For thousands of years, we told stories from one generation to the next. Our stories help us to understand how the world is ordered and our place within it. But what good are old stories if the wisdom they contain is not shared?
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. [x]
Players will control young female protagonist Nuna and her arctic fox as they try to rescue her homeland from an endless blizzard. Upper One calls itself the first indigenous-owned video game developer and publisher in the U.S. and Never Alone’s inspiration comes from the centuries-old stories and folklore of the Iñupiat people native to the region. Priced at $15, it comes out this fall for PC, PS4 and Xbox One.
This game makes me so happy. This is what indie developers have an opportunity to create and what, in all likelihood, AAA companies will be forever ignorant about. Keep an eye on this one, guys it looks brilliant
“Never Alone (Kisima Ingitchuna) is the first game developed in collaboration with the Iñupiat, an Alaska Native people. Nearly 40 Alaska Native elders, storytellers and community members contributed to the development of the game. Play as a young Iñupiat girl and an arctic fox as they set out to find the source of the eternal blizzard which threatens the survival of everything they have ever known.
In this atmospheric puzzle platformer, you will explore awe-inspiring environments, perform heroic deeds, and meet legendary characters from Iñupiaq stories — all narrated by a master storyteller in the spoken Iñupiaq language.
Unlock fascinating video insights — Elders, storytellers, and other members of the Alaska Native community share stories and wisdom about their culture, values and the amazing Arctic world encountered by players in over 30 minutes of interviews.”
Natives are often in the position of having to prove their Native-ness.
So many have co-opted the culture to be about spirit animals and
headdresses and nothing else. There’s a general lack of understanding
from those outside of Native culture about what it entails, and what it
means to the people that live it. The real truth of that experience
though, is that none of us have a complete picture. Native culture is so
many things because there are so many different kinds of us.
Never Alone, as its name implies, is optimistic by nature. It
follows an Iñupiat girl, Nuna, and her spirit fox companion. Together,
they search for the source of a blizzard that’s brought her village to
the edge of starvation. That set-up sounds like any other, but it
obscures the beauty of what it is, and how it came to be.
At first Never Alone gives the impression that it is the
retelling of an Iñupiat myth. In a manner of speaking that is true, but
it’s also quite a bit more. Many native cultures revolve around stories
and legends, tales told by fires over twilit dinners. These stories are
like parables; they contain pieces of life advice, the tools for
survival and important observations about the dangers of the natural.
They are meant to inspire respect and understanding, and that’s easy to
lose sight of.
With that perspective, it’s more accurate to say that Never Alone is like a videogame version of the boy who cried wolf. Never Alone
is about more than Nuna’s journey. It’s about community, about the role
of child and elder and about learning to survive in the harsh arctic
climate. In that sense, it embodies values that are vital to the Iñupiat
people of today, not a far flung legend whose meaning has been lost in