The Sequel To A Game Played By Millions Quietly Dropped This Week

Imagine Activision releasing the latest Call of Duty game without telling anyone it was coming. No developer diaries, no screenshot packages, no media events — just a quick heads up that it would be in stores tomorrow. Preposterous, right?

Yet on Thursday a game played by more people than the Call of Duty: Black Ops II arrived on iTunes with little more than that. Temple Run has been downloaded more than 170 million times. Christmas Day 2012 alone accounts for 2.5 million of those — one million on iTunes, one million on Google Play and 500K via the Amazon Marketplace.

What a delightful surprise.

This sort of thing rarely happens in the world of console gaming anymore. Back in the days before the internet a gamer could wander into Babbage's and discover a game he'd heard absolutely nothing about. That's how I discovered Final Fantasy II for the Super Nintendo — one of my favourite games of all time, and I had no idea it had been released.

These days console game publishers start the hype train early. Sometimes we know about games years in advance, teased with concept art at the earliest stages of development. When a game does manage to slip into stores under our radar, there's often a good reason — sometimes the games just aren't worth marketing.

That wasn't the case with Temple Run 2, a fine follow-up to the incredibly popular endless runner. It's not that there's anything wrong with the game. It's just that Imangi Studios' Keith Shepherd, Natalia Luckyanova and the rest of the extended development team (up to five people from the original three) had the luxury of working on the game until it was ready to release without worrying about setting up previews or launching a marketing campaign.

"It's one of the joys of being a small indie studio," Shepard said during a call days prior to the game's launch. "We love making games, and plan staying small making games. That's something you can do on this platform."

That's what's beautiful about mobile gaming and indie game development in general. While traditional console game developers are busy jumping through hoops, creating preview builds, capturing screenshots and coordinating with marketing, studios like Imangi can concentrate on doing what they love, keeping surprise alive in the process.


    I still maintain this is what Valve will do with Half Life 3. You'll just load up Steam one day, check out the store page and BAM! there it is. For all of an hour there will be no fanfare and then the internet will explode and candy will rain from the heavens... Ok maybe not that last bit

      Thing is a game like Half Life sells itself now. They would not even have to market the product, merely announce the release and the game would sell more copies than a Pamela Anderson bootleg

      Pretty sure we'll have colonised a planet with a candy-filled sky by the time HL3 comes out, so I think even the last bit is plausible.

      Seriously, though, I think they will do a silent release, as well. Maybe it's the only logical conclusion considering we should have heard something by now if they were going to release details ahead of time.

      Alternatively we'll get an ARG. I think that's quite possible.

    I wish more games would be released quietly. Let the people decide whether it's good rather than the company's marketing team

    Last edited 19/01/13 9:25 pm

      If IGN isn't paid by developers/distributors to tell me that a game is good, then as far as I'm concerned, it's not.

    Got all excited. I thought this would be another Pandemonium sequel.

    The idea that a game like Temple Run would have any kind of fanfare like a COD game is absolutely retarded. Not even Angry Birds gets hooplah like that.

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