David Stoveld
David Stoveld, Chief Operating Officer at Armadillo Studios

From enchanted forests and innovative mechanics to inspiration from Super Mario, lots of unusual ingredients went into making Fairy Fantasy Exotic Wilds, the latest title from EveryMatrix’s Armadillo Studios.

Ahead of its launch on June 27, SlotsBeats caught up with the developer’s Chief Operating Officer David Stoveld to learn some of the secrets behind the newest game in the successful Exotic Wilds series. 

SlotBeats: Can you explain how your Exotic Wilds mechanic works?

David Stoveld: All Exotic Wilds games centre visually around something exotic, whether a queen, magic, nature, or anything visually striking. Mechanically the wilds fill entire reels and award a multiplier dynamically, as well as some side features as we saw on Fortune Dragon Queen Exotic Wilds.  

For the latest Fairy Fantasy title, the exotic wilds are different types of fairies which fill reels dynamically every spin.  

SB: Can you expand more on the theme of the slot? Why was it chosen?

DS: Enchanted forests and beautiful fairies is a strong theme combination that should resonate well with our player base. It is a perfect theme for the mechanic, and once again is a great theme to have the opportunity to show off immersive gameplay and what our art team is capable of. 

SB: The slot includes a Buy Free Spins round. Are we entering an era where the base game becomes, in a sense, irrelevant?

DS: No, the base game is the most important component of a slot. It teaches the player how the feature works each spin and builds anticipation for future features that should enhance further what makes the base game fun to play.  

The fundamental mechanics need to be as perfect as possible, with smooth spins and timings, and the rest is extra. I think this game would still be great even if it only had the base game.    

The importance of getting the basics right is something I remember from the great GDC 2012 lecture by Koichi Hayashida at Nintendo. He highlighted the massive amount of effort put into just the nuances of getting Mario to move properly on the joystick for the player. Without investing a ton of effort in the core gameplay, none of the levels, or wall jumps, or the fire animations, or fun level designs, or boss fight would even matter, which is why it was such a high priority. 

SB: Off the back of the previous question, how do you retain players’ interest or are slots moving towards a quicker gameplay experience?

DS: There is more content created and more competition than ever before. Gone are the days where any slot gets its play time, and I am sure there have even been some potential hit slots that never had enough penetration to even have a chance of success. There is no room for error. 

Providers need clear communication and collaboration with operators, backed by data showing why a slot deserves some real estate space. They need content that is clear enough to learn quickly and feels great enough to want to play longer than the 20-second scan period. 

They need enough to interest players via marketing, streamers to share their excitement in a play session, and some innovative extra features to help differentiate the game from the crowd. That’s just to name a few of the factors needed to have a good chance of getting longevity for a modern day online slot.

Having more games to scan through and choose from has not stopped players from going back to their favourites.

SB: Your title comes with a high volatility – the ratio of low, medium and high volatile slots is now leaning very heavily too high. Are suppliers putting all their focus on high rollers and, if so, what is the reason for this?

DS: Well, Fairy Fantasy Exotic Wilds gives the player the option of medium, high or extreme volatility though their free spins choice when triggering the base game. It also has a double free spins chance which, contrary to intuitive perception, actually results in lower volatility. The buy bonus, which although riskier due to higher bet commitments to enter compared to a single spin, also has a very low volatility.  

In other words, there are a lot of different styles of play with this beautiful theme, to give players the ability to play the game the way they want to. 

VIP players contribute a large proportion of the GGR due to their massive bankrolls and high-stake bets. Naturally suppliers should dedicate some focus towards them, although they have all types of different requests as well as different volatility preferences. 

SB: We’re seeing more suppliers experiment with different reel types, but this game sticks to the tried and trusted 5×3. What was the reasoning behind this? 

DS: The symbol sizes are good for the level of detail in the slot, it’s easy to follow three rows at a time, and the number of reels makes for a good variation of three, four, and five-of-a-kind wins.  

We have a beautiful theme and proven mechanic, and I think it was nice to stick to the conventional layout. But there is no doubt that six, seven or even eight reels could work nicely with our transformative Exotic Wilds feature mechanic.  

While 3×5 is still the most popular choice, there are a ton of great titles that have different reel layouts, like BTG’s Bonanza Megaways, Pragmatic Play’s Sweet Bonanza, Play’n Go’s Reactoonz and Elk’s Ecuador Gold, to name just a few. 

From Armadillo, I quite like our Mythological Mayhem reel layout and we certainly have some other unconventional reel layouts in the roadmap.


Fairy Fantasy Exotic Wilds, which has 243 ways to win and features including Exotic Wilds, Transformation Reels, Double Free Spins Chance, and Buy Free Spins, is released on June 27.