There were many speculations about Maori slot, which has recently been withdrawn by it's Czech developers Endorphina, after protests that the game infringed Maori intellectual property. Yesterday, Endorphina published the official statement, where they described the whole situation from their point of view. On this occasion, we have decided to make an exclusive interview with Lucie Kadlecová, a Marketing Manager at Endorphina and find out more details about the topic.
The Maori Slot Removal
The Maori slot was introduced as the celebration of the cultural heritage of New Zealand and Endorphina intended to pay tribute to this remarkable culture, but instead ended up apologizing to public health agency Hapai Te Hauora, which complained about the slot in January. As a true professional, Endorphina was quick to react, and removed the game temporarily.
1. From the moment you launched the Maori slot you ran into controversy, as certain organizations such as Hapai te Hauora expressed serious concerns about the game theme and its content. Can you please explain what happened?
The Maori slot was our last release in 2016 and we were working on it for almost one year. It was an elaborate game with beautiful 3D animations of the Haka dance, authentic symbols and the Maori people with accurately portrayed face tattoos. The game was intended as a celebration of this remarkable culture and was available on our website, as well as within our partner casinos.
Unfortunately, some weeks after the release, we noticed that a couple of articles appeared describing the disappointment and outrage of the people in New Zealand caused by this game. After this, even an official letter from New Zealand’s authorities appeared and specified their concerns.
2. Endorphina was quick to react, and made the decision to remove the game instantly. Was this a difficult choice to make and why?
It was definitely not an easy decision to make because the Maori slot was truly one of its kind and one of our most treasured games. Our development team spent more than a year creating this game and put so much energy and effort into tuning even the finest of details. They were very sad when the decision to remove the game was made.
3. Where did the idea come from and why was the Maori slot introduced in the first place?
Endorphina is always trying to offer something new and attractive to the players. The creative team behind our games, consists of various types of personalities but they all have something in common - it is the love for their job, travelling, discovering and most of all it’s their passion for life itself. Travelling and discovering new places is the strongest inspiration of all and it does not apply only to our creative team.
Some members of the team spent a few weeks in New Zealand, travelled more than 7,000 km around the country and got to know the people and traditions. That’s how the idea for the Maori slot was born. Our intention was to create a game that would celebrate their unique culture and to introduce it to more people around the world.
4. What was your players’ first reaction to the slot?
The game was available on our website and in our partner online casinos from the end of December 2016 till the beginning of February 2017. I can say that the Maori slot was very popular from the beginning thanks to its beautiful HD graphics, exciting features and attractive theme.
We received very good feedback from the player’s community, where there were positive video reviews and recorded game-plays that were made and shared online. Players were really thrilled to see something they haven’t seen or heard about before.
5. Why did the organizations feel the game was offensive to Maori culture?
The main reason for their outrage, also stated in the official letter, is the fact that they don’t want to have their name and culture connected to gambling, especially without letting them know in advance.
6. Are you planning on doing any modifications to the existing slot, if so, what changes will you make?
Yes, we’ve decided to redesign the entire game and to remove any connections that were associated to the Maori theme. The game is still with our developers because many elements must undergo a complete change. This is what happens when the game is too accurate and the theme is deeply incorporated in all parts. Our new version will be released once the re-designing is complete, but the process will surely take some time.
Endorphina Decided to Redesign the Entire Game
Despite globalization, there are still many countries where people haven’t heard of Maori, which is why Endorphina had an intention to broaden the cultural knowledge and raise awareness about this outstanding Maori culture and its people. After months of research and weeks of finalizing the finest details, the project resulted in a visually attractive game that gained a lot of attention. However, the game was not received well by everyone.
The New Zealand’s authorities were distressed by the game theme, which is why Endorphina removed the slot and apologized officially. Czech developers have decided to redesign the entire game and remove any connections that were associated to the Maori theme. Now what’s left for us is to wait for the modified version and its outcome.
We would like to thank Lucie Kadlecová for speaking publicly on this topic and we wish Endorphina lots of luck in the future. May your plans go smoothly, so we can enjoy lots of new casino games.