Endorphina releases official statement regarding Maori online slot
13 Mar 2017
The last release of the year, the Maori slot, was one of the games that we worked on for over a year. This one-of-a-kind game with beautiful 3-D animations of the Haka dance, authentic symbols and accurately portrayed face tattoos of the Maori people was released in the end of 2016. The game was available on our website and in our partner casinos. It was warmly welcomed worldwide and received very positive response from players.
The Maori slot game was officially introduced as the celebration of the cultural heritage of New Zealand. The remarkable culture, traditions and symbols were shaped over hundreds of years in complete isolation and we intended to pay tribute to it. After months of research and weeks of finalizing the finest details, the project resulted in a visually attractive and culturally on-point game that soon gained a lot of attention.
Despite globalization and their successes and achievements in certain areas, there are still many countries where people haven't yet heard about Maori. We wanted and managed to change that and raise awareness about this outstanding culture and its people.
Unfortunately, the game was not received well by everyone. Some New Zealanders and the authorities of certain tribes were distressed by the theme of the game and the fact that their culture and symbols were depicted in such detail in an international online game without prior notice. Hapai Te Hauora, the Maori public health agency, demanded the withdrawal of the Maori slot from the game portfolio, as well as our official apology.
Our main intention with the Maori game and with any other culture-oriented game is always to broaden the cultural knowledge, open-mindedness and understanding among people. Our games are made to entertain people, and we want to give them an option to go on a journey to different worlds and realities without the need of leaving their homes. Also, we try to convey the experience of exploring and discovering new countries to a wide audience worldwide, as not everyone is lucky enough to be given the privilege to travel and see the world themselves.
Creating a culture-related game, we do not intend to specifically target people that are related to this culture. We want to attract foreign players and give them an exclusive insight to different cultures — those that exist nowadays as well as those that don't — like our Urartu slot. This game was appreciated worldwide, and the positive feedback also came from Armenia and local players. When we receive positive feedback from the country the game was designed after, it is the most valuable recognition we can ask for as developers.
Edgar Mkrtchyan, Casino Manager at BetConstruct, stated, "Players in Armenia were truly delighted when we started offering Endorphina's slot Urartu to our partner Vbet. So far, it has been the top-performing Endorphina slot available in this market. It is exciting that Endorphina has created a game about the Armenian culture and the Kingdom of Urartu with a 3,000-year history. With this, they gained in favor with local players."
Endorphina's team is wholeheartedly sorry for this unfortunate situation, and our official apology has already been sent to Maori authorities. It was never our intention to insult the Maori or to cause any kind of cultural misinterpretation.
After the negative feedback, the game was temporarily withdrawn from our game portfolio, and necessary changes in the design are being made to remove all elements that could evoke any connection to Maori people and their culture.
Robert Novak, Head of Development at Endorphina, said, "It's truly regrettable that the game couldn't have stayed in its original design, as it was one of our most detailed and elaborate games. The whole team — and me especially — feel very sorry. I visited New Zealand myself, traveled 7,000 km all around the country, spent several weeks there and fell in love with the country. The people, nature and the country itself will be in my memories forever and, in fact, those are the greatest memories of my life. I wanted to create the Maori game purely out of love to reflect all the warm emotions it evokes in me."