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Abubakar Salim’s Emotional Speech About His Dad Won The Game Awards For Us

Tales of Kenzera: Zau
Image: Surgent Studios

It’s rare that The Game Awards makes us teary – well, aside from the dread of having to stay up until 4am to watch it. But Abubakar Salim’s appearance on stage to announce his brand new game got us a little misty-eyed.

The British actor is mainly known for his impressive voice work portfolio, most notably his role as Bayek in Assassin’s Creed Origins. He’s done live acting too, including roles in Raised by Wolves and Jamestown. But Abubakar Salim has recently turned his hand to game development after founding his own studio – Surgent Studios.

At yesterday’s Game Awards, Abubakar arrived on stage to announce the studio’s first game, Tales of Kenzera: Zau. His introduction to the game was a beautifully personal speech about him, how important games have been to him throughout his life, and how they brought him and his late father closer together.

“This is crazy being up here,” he laughed. “I mean I remember watching The Game Awards when I was younger and now I’m standing here?” He went on to list some of his favourite games before mentioning his dad.

Watch Abubakar’s speech, and the trailer for Tales of Kenzera: Zau below:

“He got me into them,” Abubakar said. “He understood that games are an art form – a great space to enjoy and escape the reality of the world. He passed away a while back, and I still feel like I’m figuring it out.”

“Four years ago I decided I needed to try and process my grief in a way that felt true to me and him. So I took the biggest risk of my life and threw everything I had at making a game, a piece of art, that honoured him… an ode to the people that we have loved and lost.”

We’re wiping away our tears at this point, not going to lie. That ode to Abubakar’s father is Tales of Kenzera: Zau. It’s a single-player action-platformer with a premise revolving around finding hope after experiencing great loss.

Tales of Kenzera: Zau
Image: Surgent Studios

Players will take on the role of the titular Zau as he sets out on a mission to bring his father back from the brink of death. It’s inspired by Bantu culture, with a beautiful and striking art style and an original score by Nainita Desai.

We only got a glimpse of Tales of Kenzera: Zau, but it looks great. And, for the sake of Abubakar Salim and his good old dad, we hope it’s every bit as wonderful as it looks. We won’t have to wait too long to get our hands on it: it’s set to release on 23rd April 2024, coming to PS5, Xbox Series X/S, Switch and PC.

Editor in chief // Kim's been into video games since playing Dizzy on her brother's Commodore 64 as a nipper. She'll give just about anything a go, but she's got a particular soft spot for indie adventures. If she's not gaming, she'll be building Lego, reading a thriller, watching something spooky or... asleep. She does love to sleep.