From books to movies, there’s no shortage of stories that spotlight Detroit, but things have been relatively quiet on the video game front. A notable exception is 2018’s Detroit: Become Human by the French studio Quantic Dream. But the latest installment in Detroit’s gaming canon is homegrown. Developer Neil Jones’ Never Yield is a 3D side-scrolling game where the player runs, jumps and slides around a
Jones (aka Aerial_Knight) is a lifelong Detroiter who grew up right off of the Lodge and is a Mumford alum. One of Jones’ proudest Detroit references in the game is lead character Wally’s outfit, which is an homage to Axel Foley, the Detroit detective from Beverly Hills Cop. His goal was to weave as much of Detroit’s identity into the game as he could. Jones says he wanted to “bring those aspects into the game, and try to get as much of the feeling of the city as possible.”
But don’t expect a one-to-one recreation of the city. Trying to capture the feel of Detroit was more important to Jones than a pure translation. “I didn’t want to use any big landmarks or anything (too) in your face. It was more about getting a feeling of it as a backdrop then adding some other influences here and there to give it a bit more style.”
What’s next for Detroit video games after Never Yield? Jones has high hopes. “There are a lot of young people getting into development, and we are really starting to get noticed. If Detroit does more to keep these developers in the state then I think we are in for a boom.”
Never Yield is available digitally from Steam, Epic Games Store and on all major consoles.