How Grief and a Deep Love of Games Is at the Centerpiece of Tales of Kenzera: Zau

Exploring the World of Tales of Kenzera: Zau

Tales of Kenzera: Zau introduces players to the story of a young shaman named Zau who strikes a deal with Kalunga, the God of Death. In exchange for three great spirits, Zau hopes to bring his father back to the realm of the living. As players start the game, they take on the role of Zuberi, who receives a book from his deceased father. This book serves as a final means of connection with his father, guiding players into the world of Kenzera.

According to the developer, the inspiration behind this narrative choice stems from a personal experience. Reflecting on the impact of finding a book with his father’s handwriting after his passing, the developer shared, “When I was clearing my father’s things after he passed away, there was this book that he left which contained his handwriting. And it meant so much to me. Because it felt as if I was looking at his handwriting, I could almost bring him back to life, imagining him, you know, writing it, and this essentially inspired how we get into this story.”

The game is set in the metroidvania genre, a choice that the developer, Salim, explains is deliberate. The structure of the genre mirrors the experience of grief in many ways. Players are thrust into an unfamiliar and unpredictable world, much like navigating through stages of grief. However, as players delve deeper into the game, exploring its mysterious and shadowy corners at their own pace, they begin to find comfort and familiarity within the world of Kenzera.