“Founder’s Touch: Abubakar Salim releases ‘Tales of Kenzera: Zau’ with Surgent Studios Debut”
Abubakar Salim, renowned as the voice of Bayek in Assassin’s Creed Origins, is set to make his debut with Surgent Studios, and his inaugural project holds a deeply personal touch. The catalyst for this venture is Salim’s own journey through grief following the loss of his father to cancer in 2013.
The genesis of the game, titled “Tales of Kenzera: Zau,” draws inspiration from Salim’s profound experiences grappling with the aftermath of his father’s passing. In his own words, “The inspiration came from a lot of places, but is truly driving from the grief that I subsequently traveled through and journeyed through after losing my father 10 years ago.”
Salim’s father, a software engineer and gaming enthusiast, played a pivotal role in shaping his son’s connection to the gaming world. Early introductions to iconic titles like Sonic the Hedgehog and the gift of a Game Boy laid the foundation for their shared gaming experiences, including adventures in Castlevania. Salim fondly recalls the freedom his father provided, allowing him to immerse himself in games and fostering a deep appreciation for the medium.
Beyond the gaming realm, Salim’s father, hailing from Kenya, served as a vital anchor for the first-generation British son navigating an uncertain cultural identity. In the face of potential identity struggles, Salim looked to his father as a guiding figure, stating, “He was very much the man who I really looked up to, and really kind of connected with — especially because, you know… In a world where sometimes I’m not necessarily seen as British, or sometimes I’m not even necessarily seen as Kenyan, like, where do I fit in?”
“Tales of Kenzera: Zau” is an action-platformer set in a fantastical world inspired by the Bantu legends of central and southern Africa. The game revolves around the protagonist, Zau, a young warrior shaman grappling with grief and striving to bring his father back from the dead. Guided by Kalunga, the God of Death, players navigate a stylish and colorful Metroidvania, providing a unique gaming experience.
EA’s Originals publishing label has recognized the potential of this poignant creation and is set to release “Tales of Kenzera: Zau” on April 23, 2024, across multiple platforms, including Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 5, Windows PC, and Xbox Series X. Salim’s debut project not only pays homage to his personal journey but also promises an immersive and heartfelt gaming experience for players worldwide.
You can watch Abubakar Salim’s speech and premiere of Tales of Kenzera: Zau below: