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Sifu - What We Know So Far

Sony surprised viewers during its 2021 State of Play broadcast event by releasing a glimpse of Sifu, a new martial arts game from Sloclap, the French game studio known for martial arts RPG Absolver. Though there aren't many details known about Sifu just yet, players can glean something from the title, which means "teacher" in Chinese. More specifically, it refers to the lifelong bond between a martial arts student and their master. Titles can often hold the key to what a game is about or what themes it will touch on, and that seems to be the case here, based on the evidence provided so far.


Speaking of evidence, it seems that Sloclap is keeping its secrets close regarding Sifu. Luckily for fans, there are a few more exciting things to note about the game's announcement. Sony's State of Play revealed some key details, including a tentative release date, a trailer, and hints of what kind of gameplay to expect.

Does Sifu have a release date?

Yes and no. The trailer indicated that Sifu will appear on the PS5 sometime in 2021, but assigned no specific date to the game. Meanwhile, the Epic Games Store's listing simply says that Sifu will be "coming soon." Neither of these sources provide a definite release date, but they do give players some hope that the game will release sooner rather than later.


Hopefully, Sifu will be able to maintain a tight production schedule and move along towards its promised 2021 window. This may be made possible with the help of funds from the Kowloon Nights endowment. According to Polygon, Kowloon Nights is a "video game investment fund" that has given money to nearly two dozen indie studios, which led to the creation of Ebb Software's Scorn. While Sifu isn't the first game to receive some funding from Kowloon Nights, the trailer appears to have proven that Sloclap has put that funding to good use. 

Does Sifu have a trailer?

The trailer for Sifu was revealed at Sony's State of Play on Feb. 25. The trailer begins with a martial artist paying homage to a picture of an older gentleman by lighting incense, then stretching to warm up his muscles. The trailer then cuts to a long hallway where a group of men scowl at the protagonist, daring him to fight. And fight he does.


The protagonist dynamically makes his way down the poorly lit hallway, punching his way through the entire group. Eventually, the protagonist gets knocked out, then seems to dramatically age as he lies on the floor. The rest of the trailer shows similar situations, with the protagonist aging as he makes his way through a variety of dangerous environments, punching and kicking all the way.

Epic Games' description of Sifu called it a game about a "young Kung-Fu student on a path of revenge." This hint could mean that the protagonist wants revenge for his fallen master, or "sifu," and in the process must become the master himself over time. Whatever the case, the game appears to have luscious visuals that show off every detail of every punch thrown.


What is Sifu's gameplay like?

Absolver has been described as a martial arts RPG that featured "fighting game mechanics," and Sifu seems to be following in its footsteps. Epic Games described Sifu as "a third person action game featuring intense hand-to-hand combat," indicating that the game leans heavily on beat-em-up style gameplay. The trailer surely shows that there will be lots of fighting in the game, but it's still too early to know what type of game Sifu will be just yet.


Epic Games' description also explained that Sifu will rely on players' ability to adapt to any given situation through "Careful positioning and clever use of the environment." Players can also utilize pieces from the setting itself, such as "throwable objects, makeshift weapons, windows and ledges." Sifu will likely challenge players, as it offers them "no mercy." 

Sifu looks brutal and punishing in the most entertaining ways. Hopefully fans can see more in the next few months as Sloclap prepares it for release.