Subway Surfers: Lessons from the world’s most downloaded game

Within the almost 10 years because it first launched, Subway Surfers actually hasn’t had phenomenal success. It has set the identical requirements for cell video games as dwell, maintained entities.

That is true creatively, commercially, technically – and even by way of the optimistic cultural influence Infinite Runner hopes to go away with its gamers. Which means different studios and publishers can study quite a bit from having a look on the story behind Subway Surfers’ many achievements.

Frequent and considerate updates are on the coronary heart of Subway Surfers’ immense reputation, with the lately posted North Pole 2021 vacation content material being the 137th version of the Subway Surfers World Tour Collection. That is an up to date schedule with a typical turnaround cycle of between three and 4 weeks. Whereas this may increasingly sound a bit intimidating to some builders, SYBO has quite a bit to supply to make sure that each the frequency and high quality required are utterly achievable.

However earlier than we get into why this issues, it is value contemplating how profitable SYBO and co-developer Kylo’s recreation has been. As of August 2020, Subway Surfers had been downloaded greater than three billion occasions in complete – a substantial proportion of the planet’s 7.8 billion complete inhabitants. And eventually depend, it turned essentially the most downloaded cell recreation of the previous decade.

“We’re adopting and growing Subway Surfers whereas sustaining the nostalgia that makes this sport certainly one of a sort.”

Mathias Gradle Norvig, SYBO

Importantly, from its unique conception, the sport – which makes use of the Unity engine – was constructed with the continual updating course of in thoughts. That is the way it has continued to draw and deceive gamers by virtually a decade of service. Although, in fact, the replace is not the one cause the sport has generated lifetime income that’s estimated to be within the billions of {dollars}.

“Our success could be attributed to a number of elements: easy but tremendous participating recreation play, participating and acquainted characters, mixed with prime quality, state-of-the-art animation, graphics and strikes that improve the play expertise,” stated SYBO Video games. stated CEO Mathias Gradle Norvig, earlier than relating the matter of these updates. “We’re adopting and growing Subway Surfers whereas sustaining the nostalgia that makes this sport certainly one of a sort.”

flip by flip
The World Tour idea was launched into the sport in 2013, and has since been emulated by numerous titles from studios and publishers of each dimension, to the purpose that it has change into probably the most acquainted methods to attempt to preserve the brand new and present. is certainly one of gamers within the cell gaming panorama. The World Tour idea realized by SYBO primarily transplants the sport and its fundamentals and mechanics into completely different world settings with every new replace, offering new themes set in actual cultures, permitting the group to compete with the subway surfers. Allows the context of the central providing to be consistently refreshed.

Apparently, specializing in what to not change might be the defining idea of such a profitable replace technique, understanding always how a lot could be modified or added.

“Sustaining our roots has all the time been paramount,” confirms sporting director Christian Balazs. “Subway Surfers’ premise has remained largely the identical: run alongside the subway monitor, accumulate cash and power-ups, and dodge obstacles. To maintain issues recent and supply new experiences inside the framework, we energy add-up and new characters. However we additionally like to boost it. For instance, in our Vancouver replace in November, gamers can select to race in two completely different cities – Vancouver or New York.”

And that course of, Balazs says, does not take removed from the gameplay.

“It’s like Jake browsing on high of a subway automobile… It’s a pleasant balancing act. Our followers proceed to play as they run by gusts of pleasure to keep away from oncoming trains, accumulate cash, and rating excessive Integrating new recreation parts, improved aesthetics, and thus in a deliberate means – versus large adjustments abruptly – retains avid gamers coming again.”


Subway Surfers Has Three Billion Downloads

It is also value contemplating right here that the World Tour updates additionally function a automobile for growing subway surfers extra typically. Whereas the sport design core could have remained largely unchanged since its debut in 2012, SYBO has had to make sure that this most iconic title continues to really feel modern as the broader medium undergoes fixed growth and enchancment. Which brings us to an vital level: repeatedly updating and modernizing a recreation over a few years requires a refined mixture of artistic apply, manufacturing administration, and technical pipelines that carry each productiveness and effectivity. Getting all of it proper permits titles like Subway Surfers to align with participant expectations across the selection of visible high quality, whereas sustaining an efficient and seasonal content material technique.

“We’re all the time striving to offer the best high quality merchandise, supplies and experiences,” says Balazs. “At each stage – from idea to construct, between beta testing and launch, and in any respect phases – it’s crucial that we excel. Fortunately, Unity permits our designers and programmers to make use of stellar devices when implementing design, menus and sound. permits use.”

Which means that from a recreation modernization standpoint, the selection of engine has been instrumental in enabling the SYBO group to repeatedly refine the likes of Subway Surfers reminiscence utilization, rising complexity in graphics and the emergence of ever extra superior Content material Supply Networks (CDNs). function performed. , As a fascinating means to maintain content material feeling recent whereas preserving world tour updates on monitor. Choosing Unity offers SYBO a novel place to handle every thing they do, guaranteeing high quality whereas preserving each group member concerned in an environment friendly replace course of.

Though, in fact, the individuals who make up these groups are the one most vital think about making Subway Surfers the feeling of the last decade.

inclusive tradition. inclusive expertise
“At SYBO we try to have the strongest and most skilled sports activities groups,” enthuses Gradle Norvig. “We’ve got an inclusive and comparatively flat construction and we anticipate every artist to have the ability to contribute to every thing associated to the sport; this consists of implementing belongings in Unity.

Which means that all artists from Subway Surfers, together with idea artists, are usually anticipated to work inside Unity. We use supply management so we are able to all the time roll again if something goes mistaken, however usually our purpose is to coach folks to have the ability to work safely inside Unity. As well as, we construct instruments that may be run in Unity and/or exterior content material creation software program to scale back repetitive duties and human errors.”

Subway Surfers' success has been helped by its diverse characters

Subway Surfers’ success has been helped by its numerous characters

SYBO’s selection of recreation engine has empowered each form of artist to be a part of each the technological course of and the broader effort to make Subway Surfers flourish. The worth of bringing these artists nearer to the sport growth course of shouldn’t be solely spectacular, but additionally sustainable, in strategizing the World Tour and releasing the rhythm. Empowering artists to work straight in Unity has the direct impact of accelerating the iteration loop whereas sustaining high quality and artistic excellence, to fulfill the all-important three- to four-week content material drop deadline.

However how does Subway Surfers – which was the primary to see a billion downloads on Android alone – handle the problem of deploying the myriad gadget fashions and OS variants it at present helps?

“We’ve got a constant cadence of launch updates that our gamers are used to and sit up for,” Balazs explains. “Our purpose is to ship enjoyable and dependable updates. Unity permits us to seamlessly handle built-in and CDN content material between releases whereas preserving construct dimension beneath management, that are essential to a dependable launch schedule. Most of our belongings permits us to make use of reminiscence properly, in order that even low-end gadgets can expertise new content material and options. We wish to make sure that all gamers have a fantastic expertise whereas taking part in the sport Sure, and Addressable helps us in attaining this goal.”

play with function
Away from speak of engines and the facility of pipelines and addressables, there’s one thing else that has helped Subway Surfers develop in phenomenal development, and it is one thing that gamers will care about greater than the way in which your manufacturing pipelines are structured.

Right here, we’re speaking about authenticity. And for SYBO, it values ​​authenticity; Values ​​that go a lot deeper than simply planting a flag in a sure worldview.

“Our values ​​are how we dwell and work every single day,” confirms Gradle Norvig, because the dialog turns to the truth that the World Tour can also be a solution to have fun and share cultural variety. “We begin campaigns like Play 2 Plant [which has seen us plant] 200,000 bushes as now we have strived for a extra sustainable earth for greater than a decade.”

That very same sentiment, it seems, may be very a lot a part of the trouble behind the World Tour.

“We introduce numerous characters as a result of it displays the world we dwell in,” Gradle Norvig continues. “Each month, over 100 million folks play Subway Surfers, so we encourage, educate and empower our followers to be type, proud, conscious whereas having enjoyable.”

The sport’s large success from a business and artistic standpoint is definitely one thing any video games firm can study from, however what could be much more encouraging is that Subway Surfers is in the end a sport about exploring completely different cultures. The truth that greater than a 3rd of the planets are so focused on a recreation like that is an encouraging thought at a time when the world can really feel so divided. And it is probably the most thrilling potentialities of sports activities. In addition to being such items of leisure that make some huge cash for his or her groups whereas bringing loads of enjoyable to the gamers, they are often instruments that evoke empathy and open-mindedness.

That is clearly one thing on each Gradle Norvig and Balazs’ minds, as they finish with some recommendation for sports activities groups hoping to study from SYBO’s expertise.

“Encompass your self with people who help your imaginative and prescient, who could be cheerleaders and critics. Stick with it, be ready to strive, anticipate a couple of setbacks, and study from them. Give everybody the corporate’s consideration. Do not insist on residing as much as the values. We’re performance-driven, sure, and we’re playful and artistic too. We’re nonetheless within the constructing phases of our firm, and thus, we study from one another every single day So it is actually vital to carry an optimistic perspective to the sport.”

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