Alaska – Upper One Games, the first indigenous-owned games company in the US, has launched Never Alone, a puzzle platformer video game that draws on Alaskan native culture.
The video game, available for PC, Xbox One and PS4, was developed in partnership between Seattle-based entertainment and educational publisher E-Line Media and the Cook Inlet Tribal Council (CITC), a non-profit-making organisation striving to support the Alaskan native people in the region.
Inspired by the rich art and imagery of Alaskan native cultures, Never Alone brings alive the atmospheric and compelling world of Iñupiaq stories.
Gamers play as a young Iñupiat girl and an Arctic fox as they set out to find the source of the eternal blizzard threatening to destroy their way of life, taking them across frozen tundra, treacherous ice floes and underwater ice caverns.
CITC decided to use the video game platform as a way to share, celebrate and conserve elements of the Alaskan native culture, particularly the Cook Inlet area in the state’s south-central region, in an effort to empower indigenous communities.
‘We started to look to ourselves and wondered what it was we have that we could share with the world,’ Gloria O’Neill, CITC CEO, said in an interview with online gaming magazine Develop. ‘And what we have are amazing stories and amazing culture. At the same time we were looking at what was going on in the world and what are growing industries.’
Read LS:N Global’s insight article on the Cannes Lions 2014 for more on Heart of the Arctic, a game incorporating puzzles and history learning.