Tales of Kenzera: ZAU, the just-released Metroidvania and debut game from Surgent Studios, is inspired by Bantu cultures and Abubakar Salim, the game’s creative director’s experience dealing with grief. That’s not something we often see tackled in a Metroidvania, and in a new interview Salim explains the choice.

Speaking with The Gamer, Salim reveals that he saw Metroidvanias as the perfect metaphor for working through grief.

“The Metroidvania genre is exactly like grief. In a sense, you’re thrown into a world you have no control over, you’re kind of lost in it. You’re winging it and there’s no guide or book as to how to go through it and you’re discovering secrets as you go along.”

[Abubakar Salim, creative director]

In Tales of Kenzera: ZAU, embark on a poignant single-player story shaped by actor Abubakar Salim’s own experience with grief, discovering how love gives us the courage to press on after devastating loss. Wield powers from the Sun and the Moon to defeat restless spirits in rhythmic combat and become a worthy Nganga: a spiritual healer. Discover a rich universe with untold lore of chaos and order and journey through mystical 2.5D realms awash with color and depth, emboldened by multi-award-winning composer Nainita Desai’s enchanting original score.

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