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Interview with Charlie Peterson,  Program Manager: Microsoft Casino

ActiveWin.com: How long was Microsoft Casino in development?

Charlie Peterson: Normally, a game of this scope would take more than a year to develop. However, we were able to partner with Glass Eye Entertainment in Austin, TX. Glass Eye has experience with casino games and they have an amazing art staff. Based on that, we were able to complete the project in almost half of the regular time required. Serious kudos go to Mike McShaffry (executive producer) and his team at Glass Eye.

ActiveWin.com: What made us decide to go with The Mirage, Mirage at Treasure Island and the Bellagio?

Charlie Peterson: The Mirage Resorts, which are: The Mirage, The Mirage at Treasure Island and Bellagio, set the standard for excellence in Las Vegas. The resorts are incredibly beautiful, and if you're lucky enough to visit one, you'll understand why it's so tempting to spend even MORE time there. And while the resorts themselves are fantastic, I think the best part of the whole relationship was working with the Mirage Resorts staff. Those folks are absolute professionals and it was delightful to work with them.

ActiveWin.com: Were there any features you would have liked to include in Microsoft Casino but didn't?

Charlie Peterson: Sure there are, but we made some trade-offs early in the development cycle: we decided if we couldn't do something first-class, then it wouldn't go into the game. So the features you find in the game today, from the table games like craps, roulette and blackjack to machine games like video poker and slots, are really top-notch; they're simply the most visually stunning casino games on the market today.

ActiveWin.com: What differences does each casino in the game have from one another?

Charlie Peterson: Microsoft Casino recreates the differences in the actual casinos. First, the casinos allowed us behind-the-scenes access to dealers and pit bosses. We were able to exactly match the rules of the games on a casino-by-casino basis. We also did extensive research on the look and feel of the casinos and for each resort we visually re-created the gaming tables in stunning detail. From the carpet to the texture of the table tops, each of the casino gaming areas is perfectly and beautifully rendered. Of course we had access to a huge number of images from the actual resorts themselves and we've included those photos to help create the convincing atmosphere that you're right there on the strip.

ActiveWin.com: What is your favorite part of the game?

Charlie Peterson: Microsoft Casino is an outstanding casino game. Not only does it have the most beautiful artwork of any casino game on the market, it delivers excellent gameplay too. But my favorite parts are the things that no other casino game offers. I really like our system of "complimentary" prizes and gifts; you'll get virtual free rooms and drinks, and virtual free show tickets just like you'd receive from the pit boss if you were high-rolling in Las Vegas. I also think the Casino Challenge is one of the more innovative features that I've seen in a long time. In the Casino Challenge, hosted by Danny Gans (headlining comedian at The Mirage resort,) you can prove you're the ultimate high-roller by winning at all the games in the casino. It's a high-stakes marathon, and you've got to be a pretty darn good gambler to take the top prize. If I had to sum it up in one sentence, I think my favorite part of the game is the fact that it makes you feel like you're really in Las Vegas.

 


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