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Firemint: Flight Control for iPhone Hits 4 Million Downloads, $2 Million Budget for Real Racing 2

Developer Firemint has always been one of the biggest “players” in the iOS gaming scene with hugely popular games and Apple Design Awards won at the WWDC, and they’ve been under the press spotlight again recently thanks to the release of Real Racing 2 HD – a version of their successful racing game specifically optimized for the iPad 2 improved graphics, processor and gyroscopic controls. With more updates on the way and a brand new iOS game announced last month, Agent Squeak, Firemint has become one of the top names in the App Store for iPhone and iPad games.

In an interview with Pocketful of Megabytes, Firemint’s Logan Booker has answered some interesting questions about what’s going on behind the scenes of Real Racing and their other game franchise, Flight Control. As revealed by Booker, Flight Control, released in 2009, recently surpassed 4 million downloads for iPhone, and it keeps growing. The game was the result of weeks of sketching and prototyping back in 2008 and early 2009, when the App Store was a relatively new platform and no one really knew whether or not Apple (and third-party developers) could turn a profit out of it.

Real Racing’s development, though, started in mid-2008 – months before Flight Control – and back then the developers were already aiming at making the game push the graphic capabilities of the iPhone. The idea is still the same with Real Racing 2 HD, an iteration of the original product which, together with control and usability enhancements, still wants to be the app that pushes iOS devices to the limit. Real Racing 2 for iPhone, released before the HD version, was in development for 18 months with a $2 million budget.

Last, about Flight Control HD for the iPad:

We knew the transition from iPhone to iPad would require a revamp of Flight Control‘s graphics and careful consideration of what iPad could bring to the game; Firemint’s always been about quality over quantity. We saw the iPad as an opportunity to explore new possibilities with Flight Control HD. This equated to Flight Control HD‘s unique Versus mode that lets two players guide planes together on the one device, as well as three exclusive high definition maps that make excellent use of the larger screen. When we develop one of our games for a new platform, we treat it like its own project.

You can read the full interview here, or just save it in Instapaper for the usual late-night reading session. It’s always interesting to take a peek behind the scenes of game development – especially now that iOS games have really proved to be a feasible alternative to console games – and we look forward to what’s next for Firemint and Infinite Interactive, acquired by the development studio in January.

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