一对来自北卡罗来纳的夫妻辞掉稳定但不充实的工作，决定制作一款热销全球的游戏。苹果公司应该将这些浪漫的小故事编成一本《苹果故事集》。据Imangi Studios成员Keith Shepherd所说，开发《Temple Run》让工作室最高日进“数万”美元。
Shepherd及妻子Natalia制作的这款荒诞的奔跑游戏曾在免费游戏榜和热销榜单登顶，并且于1月份在全球范围内称霸。这款游戏在达到巅峰前后，稳居榜单前30名长达数月。游戏的成功催生了与Disney Pixar的合作游戏《Temple Run：Brave》。Shepherd将这次合作经历描述为“天作之合”。
就像众多App Store的成功事迹一样，Shepherd也无法全面地解释《Temple Run》走红的原因。Shepherd坦言：“到底为什么？每个开发者都想知道，我们自己也想知道。我不敢百分之百地认定，但可以说，《Temple Run》在许多方面都达到了一款成功的iPhone游戏应该具备的特点。游戏过程很快，容易上手，我认为让玩家重复体验游戏的是成就、储存和所有不同的能量道具。每一次玩家玩这款游戏，他都能多跑一小段路。”
《Temple Run》是Imangi工作室的第九款苹果游戏，也是不断的学习过程的结果——甚至连收费模式都是如此。Shepherd指出：“我们开始发行游戏时定价为99美分，这是我们工作室最成功的一次发行，但没有立即大获成功。先是挤入付费应用的前50名，然后苹果看好它又在“New And Noteworthy”进行推荐，我们得到不少好评，平均得分是五颗星。“
不久之后，《Temple Run》的下载量达到每天75万次，不可避免地引来了大量抄袭之作。在本文的访问开始之际，《Pyramid Run》这款山寨游戏位居免费应用榜单之首；但本文发布时，该游戏已从iTunes上移除。Shepherd解释道：“他们其实从我们的游戏偷了一些东西用来开发自己的游戏。我们正在努力和他们协商这件事，因为这种事我们没有办法接受。这很令人沮丧，但你必须捍卫自己的权益。他们是赤裸裸地盗用我们的创意，而不是受我们的创意启发而制作游戏。”
Shepherd尖锐地指出，受启发和直接抄袭之间存在许多不明确的地方。他很高兴看到其他游戏受《Temple Run》影响而有所创新。但抄袭仍然是至苹果App Store这个开放市场的一大问题。那么，苹果公司应该表明立场并采取更加严厉措施以阻止这种事的发生？
尽管这种事揭露了App Store的阴暗面，但无疑也标志着《Temple Run》已经被抄袭者们盯上。而迪士尼请求与Imangi工作室合作开发衍生产品则标志着《Temple Run》的成功。《Temple Run: Brave》是继《愤怒的小鸟》和《涂鸦跳跃：开运兔》之后，又一款与家庭娱乐品牌联手的游戏。
他补充道：“我们要把这款游戏移植到其他平台上，如Amazon Appstore、Google Play、Facebook和个人电脑——尽量覆盖更多平台。我们已经与品牌合作，现在我们有多种经营项目——市面上将出现《Temple Run》的服装和毛绒玩具，我们在数周以前宣布了一部漫画书，圣诞节期间还将推出桌面游戏和卡牌游戏。”
从一间夫妻共同经营的小工作室变成迪士尼合作伙伴，又推出主题T恤、桌面游戏等，《Temple Run》再次证明了手机游戏也能成为耀眼的明星。但值得注意的是，Imangi工作室的第一款游戏发布于四年前App Store上线之时，而直到发行第九款游戏才获得全球性的成功。像这样的励志神话显然标志着这个市场仍然处于幼儿期。经过下一个四年或更久，这样的神话肯定会越来越罕见。这对于想要谱写苹果神话的其他独立开发者来说，时间已经不多了。（本文为游戏邦/gamerboom.com编译，拒绝任何不保留版权的转载，如需转载请联系：游戏邦）
Temple Run’s creators on pricing, cloning and Disney
By Neil Long
A husband and wife from North Carolina quit their steady but unfulfilling jobs, decide to make games and go on to release a global bestseller; Apple should be collecting these romantic little tales for a big book of App Store stories. Temple Run’s triumph saw Imangi Studios take in “tens of thousands” of dollars per day at its zenith, co-creator Keith Shepherd tells us.
The absurdly popular running game he made with his wife Natalia Luckyanova was number one in both the Top Free and Top Grossing charts for most of January worldwide. It has lingered around the top thirty for several months both before and after its peak, and also led to a Brave-themed spin-off in conjunction with Disney Pixar, an experience Shepherd dreamily describes as the “perfect partnership”.
Like so many App Store successes, Shepherd can’t fully explain exactly why Temple Run went viral. “It’s what every app developer wants to know, and we want to know too,” says Shepherd. “I don’t think we’ll ever know 100 per cent but in a lot of ways Temple Run hits the sweet spot in what makes a great iPhone game. The play sessions are really quick, it’s really easy to learn, then the thing I think keeps people coming back is all the achievements, the store and all the different power-ups. Every time you play it moves you a little bit further down the road.”
Temple Run was Imangi’s ninth App Store release, and the result of an ongoing learning process – even down to the pricing model. “We launched it at 99￠ and it was our best launch ever for our studio but it didn’t achieve massive success right away,” says Shephard. “It got into the top 50 paid apps and Apple liked it and featured it in New And Noteworthy, we got a lot of good reviews and it had a five star average.(source:edge-online)
“But then what always seemed to happen for us is that you have your initial launch spike and then it starts to freefall.”
Going free was – eventually – the making of Temple Run. A month after it was released the game had disappeared from the charts, so Imangi made it free and re-invested some of the money it had made into marketing the game’s transformation from paid to free. It worked. The game climbed up to third place in the Top Free charts, before starting to fall again.
“The thing that was very different with Temple Run was that it stopped falling around the top 100 free apps and just kinda hung out there,” says Shepherd. “The revenue that was being generated through the in-app purchases was actually higher than when it was paid. We were getting about 50,000 downloads a day, but then every day we’d get a little more and it’d inch its way up to the top of the charts. It went viral.”
Soon, Temple Run was being downloaded up to 750,000 times a day and, inevitably, a raft of clones arrived. As our interview took place, Pyramid Run was top of the free app charts; as this column was published, it had been removed from iTunes. “They’ve actually stolen some of our resources for their game and we’re in the midst of trying to resolve this with them because this is just unacceptable,” explained Shepherd. “It’s very frustrating but you have to stand up for your rights. It’s outright theft of our creation instead of something just inspired by our creation.”
Shephard is keen to state that there are many shades of grey between inspiration and straight cloning, and he is quite happy to see games influenced by Temple Run which bring something new to the genre. But cloning remains a problem on the App Store’s open marketplace. So is it time Apple took a stand and introduced tighter measures to stop this happening?
“It’s still up to individual developers to police their own IP,” says Shepherd. “I think the best [Apple] can do is to be responsive and act on things quickly when something is a clear IP violation. I think they do a good job of handling the problem, it’s a hard one to handle. When we’ve had issues in the past they’ve been quick to react.”
Though it has shed light on the darker side of the App Store, it’s surely a mark of Temple Run’s cachet that it caught the attention of the cloners. And Disney’s request to partner with Imangi for a branded spin-off was another mark of Temple Run’s success. Temple Run: Brave followed in the footsteps of Angry Birds: Rio and Doodle Jump: Hop The Movie in partnering with other family-friendly entertainment brands.
Shepherd isn’t looking to stand on the shoulders of the likes of Disney, though: the next step is to turn Temple Run into a much broader entertainment property.
“We’re bringing it to other platforms. Amazon App Store, Google Play, Facebook and PC – as many platforms as we can,” he adds. “We partnered with a licensing and branding firm and right now we’ve got a bunch of deals that we’ve closed – there’s going to be Temple Run apparel in the malls, plush toys, we announced a comic book a few weeks ago and there’s a board game and card game coming out for Christmas.”
From humble, husband-and-wife-run studio to deals with Disney, t-shirts, board games and more, Temple Run is another alluring example of mobile’s ability to create breakthrough stars. But it should be noted that Imangi’s first game appeared right at the launch of the App Store four years ago, and global success came at the ninth attempt. Heartening though they are, tales like this are surely a symptom of a marketplace still in its infancy. Over the next four years and beyond, tales like these must surely become rarer still. For those of you daydreaming about creating your own App Store story, time is running out.(source:edge-online)