Taking the stage in the Preshow of The Game Awards this year was Lual Mayan, a young game designer and former refugee from South Sudan.
Now, the 24-year-old is spearheading his own game project with Salaam, a game based on Mayan's own personal experiences growing up as a refugee from his home.
Named after the Arabic word for 'Peace', Salaam is a simple runner game where players will experience the stress and tension of being a refugee of their own. The game itself starts in a harrowing way, avoiding gunfire while the player as a refugee runs for their life, desperately trying to find refuge before they are killed.
Salaam is more than just a game though for Mayan and his indie team named Junub Games. Mayan hopes to use the experience in Salaam to raise awareness for ongoing refugee crisis all over the world, including the one still ravaging his own country in South Sudan.A major feature in Salaam is learning about the hardships refugees experience, from fear and tension of death, to malnourishment, sickness, hunger and dehydration. The lack of resources will be a constant battle for the player, and in turn, Mayan hopes it helps to educate players worldwide about the harsh conditions that millions of refugees have to endure daily.
To also help this, Mayan has devised an interesting form of microtransactions for Salaam. Every time a player runs out of energy in the game, they have the chance to keep playing by buying in-game items, from medkits to food. These items, however, serve a dual purpose of not only allowing players to keep playing, but also to help real-life refugees in the process. Thanks to the help of non-profits and NGO's Salaam will donate real-life supplies each time a player of the game purchases an item.
The mix of charity and empathy for a simple runner game is a great combination, and Salaam is already gaining traction for a full release. Mayan did have an unsuccessful Kickstarter campaign for the game, but the presence of Salaam at The Game Awards shows that the project is not dead yet.
Currently though, Salaam has no official release date, but it is planned to be released as a facebook game and for mobile devices in the Summer of 2020.
What are your thoughts on Salaam? Leave your comments below!