I’ve been a fan of the Fire Link series going back to the original Ultimate Fire Link, and had a chance to see some of the new variations coming out, including some companion games in the Golden Fire Link series as well as a mash-up between Ultimate Fire Link and Cash Falls (I’ll have more on that title specifically soon).
During my G2E trip I had an opportunity to chat with Kimberly Cohn, who as Director of Game Development for Light and Wonder has been involved in the development of the original games all the way up to the current offerings, and I learned a few things about the series I thought was fun to share.
The Fire Link Bonus is Not Predetermined
I get asked about this periodically, and spoke to Cohn years ago about the original series of games, but she confirmed the bonus is not predetermined at the onset.
It’s designed to generally award a certain amount of fire balls, and the distribution of prizes will be in a way that an average result is common, but it’s not purposely dropping balls on locked levels you can never achieve. But it certainly indicates a progression that it does get harder as you start to approach that top row, while that top row isn’t necessarily unachievable.
There’s a Reason it’s So Hard to Get the Free Spins
Fire Link games are designed to give you the Fire Link bonus more frequently than the free spins bonus. If you’ve played the games in the series enough, you generally become aware of this over time. This was by design.
The goal with the series was to make sure when you get the free spins, there’s a reasonably chance of a good outcome, and to do so they needed to make the free spins rare enough to ensure enough value was there for them when they occurred.
While not specifically mentioned during our chat, my guess is this was a reaction to the Lightning Link free spins model, where the free spins come out more frequently, but aside from that 2x prize you get for triggering the bonus, it can sometimes be frustratingly limited in other pays.
Cohn had the ability to look at what had happened in the cash on reels and hold and spin evolution and make some decisions of their own about how they wanted to chart their own path, and it looks like that was part of the decision making.
Each Game in the Series Maintains Certain Aspects
One thing I was surprised to learn while talking with Cohn is they aim for each game of the series to have the fire link bonus and free spins bonuses occur with a similar frequency, to maintain the game feel from title to title.
So, for instance, despite my initial experiences on Ultimate Fire Link Explosion, the bonus frequencies for triggering the free spins on the wheel and the Fire Link bonus overall hasn’t changed (but the bets were increased to accommodate some of the additions, likely adding to the feel of the volatility because the money will go faster).
Golden Fire Link maintains the same minimum bet, 50 credits on penny denomination, that the original Ultimate Fire Link offered. And you can expect the Fire Link feature to happen with about the same frequency, despite the addition of the spinner.
The Free Spins Are Where the Key Differences Lie
Ultimate Fire Link isn’t the only game series to do this, but really the key differentiation in each game within a series is going to be the free spins. I’ve specifically written about the bonus types on the original Ultimate Fire Link series, and that differentiation continues with successive lines.
So players who have an interest in lots of retriggers might find Glacier Gold more appealing; those featuring multipliers China Street; and so on. It gives the game developers an opportunity to draw in different player types with different bonuses while maintaining the overall consistency of the line.
What’s your favorite Fire Link game? Share in the comments!