By Ben Barrett on August 14th, 2014 at 8:00 am.
Stunningly beautiful, culturally educational puzzle-platformer Never Alone has all of RPSdom excited to experience the tales of Alaska Native people the Iñupiaq. The only question left was when we’d get our mitten’d hands on its co-op action. November 4th, comes the cry from behind that glacier, on Steam, it continues, causing an avalanche. There’s also a gorgeous new trailer, with one of the developers explaining how important he feels the game is for the future of these stories.
It is so very, very cool to see games being used to educate and inform without the surgical extraction of fun that has entailed in the past. Never Alone is just the first of what publisher E-Line Media are dubbing ‘world games’ – ones used to explore cultures and stories from outside the usual western bubble. They own developers Upper One Games, which was founded by the Cook Inlet Tribal Council and has been working on the game with the guidance of Iñupiaq elders. Hopefully the game does well and we’ll see more of them in the future.
The two characters are Nuna, a young Iñupiaq girl and an alaskan fox she meets on her adventure. Details on what they’ll get up to are rather scarce outside of it all being inspired by traditional folklore. Specifically this story is based on “Kunuuksaayuka,” which was first imparted by the grandfather of one of the Iñupiaq who has been helping the team. It can be played either solo, switching between characters manually, or with a friend controlling them seperately.
If you’d like some further reading there’s a lengthy interview with the development team on Ethnos Project. Otherwise, save up your $14.99 (or equivalent) for once it’s out.