African video game makers are breaking into the global industry with their own stories
As a teenager, Madiba Guillaume Olivier dreamt of moving from Cameroon to Europe or the United States to pursue his passion for video games. The son of a video store owner, Olivier grew up fixated on playing games—and hoped to study the profession and join the industry.
As he waited to realize his dream of moving away, Olivier started going online to learn the basics of game design. While studying computer science at the University of Yaoundé in the country’s capital in 2003, Olivier partnered with a group of friends to work on their dream project, titled Aurion: Legacy of the Kori-Odan. The action-packed, 2D fantasy game involves prince Enzo, and his fiancée Erine, trying to reclaim power in the Auriona planet after being betrayed by a family member. For years, while working as website developers, Olivier and his team slowly improved their game design skills, tweaked the game, and learned about design concepts and iterations.
Olivier never did move. In 2011, after years writing different scenarios of the Aurion game, he and his team released their first official version. Two years later, emboldened by the support from fans, he co-founded Kiro’o Games: Cameroon’s first ever game studio in Cameroon and one of only a handful across the world to produce an African-themed mythical video game. After a successful Kickstarter campaign, the studio released Aurion in April 2016 via the global distribution platform Steam. The studio, which has also hired 18 more artists and programmers, hopes to go further and place itself as a hub for creating innovative cultural products like comics, cartoons, and also films. Full Story