Game designer Jeremy Hornik provides a behind-the-scenes look at Super Team, WMS Gaming’s new ground-breaking slot concept



In Super Team, the latest slot machine from WMS Gaming, players create a hero who journeys with them through bonuses each time they log in to the game. Their hero joins two teams of fifteen total unique heroes to travel through three unique bonuses. Players accumulate Hero Points to unlock additional bonuses in this slot adventure designed for players seeking continual random bonus action.

Fifteen years in the making, Super Team slot has raised the collective bar when it comes to gaming machine personalization and customization by allowing players to tailor their own super hero and select their base game volatility. The game also features a persistence-generating online component that allows players to edit and save their hero between casino visits.

Super Team is the vision of Jeremy Hornik, senior principal game designer of WMS Gaming’s Slot Force 5, who recently took some time to provide details on how the game came about and some of its more unique features.


Jeremy Hornik

HOW LONG DID YOU WORK ON SUPER TEAM SLOTS?
HORNIK: Believe it or not, we’ve been working on Super Team for about fifteen years. We always loved the idea of dynamically generated power-ups for better wins, but the game logic was more than the technology could handle. The new motherboard [CPU-NXT3] and video card let us finally make Super Team the way we wanted to. When we got that, we knew it was time for Super Team to finally put on its cape and fly.

HOW MANY PEOPLE TOTAL WERE INVOLVED WITH SUPER TEAM SLOTS?
HORNIK: Would you believe ninety-nine? I can hardly believe it myself. But between all the painters, riggers, animators, mathematicians, engineers, sign builders, musicians, play testers, business people, suit-stitchers, cape wranglers, mad scientists, and super villains, we get to ninety-nine. Add the guy who puts the light on top of the cabinet, and it’s an even hundred.

IS THIS GAME AIMED AT A YOUNGER GENERATION OF PLAYERS, OR DO YOU EXPECT THIS TO BE JUST AS POPULAR WITH MORE MATURE PLAYERS?
HORNIK:I think both older and younger players will relate to the idea of a powerful friend who can rescue you from a bad spin. For us, these costumed heroes use their powers for spinning up great wins. I’ve often wished someone would just fly down out of the sky and give me a progressive. Well, now Mr. Maximum is here to do just that.

It’s funny, but I don’t think of heroes as just for kids. Many comic heroes are in their 70s at this point, and have been around as long as the Social Security they’re collecting.

THE SUPER TEAM SLOT SEEMS TO BE A VERY INVOLVED SLOT GAME-HOW MANY TOTAL BONUS AND FEATURE ROUNDS EXIST?
HORNIK:It seems like a lot, but there are just two parts of Super Team: Heroes and Bonus Games. Heroes do special things to the reels, like adding wilds in different ways, giving multipliers, or even awarding progressives. Bonus Games play out full special bonuses with your Personal Hero as the star. There are three different Bonus Games, and 15 different Heroes, and they all combine in a lot of different ways. So in one way there are two things that happen, and in another, there are thousands.

PLEASE DESCRIBE SOME OF THESE BONUS GAMES… HOW THEY ARE UNIQUE?
HORNIK:I like that you can pick which unlocked bonus round you want to play, because our bonus rounds are quite different. The Fortress Bonus gives your hero half a minute to fly through an enemy fortress. Your hero flies through guns while being awarded credit prizes, more time and speedups, and you can use the game buttons to steer up and down.

Or people might prefer the Robot Fight Free Spins. On every win in this bonus, your Personal Hero attacks the robot. Destroy a robot for a prize, and the free spins keep going as another robot appears. They’ll go on as long as your hero keeps defeating those robots. The heroes Expanda and The Big Punch appear in this bonus… when they appear together, you can really get some good wins going.

HOW OFTEN CAN PLAYERS EXPECT TO SEE A FEATURE TRIGGER?
HORNIK: As a player, you get to decide the relative frequency of heroes. We have the heroes divided into two teams, and you pick the one you’d like to play with. Team Emerald comes down more often on average than Team Ruby, but Team Ruby pays larger amounts on average than Team Emerald. (Now that’s an average… some lucky player is going to get Team Ruby coming down lots and lots, and some other player could have the biggest win of their life on Team Emerald.)

WHAT IS THE TOP AWARD PLAYERS CAN WIN ON SUPER TEAM SLOTS WITH MINIMUM BET?
HORNIK: Minimum bet on Super Team is 40 credits, and makes you eligible for the Super Team Progressive Jackpot. That starts at $100 and grows until someone wins it. Of course, with the right combination of heroes (let’s say the Math Scientist, Bubble Girl and Dr. Rewind) you could have a chance at winning much more than that.

WHAT WAS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE IN DESIGNING THIS GAME?
HORNIK: The biggest challenge in designing Super Team was in letting go some of the really cool ideas we had because the game just got too huge. We could have been working on it for another twelve years if we’d wanted to. If Super Team turns out to be popular enough with players, though, maybe we can get them in Super Team II.

DID YOU DEVELOP CHARACTER HISTORIES FOR THE HERO CHARACTERS IN THE GAME?
HORNIK: We did! Long, involved background stories, with aliens and mystical amulets and space radiation, crossover continuity and everything. One idea we had to cut was running comics showing these stories on the top of the screen, with one panel going by every spin. Unfortunately, it was becoming way, way too nerdy, so we decided to remove the backstories from the game. But who knows? Maybe one day those stories will make it into another game down the road.

WHAT ARE “HERO POINTS” AND HOW DO PLAYERS EARN THEM?
HORNIK: After each bonus round, you get a Hero Point. It’s that easy. The tricky part is saving them… to save them, you have to sign into Player’s Life web services. If you already have an account from playing THE LORD OF THE RINGS or CLUE games, you can use the same one in Super Team. If you don’t have an account, you can easily create one online (www.playerslife.com) or at the machine.

If you don’t sign in, you can still get all the heroes and two of the three bonuses. You just don’t get to save the trophies, Hero Points or the Personal Hero costumes, and you can’t play the bonus.

THE TRAILER FOR THE GAME SHOWED A PLAYER HAVING BOTH TROPHIES AND HERO POINTS. HOW MANY TROPHIES ARE THERE IN THE GAME, AND HOW CAN PLAYERS WIN THEM?
HORNIK: Most of the trophies are won in the casino. We award them for certain wins with different heroes, good bonuses and things like that. A couple are skill-related… for getting through our Fortress Bonus without hitting the walls or getting hit by a missile.

There’s also a trophy for online play. If you get the online trophy playing the mini-game, you unlock the super disco outfit for your Personal Hero. They look pretty cool fighting robots and catching burglars in that. All told, there are more than 40 trophies you can win, which are tracked by your Player’s Life account and can be viewed both at the slot machine and online.

HOW DOES THE PERSONAL HERO CUSTOMIZATION WORK? HOW MANY POSSIBLE COMBINATIONS ARE THERE?
HORNIK: At any time before or after a spin, you can touch your Personal Hero’s picture on the bottom of the screen and change what they’re wearing, the color of their skin, change hairstyles… you can even make them fly around in their underwear. If you log in and save your Hero Points, you get to unlock even more costume pieces and more colors. All told, there are well over a million combinations.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PART OF THE GAME?
HORNIK: I love that you can dress up your own hero, and then they play in the bonus rounds for you. It’s silly, I know, but it makes me feel closer to the win. I’m hoping people will feel the same way and post videos of big wins with their heroes on PlayersLife.com.

DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE HERO “LOOK” YOU CAN SHARE WITH US?
HORNIK: My favorite combinations… well, we have a program we use to test the games that just randomly touches everywhere on the screen. Somehow, those random touches always came up with the coolest, most unpredictable costumes. So go ahead, close your eyes, and start slapping the screen. You never know what you’ll come up with.