Upper One Games, the first indigenous video game company in the U.S., today unveiled additional details about its upcoming debut title, Never Alone (also known as “Kisima Ingitchuna” in Iñupiaq, a language of the Alaska Native people in the Arctic) – highlighted by the release of its first game trailer, available here: neveralonegame.com. Never Alone is expected to launch in the fall of this year as a downloadable title for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC, with a SRP of $14.99.
In Never Alone, players take on the roles of Nuna, a young Iñupiaq girl and an Arctic fox, in an atmospheric puzzle platformer that combines traditional folklore, stories, settings, and characters handed down over many generations by Alaska Native people whose roots and heritage date back millennia. Featuring imagery and themes drawn directly from Iñupiat and other Alaska Native cultures, Never Alone features striking visuals, emphasizes the sensibilities and perspective of these indigenous Arctic people and requires players to work cooperatively to succeed in challenging and harsh environments.
Upper One Games joined forces with E-Line Media, a leading publisher of games that engage and empower, to assemble a unique development team that partners Iñupiaq elders and storytellers with game industry veterans who have served in key roles on such popular titles as Interstate ’76, MechWarrior II, Tomb Raider: Underworld, Tomb Raider: Anniversary, Tomb Raider: Legend, the SOCOM series, Rage, Quake Live, and many more titles across console and PC.
“We’re extremely proud and excited to be building a truly unique game,” said Gloria O’Neill, president and CEO of Upper One Games and Cook Inlet Tribal Council. “We’d like to think we’re creating one of the most authentic – and fun – games of the year. Video games are powerful tools for making the history, tradition and culture of indigenous peoples relevant to both the next generation of Native people and the rest of the world.”
“This is the most personally rewarding project I’ve worked on in twenty years of designing video games,” said Sean Vesce, chief creative officer of E-Line Media. “Alaska Native mythology and culture is incredibly rich and translates remarkably well to making an amazingly fun experience for all audiences.”
• 1- and 2-player modes, both involving cooperative play (in single-player mode, the player can switch between the roles of Nuna and Fox at any time);
• 8 sweeping chapters that take players across treacherous ice floes, Arctic tundra, ice caves, boreal forests, cliff-built coastal villages, and more;
• Game story, settings, characters and gameplay inspired by traditional Iñupiaq folklore, including the story of Kunuuksaayuka (Koo-nook-sah-yoo-ka) that has been handed down for generations among the Iñupiaq people;
• Encounters with traditional Alaska Native folklore characters such as Manslayer, Blizzard Man, Sky People, the Little People and the Rolling Heads;
• Exclusive unlockable insights into the Iñupiaq way of life, told by both Alaska Native elders and youth.
Upper One Games is an initiative launched by Cook Inlet Tribal Council (CITC) in Anchorage, Alaska and its development and publishing partner E-Line Media of New York. The goal of the partnership is to create unique and innovate game experiences that explore and extend global cultures in fresh, vibrant ways by weaving timeless living stories into dynamic and fun games.