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Kisima Inŋitchuŋa
May 10, 2014 12:32 PM   Subscribe

Never Alone is an upcoming puzzle adventure game featuring a young Iñupiaq protagonist and her arctic fox companion, whose breathtaking trailer has been causing some buzz. It is the debut production of the Cook Inlet Tribal Council's Upper One Games, the first Native American owned games company. The game draws on Alaskan folklore and was developed in collaboration with elders, storytellers, and E-Line Media, a Seattle-based publisher of educational games.
posted by Erasmouse (16 comments total) 41 users marked this as a favorite

Seems like a rare thing, a game that is appealing to girls that doesn't go cheap or insult the gender.
posted by Freedomboy at 12:55 PM on May 10 [4 favorites]

So they're working with tribal storytellers, but are they actually employing tribal members in the development, coding, business, etc. parts of making the games? With a budget in excess of of $41 million, CITC invests in a variety of traditional and non-traditional business ventures. according to Forbes.
posted by Ideefixe at 12:56 PM on May 10 [1 favorite]

If they bring it out for 360, I'm in!
posted by ReeMonster at 12:57 PM on May 10

Well, I made it into the trailer just far enough to see it was a console only title.

From the first link in the post: "Coming Fall 2014 for console and PC."
posted by wildcrdj at 1:01 PM on May 10

Seriously guys? Click on the trailer:
Atmospheric puzzle platformer coming to PS4, Xbox One and PC
Those are the things it will be on.


It looks pretty! But I'm not much of a platformer type person. I do look forward to reading about it after release though!
posted by kavasa at 1:01 PM on May 10

That trailer's really beautiful. I wish it had little more sense of what the actual gameplay would be like but there were hints here and there.
posted by jacquilynne at 1:19 PM on May 10

Cook Inlet operates pretty much like other Alaska Native corporations. When the corporation was set up, tribal members became shareholders. The corporations' goals are typically 1. Create economic opportunities in tribal communities 2. Earn enough to generate a dividend for shareholders and 3. Invest in their communities by providing some social services. We have them in Southeast Alaska as well. Our local corporation is Goldbelt and the regional is Sealaska.

They probably do employ a large number of non-Native for the game development. However, the money generated by the sale of the game helps support other business ventures that offer employment for Inupiaq and helps support the corporation's other goals, like investment in native language retention. And the existence of this business venture could be encouraging some local kids to see a future for themselves in programming that they wouldn't have thought possible before. So, win-win, people.
posted by Foam Pants at 1:23 PM on May 10 [14 favorites]

This looks fantastic and I am so, so happy to see more cultural traditions and mythologies represented in gaming, with input from members of those cultures. Definitely there day one for the PC version.
posted by emmtee at 1:23 PM on May 10

This looks good. I hope that (a) they don’t lose a lot of money, (b) the cultural content is handled well, and (c) it’s fun to play.

I’ve seen grant money for language and culture preservation spent on digital multimedia projects of limited value considering how much money was spent on them and the quality of the result (including, on one project, hiring a Seattle-area development company), so I’m naturally a bit apprehensive when seeing something like this. I wish them the best, though.
posted by D.C. at 2:19 PM on May 10 [1 favorite]

It looks beautiful, and I loved some small things very much, like the fox animations. I'll probably buy it!
posted by Kaleidoscope at 3:10 PM on May 10

Yeah, I also have a bad feeling about it - games are a great way to lose money, but games are fun which lures people in and disguises just how bad the biz can be.

But OTOH, the trailer was basically saying "We have things to share, we want to share them, and this is a way for us to do that", which is great - that may be something worth spending money on, and provide returns of value regardless of the monetary side of things.

Having accessible video games that don't suck and come from outside the existing near-monoculture is valuable in so many different ways.
posted by anonymisc at 3:39 PM on May 10

wildcrdj: "Well, I made it into the trailer just far enough to see it was a console only title.

From the first link in the post: "Coming Fall 2014 for console and PC."

The title of the trailer says Xbox/PS4. That was enough to discourage me.
posted by Samizdata at 8:07 PM on May 10

Samizdata, I was also discouraged, but it says PC in every other link, so I am now undiscouraged.

Also, come on. Puzzle game! Female protag! Fox friend as a companion! Gorgeous wintery scenes! Thank you for posting this--I've signed up on their site for updates and will almost certainly purchase it when it's available.
posted by MeghanC at 9:14 PM on May 10 [2 favorites]

Can't wait. "Now we have a way of sharing it." What a voice that guy has.
posted by oneironaut at 10:45 PM on May 10

Kind of an inverse Limbo.
posted by benzenedream at 9:49 AM on May 11

But does the money generated (assuming there is any) actually go back to the tribal members or does it just get reinvested in the various Council ventures?
" And the existence of this business venture could be encouraging some local kids to see a future for themselves in programming that they wouldn't have thought possible before."

But does that happen? I've seen this sort of thing promised before, but if all the work takes place at E-Line Media's offices in New York, how are the local kids exposed? Cook Inlet's offices are in Anchorage and the 8 tribes that make up the Cook Inlet region are strung out north and south of Anchorage, which is some 10=12,000 people, according to this news story.
And here's the Beta info for their other game, Historia.
posted by Ideefixe at 2:10 PM on May 11

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