Temple Run Franchise Joins Angry Birds in Reaching 1 Billion Downloads

Immensely popular mobile game series from Imangi Studios reaches new milestone.

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The Temple Run franchise has now reached 1 billion total lifetime downloads, developer Imangi Studios announced today. It's not the first mobile game to reach that mark, as Rovio's Angry Birds series hit 1 billion total downloads more than two years ago.

Temple Run was originally developed by the husband-and-wife team of Keith Shepherd and Natalia Luckyanova, and the original game launched in 2011. The 1 billionth download came sometime between the original Temple Run and Temple Run 2, released last year.

"It's just been amazing," Shepherd told USA Today, noting that players have now run a total of 50 trillion meters and played over 32 billion games to date.

Temple Run is credited with popularizing the the now-ubiquitous endless runner genre, where players must guide their character through increasingly challenging environments. Shepherd said this new play pattern helped the game become so popular. "If you can bring something novel and new to the table, it adds that extra excitement level and that extra component to the virality of it," Shepherd said.

In addition to Temple Run and Temple Run 2, spinoffs based on Disney moves Brave and Oz: The Great and Powerful have been released. Shepherd teased that Imangi Studios might work on Temple Run 3 "at some point," and noted that the outfit also has other games in the works. The company now has 11 employees at its office in Raleigh, North Carolina.

A Temple Run movie is also in the works at Warner Bros., with Harry Potter producer David Heyman attached to the project.

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