The much-anticipated video game, Never Alone (Kisima Inŋitchuŋa), is released after more than two years in development.
Inspired by traditional Iñupiaq folklore, stories and characters handed down over generations through traditional storytelling, Never Alone (Kisima Inŋitchuŋa), a first-of-its-kind atmospheric puzzle-platform game, is now available for only $14.99.
Narrated entirely in Iñupiaq with 10 language options for subtitles at release, Never Alone brings more than four hours of compelling gameplay within a variety of beautifully rendered settings.
Developed through a partnership between Cook Inlet Tribal Council (CITC), E-Line Media of New York and influential members of the Alaska Native community, Never Alone is the first title in a dynamic new genre of video games dubbed World Games—digital game experiences bringing traditional stories from indigenous cultures to global audiences in innovative ways through the immersive power of video games.
The drive for sustainability and a commitment to the empowerment of Alaska Native youth are at the core of CITC’s investment in video game development.
“As an organization, we want to be able to chart our own destiny,” said Gloria O’Neill, President and CEO of CITC. “This isn’t about the status quo; this is about pioneering a new approach to sustainability, as well as meaningful and scalable impact by creating a global video game experiences infused with our values and culture.”
CITC is embracing technology to preserve and share culture, giving honor to the oral tradition of storytelling and offering exciting new ways to engage and motivate youth, while sharing timeless, living stories with the world.
“Kisima Inŋitchuŋa” translates to “I am Not Alone” in Iñupiaq. This traditional value, representing the importance of community, was reflected in the inclusive process that created the game. CITC affirmed that to truly reflect the value of interdependence and align with its mission, the design and production needed to incorporate a deep partnership.
The involvement of Alaska Native people in meaningful roles throughout the more than 2-½ year development process resulted in a culturally respectful game with an authentic indigenous voice. Participants included Alaska Native Elders, traditional storytellers, artists, teachers, hunters, historians and youth from communities across the state.
These cultural ambassadors worked carefully with game designers on every aspect of the game—from art and character development to level design and overall narrative arc. The design team made two trips to Barrow and numerous trips to Anchorage as a part of the research and development process. Likewise, a number of Elders and storytellers worked with the production team at E-Line’s Seattle studio creating and refining key parts of the project.