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EA Announces Tales of Kenzera: ZAU from Abubakar Salim’s Surgent Studios

What would you do to bring a loved one back to life? That’s the central question of EA Originals’ upcoming game, Tales of Kenzera: ZAU, announced at The Game Awards on Thursday evening.

The title will be the first project produced by Abubakar Salim’s Surgent Studios. Salim, best known in the gaming world as the voice of Bayek in Assassin’s Creed Origins, says the game draws on his own relationship with grief following the loss of his father to cancer in 2013.

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“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 told Variety ahead of the trailer reveal. “It’s been something that I’ve been really trying to process and deal with and it’s an experience which I felt like I just wanted to share or tell in a format that felt really right and truthful and honest, to me and to him. Lo and behold, it’s a video game. My dad introduced me to games when I was really young.”

In a press release, EA describes the Metroidvania-style game as “a heartfelt single-player action-adventure platformer about the love between a father and son and the transformative power of loss.”

Players will step into the shoes of hero Zau, who receives a Bantu tale written by his late father and becomes inspired to journey through mystical 2.5-D realms as he pursues the powers of the warrior shaman.

Tales of Kenzera: Zau
Tales of Kenzera: Zau

“I’m a big believer that games are the most powerful way of conveying an experience and sharing story across all other mediums, mainly because you as a player are actively involved in going on the journey with the characters you’re stepping into the shoes of. The characters are essentially acting as a conduit for you to take in the story and as the character learns about the world,” Salim says.

“For me, when it comes to this idea of trying to vocalize what that journey of grief is, it just felt like, ‘Let me just give you it as an experience and let you go on it, rather than necessarily telling you about it.’”

Tales of Kenzera: ZAU comes to Playstation 5, Xbox Series X|S, PC and Nintendo Switch on April 23, 2024.

Watch the trailer now:

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