After an emotional speech from actor and game developer Abubakar Salim, EA and Surgent Studios unveiled Tales of Kenzera: ZAU, a heartfelt single-player action-adventure platformer at The Game Awards. The game promises to bring a new take on the experience of finding hope and courage after loss. Inspired by Surgent Studios founder and BAFTA-nominated actor Abubakar Salim’s own personal journey dealing with the loss of his father and their deep mutual bond of video games, Tales of Kenzera: ZAU celebrates Abubakar’s father through a metroidvania style action-adventure platformer while showcasing how greatness comes from resilience.
“For a long time, I’ve struggled to find a way of communicating my journey with grief. To now be able to do that through Zau’s story of loss, growth, and healing in Tales of Kenzera: ZAU feels so right,” said Abubakar Salim. “Games, to me, are the most powerful medium to share stories. My late father introduced me to the medium, and what better way of honoring him, our relationship and love than through this experience? I am extremely grateful and proud of the team of creatives that have helped craft Surgent Studios, and I’m beyond thrilled to have EA Originals give me the platform and space to share this story together with them.”
Published under the EA Originals label and developed by Surgent Studios – a transmedia production studio founded and led by Abubakar – Tales of Kenzera: ZAU invites players to step into the shoes of Zau, a grieving hero on a mission to bring his beloved father back from the grasp of death. Guided by Kalunga, the God of Death, Zau makes his way through mystical 2.5D realms to harness the cosmic powers of the warrior shaman. Tales of Kenzera: ZAU invites players to embark on a journey of spiritual healing, where the hardest moments unmask who they can truly become.
The game is also inspired by Bantu tales, unfolding in the beautiful yet treacherous lands of Kenzera. Tales of Kenzera: ZAU uses the rich folklore of chaos and order, memories of ancient shamans, sacred spirits, and fascinating creatures. Players will wield and expand cosmic powers from the Sun and Moon masks to defeat restless spirits in rhythmic combat; they can manipulate time and crystallize enemies using the Moon mask powers or launch fiery spears with the Sun Mask – all in meticulously hand-crafted animations. Set to multi-award-winning composer Nainita Desai’s enchanting original score, Zau’s quest to become a worthy spiritual healer takes place across several unique and vibrant environments.
Pre-orders are available now and include two shaman points unlocking up to two skills in-game, Kalunga’s Blessing visual effect variant, as well as Tales of Kenzera: ZAU digital companion comic, Soulshifters, which dives deeper into the rich lore of Kenzera.