Based on opposite sides of the continent (Ghana and Kenya), Leti Arts has been making history since its inception in 2009. More than a decade later, the studio continues to lead the way as one of the pioneers of the African video games industry. In 2020 it was chosen by Riot Games to manage the auditioning of the cast and to create Astra’s character background, visual correctness, and voiceover.

Early October 2022 The National Film Authority in Ghana announced. “Leti Arts is the local narrative consultant for the first Ghanaian video game character Astra, in the global hit game ‘VALORANT’ by Riot Games one of the biggest video game companies in the world.” I had no idea Leti Arts had worked as a narrative consultant as well so I sort out more information.

Before we dive too deep, Astra is a controller. In VALORANT, controllers are one of the four roles that agents are divided into. Controllers are experts in cutting enemy vision and taking control of an area in order to set their team up for success. Astra is the fourth controller to enter the game.

She has her roots in Ghana and was inspired by African Futurism. John Goscicki the character designer on VALORANT said, “To make sure those grounded elements were represented properly we worked with a consultant on the details.”

When asked about the impact the character Astra has had within the Ghanaian gaming community, Eyram the CEO of Leti Arts had the following to say, “ Actually, I’d say Astra is Ghana’s biggest ambassador both locally and globally showcasing our rich culture, language and attitudes via one of the best video games in the world. Technically every local VALORANT player knows Astra and is totally shocked to know her development had anything to do with a local company and actress.”

The Ghanaian character harnesses the energies of the cosmos to reshape battlefields to her whim. With full command of her astral form and a talent for deep strategic foresight, she’s always eons ahead of her enemy’s next move.

Eyram added, “ I am always so happy each time I see a gameplay on YouTube by a Korean or some other national playing the character and getting surprised by her singing, her Chale phrases or “aboa” chants. The gesture of Riot choosing a Ghanaian nationality for Astra and actually working with a local Ghanaian narrative consultant to shape the character right and cast for voice-overs locally shows their significant confidence in the local gaming and creative industry. Gaming definitely has a future in Africa and for that matter Ghana. This has opened more doors for us as a company and taught us a lot with our work process when dealing with such huge giants.”

On that note, speaking on what has changed internally after the consultancy regarding Leti Arts’ ability to entice foreign collaborations Eyram said “ A lot has changed over the past years with our structure of work and our efficient online/remote setup. We now have a 100% remote work policy and a great setup to efficiently work with our clients, collaborators, co-producers and employees in a well-supervised environment that has increased our output and quality of work. Most of our internal games and great opportunities sufficed due to how this approach helps us to leverage new talent and also engage with our clients and foreign co-production companies.

A typical example of a co-production going well is Leti Arts working on Shkorey a game about sexual health with 8D Games based in the Netherlands.