Tales of Kenzera: ZAU dev on the importance of representation in games

"There can be heroes that look like me"

19 March 2024
by quence 2

Tales of Kenzera: ZAU is an upcoming Metroidvania game for Switch inspired by the myths of Bantu cultures. It’s not the kind of subject matter that’s covered in most video games, which is an important factor for creator Abubakar Salim. Salim was previously a voice actor in games like Assassin’s Creed: Origins, but now he’s bringing his own experiences to the forefront.

Speaking with Eurogamer, Salim explains how meaningful it’s been for him to see African myths and cultures depicted in media. Tales of Kenzera: ZAU is an attempt to continue that thread, as it’s based on African mythology as well as Salim’s own personal experiences with grief.

The beautiful thing about what Black Panther did was it essentially showed there can be heroes that look like me. The feeling I had when watching was I wish I had this when I was a kid, because it shows to me, as an actor, I don’t have to be the best friend of the cop, or the buddy character. I can actually be a hero. If this game has that same effect to audiences and to players and developers, then great. We’re doing a good thing. I want to go for that.

[The success of Black Panther] connects to everyone on a deep level of just wanting to hear more cool stories. I think if this game is able to inspire the next generation of developers and even players to build and conjure cooler stuff than ours, then we’re winning.

[Abubakar Salim, Eurogamer]

Click here to read more on the subject from Salim and other members of the dev team. Tales of Kenzera: ZAU will arrive on Switch April 23, 2024.

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Comments (2)


1M ago

Who cares about any of that? It's irrelevant. Black kids LOVE their anime. The really important question is this: Is the game fun?


1M ago

Good grief. I have identified with numerous characters in my childhood and didn't give two shits about nationality.

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