Tales of Kenzera: Zau studio, founded by Assassin’s Creed Origins actor, lay off staff less than three months after debut game

Surgent Studios, developers of this year’s fetching Afrofuturist platformer Tales of Kenzera: Zau, have laid off more than a dozen staff. The cuts come just over two months on from the release of the debut video game release from the multimedia studio founded by Assassin’s Creed Origins star Abubakar Salim.

Before Tales of Kenzera: Zau, Surgent contributed to a number of films starting with 2021’s The Whale, through to this year’s Wild Goat Surf. The studio bill themselves as focusing on storytelling across a variety of media, from games and film to podcasts, with Zau being their first video game project.

News of layoffs first broke via posts from former employees on LinkedIn (thanks, Game Developer), including a level designer and technical artist. Surgent subsequently confirmed the cuts by stating that “just over a dozen people” had been affected, with Salim listing producers, artists and animators as among those laid off.

“It’s a difficult time in the games industry, but we remain incredibly proud of our entire team’s work on Zau and of the praise it has received from critics and players alike,” they continued, before adding that the studio’s focus would be on “supporting those affected, continuing our work on Zau, and looking to the future with our next creative projects”.

Zau was revealed at the end of last year as a moving metroidvania inspired both by African Bantu cultures and Salim’s own experiences of grief. In our review around its release on April 23rd, Alice Bee (RPS in Peace) praised its sensitively-told story and beautiful design, while finding its platforming and combat to be a little imprecise at times.

Surgent are yet to announce their next project or future plans for Zau. Best of luck to those affected by the layoffs.

By admin

Related Post