Everything We Know About Tales of Kenzera: Zau So Far

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Everything We Know About Tales of Kenzera: Zau So Far

Here’s everything we know about the upcoming Metroidvania title, Tales of Kenzera: Zau.

For Metroidvania fans everywhere, 2024 is shaping up to be a pretty exciting year. Although there’s still no word about Hollow Knight: Silksong, the recently released Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown was a major entry to the genre. And now, it seems we’re about to get another one that promises to be every bit as great! 

If you haven’t been keeping tabs, Tales of Kenzera: Zau is an upcoming action adventure Metroidvania from Surgent Studios. It’s a new developer studio founded by the actor Abubakar Salim, and this will be their debut title. But hey – if they managed to impress Electronic Arts, it’s a safe bet to assume the game is going to be amazing.

So, what exactly is the game all about? And why should it be on your radar?

That’s what you’ll find out in this article!

Here’s a complete breakdown of everything we’ve seen so far about Tales of Kenzera: Zau.

Tales of Kenzera: Zau – Inspiration and Development

Everything We Know About Tales of Kenzera: Zau So Far
Credit: Electronic Arts

You know how they say the best art often stems from personal experience? Well, that’s definitely the case with Tales of Kenzera: Zau! This passion project has been a labor of love for Abubakar Salim, the creative mastermind known for lending his voice to Bayek in Assassin’s Creed Origins.

Salim founded Surgent Studios back in 2019 with Tales of Kenzera: Zau as their inaugural game in the works. But this isn’t just any game – it’s a deeply personal exploration of grief that took shape after Salim’s own father passed away. In his own words, the Metroidvania genre was “the perfect encapsulation of what grief is.” 

The game was first announced by the actor himself at the Game Awards 2023. His heartfelt speech about the game and its inspiration was followed by a wholesome round of applause from the audience. 

The trailer was pretty exciting, covering most of the bases right from the get-go. We got glimpses of the different platforming sections and traversal abilities, along with some small combat segments. They also gave us a release date – April 23rd, 2024. 

But the bigger reveal came just a couple of weeks back at the Xbox Partner Showcase, where the devs gave us a complete gameplay trailer for the title. It touched on things like specific abilities and how you can use them in the game. 

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For now, we’re happy that the game will be released soon. The game’s Twitter page is pretty active, too, with regular announcements and sneak peeks from the devs to keep the fans in the loop. Just recently, they announced the voice cast for the game, showcasing talents like Steve Toussaint, Simona Brown, and many others!

What We Know About Tales of Kenzera: Zau

With mere weeks left before its release, we’re pretty excited to try out Tales of Kenzera: Zau ourselves. Here’s a quick breakdown of everything we know about the game so far:

1. Premise

Everything We Know About Tales of Kenzera: Zau So Far

The plot of Tales of Kenzera: Zau is an emotional one. You step into the shoes of Zau, a young shaman who just lost his father. But being unable to cope with the grief, he sets off on a journey to retrieve his Baba by negotiating a deal with none other than the God of Death. 

The game tells the story of how the young shaman comes to terms with his emotions, makes peace with loss and death, and becomes a worthy Nganga – a spiritual healer.

As the actor Abubakar Salim confessed, the story draws from his own experience of loss and how love can eventually give you the courage to move on. From the trailers, it’s also clear that this game will focus heavily on African lore and mythology.

The game features a 2.5D art style with beautiful environments filled with dangers and tragedies. While the game’s story seems pretty straightforward, the story behind each environment seems a lot deeper.

It’s pretty obvious that Ori and the Blind Forest was one of their primary inspirations for the environment and world design. We don’t think it’s a bad thing, though, as the environment feels pretty original and exciting to explore.

2. Gameplay

Everything We Know About Tales of Kenzera: Zau So Far

Tales of Kenzera: Zau is a Metroidvania through and through with plenty of combat, platforming, and abilities to unlock. Zau wields two masks for combat that he can switch between seamlessly: The Mask of the Moon and The Mask of the Sun. 

The Mask of the Moon is the ranged form of combat where you can fire quick volleys of projectiles to take down enemies from a distance. The Mask of the Sun, on the other hand, switches to a much more aggressive melee form, requiring you to rush into enemies as you take them down with deadly combos.

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Everything We Know About Tales of Kenzera: Zau So Far

Each form also gives you access to different, unique abilities that you need to unlock using Shaman Points. You earn Ulogi(experience) as you defeat enemies and progress through the game, and once you get enough, you acquire a Shaman Point. Defeated enemies also drop Spirits that you can use to instantly heal a chunk of your health when it drops too low.

There are also different Spirit Abilities that you can acquire and use to aid you in combat. These are powerful abilities that can dish out massive damage to a group of enemies. 

Other than that, you also get different abilities that you can use both for traversal and combat. In the trailer, we saw two of these abilities: Bamba’s Stone, which can freeze enemies or move water, and Akida’s Spear, which can activate Fuses or attack enemies.

Everything We Know About Tales of Kenzera: Zau So Far

You can also hunt down different Trinkets in the game. Equipping them grants different perks, such as increasing the amount of spirits gained or boosting your damage under certain conditions. 

We also know for a fact that there will be some epic boss battles in the game. The gameplay trailer gave us a glimpse of a Bird-type boss that brings down thunder in the arena. Pretty cool, right?

Everything We Know About Tales of Kenzera: Zau So Far
Credit: Electronic Arts

4. Release Date

Everything We Know About Tales of Kenzera: Zau So Far
Credit: Game8

Tales of Kenzera: Zau is set to release on April 23rd, 2024. 

5. Release Platforms

Everything We Know About Tales of Kenzera: Zau So Far

Tales of Kenzera: Zau will be available for purchase on all major platforms. For Windows PC you can buy the game via both Steam and Epic Games. Other than that, you can buy it for PlayStation 5, Xbox Series S|X  and Nintendo Switch. Unfortunately, the game won’t be available for old-gen consoles like the Xbox One and PlayStation 4.

6. Available Editions and Price

Everything We Know About Tales of Kenzera: Zau So Far

There’s only one edition available for Tales of Kenzera: Zau – the “Standard Edition,” priced at $19.99.

However, buying the game before its release date will give you access to a couple of pre-order bonuses. Those who pre-order Tales of Kenzera will get the following bonuses: 

  • A 10% discount, bringing the price down to $17.99
  • Kalunga’s Blessing visual effect variant
  • Two Shaman Points that unlock up to 2 skills in-game
  • “Soulshifters” digital companion comic book

That’s all we have for you so far. We hope you’re just as excited for Tales of Kenzera: Zau as we are. Cheers!

Everything We Know About Tales of Kenzera: Zau So Far
The Old One
When he's not sighing at sub-standard teammates in Dota 2 and CS2, The Old One is writing about those two games (among other things). If you see his name around the site too many times for your liking, well, the guy just never stops writing. Yes, we've tried an intervention.