World’s first indigenous video game dazzles and delights

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The cultural legacy, myths, and tales of the past always breathe new life and offer new inspiration in the ever evolving traditions and narratives of the present. And that’s the premise behind Upper One Games and E-Line Media‘s Never Alone, a new puzzle platformer inspired by the rich cultural heritage and storytelling of Alaskan indigenous cultures.

The project started when the Cook Inlet Tribal Council (CITC) decided that a video game could be the perfect medium to not only generate revenue for their people, but also to reconnect their youth to their culture — and simultaneously share their heritage on a global scale. With this in mind, the CITC approached media publisher E-line and Upper One Games, giving birth to this one of a kind undertaking.

Never alone is the first commercial video game that involves the Inupiat, one of the seven major indigenous groups in Alaska, in all aspects of  the game’s development. The game is built upon the traditional Inupiat story Kunuuksaayuka, which is “about a young boy and his journey to discover the source of a savage blizzard.” The game’s development team went directly to Inupiat elder Minnie Gray, whose father was the first recorded teller of the story. They also worked closely with the family throughout the game’s development. As a result, Never Alone offers a refreshing gameplay experience that favors problem solving, cooperation, and interdependence as opposed to the traditional Western video-game fare of violence and aggression.

The game is also a rich tapestry woven from authentic Alaskan folklore and colored with their unique perspective. The gameplay mimics classic platformers of similar ilk, and its atmospheric visuals are beautifully detailed. In the featured trailer, the game clearly brings to mind other surreal games like Limbo and Outland. 

With its captivating graphics and storytelling, it’s difficult to imagine how the game will not become an instant classic. Watch the trailer and become enthralled by the magic of Never Alone (Kisima Ingitchuma). 

Never Alone is scheduled to release this fall on PC, PS4 and Xbox One.

About Author

Phillip Kuhn has been obsessed with video games and storytelling for most of his life. Things grew tense as the two vied for attention, but he finally reconciled them into a single passion: writing about gaming. Favorite pastimes include excess amounts of caffeine and conversation, getting lost in books, and learning anything new.

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