is produced on this platform is undoubtedly the best I’ve ever seen in the business – it’s just amazing. The process of how to get a game live is well documented – which is great – but like all large platforms, there are lots of studios competing for a certain number of game spaces so you have to hit your dates and be on your toes.
I also like the whole studio ethos at Games Global – the studios do talk to each other and are open to give help and advice. Although you are a standalone studio on the platform, you do feel like you are part of a bigger picture; I like that a lot. It can be easy to get the feeling that you are lost on big platforms and sometimes your voice isn’t heard but that’s not the experience we have had with Games Global.
This was fun right from the word go; this game came together really well. Normally game dev is full of bumps and hurdles that you need to get over, but everything from the concept artwork to the mechanic to the sounds was great – it was a joy to work on and we were really pleased with the result. It was very different from our other games and has done really well in its early stages of release. We’re very pleased to have worked on this Gigablox game.
From the first time I played the sim I really loved this mechanic, but knew it was going to be a difficult game to get across the line precisely because of this mechanic! Games need to have a kind of rhythm when you play them, and the more you interrupt that rhythm, the harder it is to get a game out that just works. We spent days on the timing of this mechanic to make sure that the player understood what was happening, but that it didn’t interrupt the flow of the game.
This mechanic is really unique: the layout that the player sees is also unique, and that can be both a positive and a negative, so again we took our time to make sure the player understands what they see on the screen as well as how the game plays. It’s still relatively early days on this game but I’d like to look at moving this mechanic on further.
That’s like choosing between your kids! Timelines I think – just for its innovation.
We have a game coming out every month until the end of the year, which is great! More Ultraways but with a very different profile – much softer, as Ultrayways is normally pretty high in volatility. A familiar game twist that people will have known and loved previously and something brand new again – we’ve got to keep up the pressure into the new year!
Then we have some absolute belters coming out from January onwards. Our quality is definitely improving with every game and I think we hit the sweet spot in Q1 2023. I would say Q1 next year is going to be really exciting!
It’s been a pleasure to talk to you and to all your readers. Stay safe and try to have a great last quarter in what has been a testing and difficult few years. And if you’d like to keep up to date with the latest coming out of Northern Lights Gaming, just keep an eye on our socials!
Angie is the Lead Editor at Casino Chick, specializing in helping women find their place in this male-dominated industry. She is a powerful leader with positive energy and a can-do attitude that inspires others to succeed. In her free time, she likes to go on walks, spend time with her husband, and dream about making pottery.