Aurion: Legacy of the Kori-Odan
Out now on Steam
During PAX East, I had a moment to test out and talk to the CEO of Kiro’o Games and creator of the first African Fantasy RPG, Olivier Madiba. I was really drawn to this game because it is the first one I have ever heard of that touches on the mythology and lore of Africa. This 2D Fantasy-Action-RPG has been a long-time dream of the developers (12 years), and all their hard work has finally produced a wonderfully colored and storied game, Aurion Legacy of the Kori-Odan.
One of the challenges the creative team had while making this game, was the power outages. Imagine trying to problem solve a glitch in the game or just working on a portion of the project when “Boom” the power flickers and goes out, ruining whatever project you were on. During these power outages and restrictive internet access delays, the developers would pass time from their coding by telling each other stories and brainstorm what they wanted to put into the game itself. After all, that is what this game’s real goal is, to teach players around the world about African culture.
Power outages weren’t the only problems faced. The development of the game took place during the energy crisis in Cameroon where outages can last days or even weeks, a problem since most of Kiro’o Games electricity comes from hydroelectricity power. So the company tried to schedule the coding and working at night when they had power and often would lose a week of progress when power went out! It’s no question Aurion would have been produced quicker and have more features if they weren’t under power constraints.
Olivier is the founder of the game studio, game designer and programmer, he expressed that one of the inspirations for this game was Final Fantasy 7, and you can see a lot of the influence in the game. The theme of Aurion, aside from the lore and myths from Africa, is “The inner path to become a leader” as you play the Prince of Zama, Enzo Kori-Odan and try to channel your ancestors with the power of the Aurion. Olivier wants to try and break an “exotic wall” where players have an aversion to games if it’s something they don’t know or understand. As an example, Olivier uses Ryu from Street Fighter and his now iconic Hadouken and how gamers don’t think anything differently about it as we accept its origin. To a point, Olivier wants players to play Aurion Legacy of the Kori-Odan and think “this game is dope” and not be put off by the fact that it’s an African fantasy game.
From playing the game for just a few minutes at PAX East, I immediately felt comfortable with the mechanics and button assignments. I was able to get additional time with the game at home and the combat and exploration of the 2D world felt very familiar. This really helps the player focus on the strong African lore driven story and not get lost in the mechanics of the game. The colors of the game showcase the rich and vibrant palette of the African culture. Exploring the world of Aurion is seamless from walking around to combat. The few cut scenes that I have seen in my few short hours playing the game are wonderfully scripted and immerse you into the role of the leader you need to be.
Visually, you can really see the effort and heart that went into creating this game. And the gameplay is as much fun as it is educational. If you are looking for the rare non-Japanese foreign rpg, then you need to check out Aurion. Out now on steam