Quantcast

Raleigh couple's 'Temple Run' sets standard for pocket games - Greenville, NC | News | Weather | Sports - WNCT.com

What's Next

Raleigh couple's 'Temple Run' sets standard for pocket games

Posted: Updated:
Keith Shepherd and Natalia Luckyanova created "Temple Run" in their Washington, D.C. apartment. Keith Shepherd and Natalia Luckyanova created "Temple Run" in their Washington, D.C. apartment.
"Temple Run 2" was released in January 2013. (Imangi Studios) "Temple Run 2" was released in January 2013. (Imangi Studios)
"Temple Run" has a fairly simple premise -- run as far as you can without being caught by evil monkeys, don't get hit by any objects coming at you and don't stray from your path. (Imangi Studios) "Temple Run" has a fairly simple premise -- run as far as you can without being caught by evil monkeys, don't get hit by any objects coming at you and don't stray from your path. (Imangi Studios)
"Temple Run" has a fairly simple premise -- run as far as you can without being caught by evil monkeys, don't get hit by any objects coming at you and don't stray from your path. (Imangi Studios) "Temple Run" has a fairly simple premise -- run as far as you can without being caught by evil monkeys, don't get hit by any objects coming at you and don't stray from your path. (Imangi Studios)
RALEIGH, N.C. -

With fierce monkeys hot on your trail, one of the most popular apps to hit your smartphone is taking it to the next level from the Raleigh home of a couple who caught the game development bug early on.

Having been downloaded 170 million times, "Temple Run" is one of the best-selling smartphone apps in recent history. Its sequel -- appropriately titled "Temple Run 2" -- was downloaded 50 million times in less than two weeks after its launch.

The game has a fairly simple premise -- run as far as you can without being caught by evil monkeys, don't get hit by any objects coming at you and don't stray from your path. The gameplay, however, is increasingly more difficult the longer your character runs.

Launched in the summer of 2011, the game initially cost $0.99, but when it was switched to a free game, without the help of any advertising, that's when "Temple Run" went viral. While the game itself remains free, players can use real money to purchase boosters to aid them in the game -- a so-called "freemium" model.

"This is beyond anyone's wildest dreams," said Natalia Luckyanova, co-creator of "Temple Run" and co-founder of Imangi Studios.

Luckyanova and her husband, Keith Shepherd, created the endless runner in their Washington, D.C. apartment. But with small start-ups to game giants like Epic Games calling the Triangle home, Shepherd and Luckyanova saw a ripe market made the move to Raleigh. They now run Imangi Studios out of their home.

"I think there is a really good, independent game development community here in Raleigh," explained Shepherd.

With a blockbuster title now under their belts, Luckyanova and Shepherd are looking to open a full-fledged studio in Raleigh and want to hire developers to expand their game offerings while continuing work on the "Temple Run" series.

Still, reaching that point didn't come overnight for the duo. A self-proclaimed Apple fanboy, Shepherd began by developing a word game called "Imangi" after he saw an opportunity with Apple's launch of the App Store.

The game sold for $3.99, and the couple said they made about $5,000 in their first month. The game was followed by "Word Squares," and then "Little Red Sled," "Harbor Master," "Hippo High Dive," "geoSpark," Max Adventure" and ultimately "Temple Run."

"'Temple Run' was our ninth game," Shepherd said. "We've been doing this for five years now."

And that persistence paid off, especially after they answered one burning question: Why are you running?

"You need to have a reason," Luckyanova said. "That is when we added the monkeys. Then our artist, Carol, made these really scary monkeys with the scull faces and the noises."

Shepherd and Luckyanova say they get the most feedback about those demonic monkeys, and now the Indiana Jones-style game is a hit worldwide. Even toddlers are determined to reach their high score.

"I think the terror added to the adrenaline of the game," Luckyanova said.

Capturing the attention of Disney, the iconic company reached out to Shepherd and Luckyanova in 2012 to create a spin-off title to help promote Pixar's "Brave" and the live-action "The Wizard of Oz" prequel, "Oz: The Great and Powerful."

The app duo is now vying to take "Temple Run" beyond the video game world.

"We actually have a board game and a card game that were on the shelves last Christmas," Shepherd pointed out. "[We're also] working with an apparel company -- apparel you'll start to see it in malls and the stores."

They're also hoping for a "Temple Run" movie.

Melanie Sanders

Melanie anchors the 6 PM news. Her "What's Next" series features an engaging approach to storytelling and highlights the leaders in innovation who are shaping our future. Check it out HERE! More>>

  • Trending StoriesTrending StoriesMore>>

  • 77-year-old questioned, defended as true Marine after NFL player takes his photo

    77-year-old questioned, defended as true Marine after NFL player takes his photo

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 1:58 PM EDT2014-07-22 17:58:35 GMT
    (WMC) - It was a story that made its rounds on social media. On a recent flight DeAngelo Williams, Mid-Southerner and running back for the Carolina Panthers, gave his first-class plane seat to a 77-year-old
    Family members are upset and hurt that their relative, James Wesley Bolden, is being called a liar and "a fake."
  • Largest companies by revenue in each state

    Largest companies by revenue in each state

    Thursday, July 10 2014 8:01 PM EDT2014-07-11 00:01:10 GMT
    Broadview Networks recently decided to find out the biggest -- by revenue -- company in each state in the US.The company used the Fortune 500 list to start with, but needed data by state, so it turned to Hoover's.With data from that company, they were able to search through each state's list of companies and then find the largest -- by revenue.Just flip through the list above and see who is the biggest in each state, what town they are based and their revenue.
    Broadview Networks recently decided to find out the biggest -- by revenue -- company in each state in the US.The company used the Fortune 500 list to start with, but needed data by state, so it turned to Hoover's.With data from that company, they were able to search through each state's list of companies and then find the largest -- by revenue.Just flip through the list above and see who is the biggest in each state, what town they are based and their revenue.
  • Air Algerie jet with 116 on board crashes in Mali

    Air Algerie jet with 116 on board crashes in Mali

    Friday, July 25 2014 2:56 AM EDT2014-07-25 06:56:56 GMT
    The official Algerian news agency says an Air Algerie flight from Burkina Faso to Algiers has disappeared from the radar.
    An Air Algerie jetliner carrying 116 people crashed Thursday in a rainstorm over restive Mali, the third major international aviation disaster in a week.
Powered by WorldNow

3221 South Evans Street
Greenville N.C. 27834

Telephone: 252.355.8500
Fax: 252.355.8568
Email: newsdesk@wnct.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.