A few years ago, an Alaskan indigenous community found themselves with money to invest. Like any investment, the money would ideally multiply itself many times over. The Cook Inlet Tribal Council thought about funding funeral homes and getting into real estate. Instead, they decided to pour their money into a video game.
Money's not the only thing that the Alaskan native society—made up of eight tribal communities—is investing into Never Alone. The upcoming video game will also hold their culture, artwork and folktales in a vessel designed to carry a sense of the Inuit spirit far away from their southcentral Alaskan homeland. But, yes, the game's origins initially came from a more pragmatic concern. "We wanted to find a way to chart our own destiny financially," tribal council CEO Gloria O'Neill told me recently. O'Neill, who came to New York City recently with E-Line Media development partner Alan Gershenfeld to show Never Alone to press, explained that the Cook Inlet community remains reliant on government funding to help maintain services.