Temple Run is a 3D endless running video game developed and published by Imangi Studios. The player controls an explorer who has obtained an ancient relic and is running from evil demon monkeys who are chasing him. The game was initially released for iOS devices on August 4, 2011, and later ported to Android systems and Windows Phone 8.
The game was a commercial success with positive reviews from critics. The success of the game led to a sequel Temple Run 2. Collaborations with Disney to create Temple Run: Brave and Temple Run: Oz, and a third spin-off in development by Scopely titled, Temple Run: Treasure Hunters as a match-three video game. Temple Run also received activity books and a board game, with Warner Bros. Studios talking with Imangi Studios of a possible film adaptation. The success of the game also inspired many similar games that take their own twist but also copycat games that copy the Temple Run gameplay and iconic brand of the original.
Temple Run was designed, programmed and produced by husband-and-wife team Keith Shepherd and Natalia Luckyanova with art by Kiril Tchangov. The game took a total of four months to develop. Development began after the financial failure of Imangi Studio's previous game, Max Adventure and used that game to prototype Temple Run's controls. Imangi Studios wanted to make a quick game with simpler controls in contrast from Max Adventure's dual analog controls. Keith started the first prototype with making a game where the character is always running and can be controlled by rotating the environment from a top-down perspective. This idea was scrapped due to causing extreme dizziness during testing. To fix the problem, constraints were added so that players can only make 90° turns and perspective be fixed behind the character. When it came to the game's aesthetics, multiple ideas were conceptualized but ultimately settled for the character to running on a pathway resembling the Great Wall of China or Aztec temple. After the temple design was solidified, Imangi Studios questioned the player character's motivation for constantly running without any breaks and came up with the idea of having something chasing him. Imangi Studios originally had the aliens from Max Adventure as placeholders. Kiril created the design of evil demon monkeys and gave them skull masks due to his desire of adding skulls in games he's involved in. Natalia initially did not like having evil demon monkeys chasing the player character and found them terrifying. Keith and Kiril, however, liked the evil demon monkeys and convinced Natalia to remain in the final product. Natalia later admitted that they were right and that it added immediacy and adrenaline. The coin and gem mechanic was originally different colored gems where player would receive different bonus depending on what combination of gems were obtained, similar to Poker hand rankings but was proven too difficult to achieve and was scrapped. Natalia mentioned coins and Gems were particularly frustrating to add into the game that at one point were removed during development, but were added back due to the team missing them.