Never Alone is a game about learning! Well not that kind of learning; there’ll be no point and click hunts for trivia here as instead it will imbue us all with the knowledge of Alaska Native cultures and their century’s old stories via the medium of adventuring and video games. As a young Iñupiat girl named Nuna, alongside her trusty fox (whose name is literally Fox, which is brilliant), we’ll take on a rough Alaskan setting that will chill our button-pressing thumbs to the bone and send shivers down our spines with some beautifully crafted design. There’s also gameplay that involves lots of puzzles and we’ll meet such characters from Iñupiat history as “The Sky People”, “Manslayer” and “Rolling Heads” so you know this’ll be a good’un. More on Never Alone after the break.
Never Alone, Coming to PC, PS4 and Xbox This Year (Honestly)
Iñupiat elder Ron Brower, Sr. might hark on about Xbox a bit but Never Alone will be coming to PC and PS4 (alongside Xbox One) so don’t worry about missing out. Instead, his words make a very good point – that centuries of Iñupiat knowledge, tradition and stories have no way of being passed down to a generation concerned with the next first person face blaster – which is exactly why Upper One Games was set up, so that they could find a way to impart their history to us naïve lot.
“I think [Never Alone] should give them an insight as to the way Iñupiat think. We think quite differently because of our isolation and the kind of beliefs and self-sufficiency that we develop. I think it’s important: how to be independent, and how to think outside of the box, and how to be innovative.”
Upper One Games is a studio founded in part by the Iñupiat people themselves (the studio was set up by the tribal council representing Alaska Native groups) meaning that there’s no weird cultural appropriation going on here or the very real concern that the developers will guff up the portrayal of these historic stories. It’s also wonderful to see the stories of those who are Native to American lands being represented because in games, TV or films it’s just so rare to see, with inFamous: Second Son and Assassin’s Creed 3’s Native American protagonists being two incredibly rare examples. And even AC3 made you play as a racist white man for the first 5 hours.
Never Alone will be released on PC, PS4 and Xbox One later this year.