CITC’s Never Alone to launch in November

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Get a sneak peek at the 2014 Elders and Youth Conference

[lightbox link=”” thumb=”×165.jpg” width=”300″ align=”left” title=”A glimpse into Never Alone. Courtesy of CITC and Upper One Games.” frame=”true” icon=”image” caption=”A glimpse into Never Alone. Courtesy of CITC and Upper One Games.”]“Gather close and I will tell you an unipkaaq, a story that has been passed to me from generations past.”

How many stories have started with similar words? For Alaska Native people, storytelling has long been a method for preserving culture, sharing wisdom and passing on tradition. Now, with the first commercial video game ever to explore the world of Alaska Native people, Cook Inlet Tribal Council (CITC) is bringing storytelling to a whole new platform.

Never Alone (Kisima Ingitchuna), which will be released in November and is available for preorder in late October, was developed by CITC partner E-Line Media in cooperation with Iñupiat elders, storytellers, linguists, artists, youth and cultural advisors. Together, they created a first-of-its-kind, 1- to 2-player video game designed to appeal to gamers across generations.

Featuring two controllable characters, Never Alone is set in the harsh but beautiful Arctic, where the environment becomes part of the game. Players solve puzzles that require both characters to work together to progress through levels that feature interviews with elders and traditional Iñupiaq art and language.

The game is already garnering attention from media outlets like National Public Radio, and gaming-specific sites, but CIRI shareholders attending the 2014 First Alaskans Institute’s Elders and Youth Conference can get a sneak peek into the world of Never Alone.

“The big event this month is that we will be demonstrating portions of the game at the Elders and Youth conference Oct. 20 through Oct. 21,” said Pita Benz, CITC vice president of Social Enterprise. “All delegates should come by and check it out!”

CITC president and CEO Gloria O’Neill will also make a presentation during the conference about the collaborative and inclusive process used to develop Never Alone.

The Elders and Youth Conference will take place at Anchorage’s Dena’ina Center. Conference tickets are available online at To learn more about Never Alone, visit