'It's our way of making a statement in the face of targeted harassment': Tales of Kenzera: Zau director lowers the price of the game on Switch

A character with two floating masks either side of him, one blue one yellow
(Image credit: Surgent Studios)

Abubakar Salim, the director and creator of Tales of Kenzera: Zau and founder of Surgent Studios, has been speaking out over the last few days, issuing several statements addressing the harassment that swelled around the studio and its new game. 

"So I didn't want to address this, but we're here now," Salim says in a short video he uploaded to social media. During this, he discusses how his accomplishments have been diminished time and time again, "I've had to ignore people saying that it wasn't the work that got me the opportunities, no, it was simply because I'm black, and I've turned the other cheek and just kept doing my thing. But some of these comments, a few of them you can just brush off, but when it's a constant barrage of them, it's exhausting." 

He goes on to say that the swirl of harassment around Zau is "constant and targeted from people who see diversity as a threat." This comes amid various harassment campaigns that have targeted diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts in the gaming industry. 

"There's always a reason why diverse stories can't exist," Salim says. "Either we're doing it the wrong way, or it's just there to tick boxes." Instead of trying to build these exclusionary walls, Salim believes that he and no one else should just be told that their story and representation doesn''t matter and that just because the characters in a game don't look like you doesn't mean you can't enjoy it. 

"I really do believe that games are for everyone," Salim continues. "That's why I set Zau's cost at the price of pizza. So I'm going to put my money where my mouth is." Following this video, Zau's price on Switch was lowered, making the bar of entry more accessible to those who want to play. While there's been no mention of the price being lowered on other platforms so far, this could be due to behind-the-scenes complications.

Salim has subsequently tweeted, "It’s our way of making a statement in the face of targeted harassment. It’s a miracle we were able to action this so soon. It’s largely thanks to the efforts and support of many people on our side and the publishing side." Changing the price can be "difficult to orchestrate," especially when Surgent Studios still needs to adhere to its business responsibilities and be "respectful to our partners." 

Tales of Kenzera: Zau is a solid metroidvania, with our review scoring it a respectable 73. While it may be slightly light on the exploration, the vibrant locations, beautiful story, interesting characters, and creative puzzle-solving make it something that's definitely worth checking out. 

Elie Gould
News Writer

Elie is a news writer with an unhealthy love of horror games—even though their greatest fear is being chased. When they're not screaming or hiding, there's a good chance you'll find them testing their metal in metroidvanias or just admiring their Pokemon TCG collection. Elie has previously worked at TechRadar Gaming as a staff writer and studied at JOMEC in International Journalism and Documentaries – spending their free time filming short docs about Smash Bros. or any indie game that crossed their path.