Black solo developer releases Switch game Never Yield despite being ‘rejected’ by the wider industry

Neil Jones

A Black solo games developer has released 3D side-scroller Aerial Knight’s Never Yield, using the announcement to explain how alone and unsupported he feels in the industry.

Bored with the current gaming releases and what they had to offer, Black artist and creator Neil Jones decided to break all the rules and create a game that not only appealed to independent developers, but also fans of the runner genre by creating Aerial Knight’s Never Yield.

“A lot of the time players don’t know who made a game,” he told his fans over Discord. “I wanted people to know my handle, and use that name recognition to find the other games I might make in the future. I really wish we could see more mixed groups of characters working together,” he says of modern games. “We definitely need more Black women game characters.”

Jones also made comments on Twitter, stating: “Thank you all so much for helping me get here. I’ve always felt so alone in the games industry, I never new if I was on the right path but thank you for giving this game a chance.

“If you enjoy this game, please keep an eye out for other Black devs who also need that same chance.”

The game, which sees the player survive a futuristic, Tokyo-style Detroit, tells the story of a young mysterious Black kid named Wally who has uncovered some evidence that can change his city forever. Journeying to recover items from his past in order to save his future, Wally will have to outrun his enemies in several environments to reveal the truth by jumping, dashing and running through the city.

The game’s first official trailer was released in August last year during Gamescom 2020 on IGN. The game was also revealed at Nintendo’s indie showcase last month, giving fans an exclusive look at Jones’ take on a classic endless runner game.

Accompanied by a hip hop soundtrack to die for that features the vocals of different Black artists from all across the globe, Aerial Knight’s Never Yield was composed by Detroit artist Daniel Wilkins – a childhood friend of Jones’. “He was my first and only choice, I wanted to leave the story open for people to come up with their own game theory about what’s really going on and have the soundtrack accompany that”.

The game also features the presence of police, which was an important aspect of reality that Jones wanted to feature in the game. From drones to guns being aimed at Wally, Aerial Knight’s Never Yield was a way for him to “try and aim away from anything too realistic or sad and keep it fun”.

Aerial_Knight’s Never Yield is available now for PS4, PS5, Xbox Series X|S, Nintendo Switch, Steam, and Epic Games Store.

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