They could have put their money into more traditional businesses, like a funeral home or a dry cleaner or real estate development. Instead, the Cook Inlet Tribal Council of Alaska chose to fund a video games company. They say it’s the first one in the United States owned by indigenous people.
Upper One Games announced its founding this week at the Games For Change Festival in New York. USA Today reports that it will partner with E-Media, a New York-based company founded by a former Activision executive, to release two titles next year. (A screenshot of one is above). The tribe’s president said they looked to video games, instead of other investments, because they wanted to connect their efforts to their youth.
One title, which is planned for a commercial release, will be based on traditional Alaska stories, though subsequent efforts will explore other cultures as well. As for the studio’s name, Upper One is a play on Lower 48, the term by which Alaskans commonly refer to the contiguous United States.