Announced during February 2021’s State of Play (as the only new game, no less), Sloclap’s Sifu (pronounced “she-foo”, meaning “master” or “teacher”) is the newest game from the makers of Absolver that looks like it’s going to chop its way onto many wishlists this year.
The announcement trailer shows a seemingly rapidly ageing fighter as he punches his way through hallways, Oldboy style, with Sloclap’s distinct aesthetic and Kung Fu callbacks catching the eye. It’s pretty much a love letter to Kung Fu, just as Absolver was to martial arts in general.
Launching this year for PC, PS5, and PS4, here’s everything we know about the exciting Sifu so far.
1. It’s All About Revenge Against The Clock
Is it really even a Kung Fu story if there’s no revenge involved?
Playing as a (so far) unnamed protagonist, you’re tasked with hunting down your family’s assassins after eight years of training and claiming your vengeance all within the same day. It will be fascinating to see how this time limit plays into things.
In terms of locales, Sifu will transport you from the dangerous suburbs right to the top of society, so it looks like you will be brawling in more than dingy hallways over the course of the game. You’ll also be able to choose whether to play as a male or female fighter, though apparently not much in the way of a character creator.
2. It’s Going To Be Single-Player
While Absolver was also single-player, it really just acted as the intro for the multiplayer that was the main meat of the game.
Sifu, meanwhile, is entirely single-player, which means that there will be more of a focus on the narrative this time out. As Absolver was intentionally abstract with its storyelling, it will be fascinating to see how Sloclap approach the story here — what was the last single-player martial arts game with a good narrative?
Despite their size, Sloclap supported Absolver pretty well over the years so them eventually adding some kind of multiplayer isn’t out of the question, but don’t expect it.
3. A Magical Pendant Gives and Takes Life
If you’re wondering how the protagonist is ageing so rapidly in the reveal trailer, it’s not because of intense stress. Though as someone whose hairline took a battering thanks to 2020, I wouldn’t be surprised.
Every time you die in Sifu, you’re brought back to life by a magical pendant with the caveat of rapid ageing. What this means is that you will essentially have a finite amount of attempts until you die of old age, which is, frankly, a brilliant concept.
Whether your age also affects your fighting prowess is yet to be seen, though the fact that your protagonist could spend an entire life seeking revenge in the blink of an eye seems like a solid basis for a parable on the follies of revenge. And also kicking dudes in the face.
4. It’s An Epic Games Store PC Exclusive
While no two people will ever be able to agree on Epic’s approach to store exclusivity, it really does just make financial sense for Sloclap with Sifu, especially as it seems like it will be a self-published title.
If you can’t tolerate multiple launchers and storefronts, most Epic exlusives are timed for one year, so it will most likely come to Steam at some point in the future. If you’re really on the fence about it all, remember that Hades launched exclusively for EGS during its early access and that one turned out just fine.
5. You’re Learning Pak-Mei Kung Fu
Pak-Mei Kung Fu is the main fighting style of Sifu that’s noted for being very fast and aggressive, something that’s good to have in your locker when you’re fighting against the clock as well as hordes of baddies.
Based in self-defence, Pak-Mei’s origins date back to around 1647 during the reign of Emperor Kang Xi in China and was created by a monk of the same name. Pak Mei was known for visiting temples across the Buddhist temples in the south of China and was recognisable for his white eyebrows, leading to a similar nickname. In pop culture, he is most known in the west for being Pai Mei in Kill Bill, Vol. 2, the master of the Five Point Palm Exploding Heart Technique.
While that’s sadly not likely to be a move in the game (but it would be exceptionally dope if it did), Sloclap co-founder Jordan Layani practices Pak-Mei Kung Fu himself. In addition, his very own shifu was consulted on the martial art, so it’s pretty much guaranteed that this game will be pretty faithful and realistic. Apart from all the resurrecting, of course.
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