Update: After this article was published, we heard more about Sifu in a meeting with its executive producer. It will be singleplayer-only, although it does not include Absolver’s level of moveset customization, it has some ideas of its own. Hop over to this interview for the latest details.
First story: The films Oldboy and The Raid come to mind as the most obvious recent(ish) reference points for Sifu, a kung-fu brawler announced during a PlayStation flow now. The filthy hallway in the trailer looks fairly familiar, for instance. What is really exciting, though, is not just that Sifu is reminiscent of some cool films, but the developer behind it is well-equipped to nail the substance.
Sifu is the next game from Sloclap, the studio behind under-loved fighting game Absolver. There are a whole lot of ways Absolver is great, but to me, its very best feature is the ability to customize your fighting style, blending and matching moves to style your own complex rhythm. As a fan of 1978 Jackie Chan movie Drunken Master, I spent a very long time developing my skills with Absolver’s clumsy-looking Stagger-style moves, and had just as much fun testing my skills against other players since I did experimenting with movesets against AI fighters.
Contrary to Absolver, Sifu does not seem to get a PvP component –it could, but Sloclap hasn’t mentioned one, therefore I’ll have to ask. The attention of this trailer is all on the singleplayer story, which seems to possess a roguelite structure of sorts. The assumption is that we’ve spent our lives training to take revenge on the assassins who murdered our family, but have to do it in a single moment.
“To overcome the odds that are heavily stacked against you, you’ll need to rely on your mastery of Kung Fu, and onto a magic pendant that will revive you after death,” reads a description of the game delivered to PC Gamer. “The cost of magic is dear, nevertheless, and you will age significantly every time you return to life: time is that the price you will pay for your revenge.”
I’m uncertain how much the customization that I like so much in Absolver will perform a role in Sifu, if it plays any role at all (I intend to ask about that, too!) , but it’s clear that your personality will pick up some new items on the way.
“Learn from the errors, unlock unique skills, and find the strength within yourself to master the most devastating techniques of Pak-Mei Kung-Fu,” reads the match summary. “Your family’s heritage is dependent upon it”
Even if Absolver’s moveset system doesn’t appear again , its push-and-pull combat is a great deal of fun in general, so I’ve got high hopes for Sifu. (The title, by the way, refers to a teacher or master.)
The PlayStation versions were clearly emphasized in the statement on Sony’s stream today, but Sifu can also be releasing PC on the Epic Games Store. There’s no particular launch date yet, but it is scheduled to come out sometime this autumn.