Surgent Studios, the creators of the recently released Afrofuturist platformer Tales of Kenzera: Zau, have made the difficult decision to lay off more than a dozen of their staff members. This move comes just a couple of months after the debut of their first video game project, which was spearheaded by Abubakar Salim, known for his role in Assassin’s Creed Origins. The layoffs were confirmed by former employees on LinkedIn, with positions such as level designers and technical artists being affected. Surgent Studio acknowledged the layoffs, mentioning that producers, artists, and animators were among those let go.

The layoffs at Surgent Studios shed light on the challenges faced by the games industry, where talented individuals can be let go despite their contributions to a project. Despite the difficult circumstances, the studio expressed pride in the work done on Zau and the positive reception it received from critics and players. Moving forward, Surgent Studios plans to support those affected by the layoffs, continue development on Zau, and explore future creative projects.

Tales of Kenzera: Zau was revealed as a metroidvania game influenced by African Bantu cultures and Salim’s personal experiences with grief. The game garnered praise for its poignant storytelling and visually stunning design upon its release. However, some critics noted that the platforming and combat mechanics could be more refined. As of now, Surgent Studios has not disclosed any details regarding their next project or the future of Zau.

The layoffs at Surgent Studios serve as a reminder of the unpredictable nature of the games industry, where talented individuals may face job uncertainty despite their hard work and dedication. It is crucial for studios to provide support for those affected by such layoffs and to maintain transparency regarding future projects and plans. As the industry continues to evolve, it is essential for both companies and employees to adapt to the changing landscape and to continue pushing boundaries in game development.


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