Sony’s latest State of Play livestream featured more than a few surprises for PlayStation fans, with one of the biggest standouts being a new, stylish kung fu action game called Sifu. If viewers thought it looked similar to another recent martial arts-focused game, Absolver, that’s because it is, as both Absolver and Sifu come from developer Sloclap.
But that’s where the similarities end. Absolver put a heavy emphasis on multiplayer action, while Sifu looks to be a single-player experience that will see players become a kung fu master over the course of the game.
Although Sifu was just announced, much can be gleaned from its story and official developer info. From its unique death mechanic to its martial arts movie inspirations, here’s everything known about Sifu so far.
Sifu sees players become a young kung fu student on a quest for vengeance after their family is mysteriously assassinated. Players will hunt down the killers across a variety of locations within in a fictional Chinese city, battling foes through the gang-filled streets and into the cloud-piercing corporate towers that form the city’s skyline. A magical pendant protects the player character from death, but with a cost: They live to fight another day, but years are taken off their life. Each death sees the student getting older but also wiser, unlocking new abilities along the way. Players can experience this journey when Sifu launches on on PS5, PS4, and PC (via the Epic Games Store) on an unspecified date in 2021.
A kung fu-inspired 3D brawler, Sifu will have players battling enemies with their fists, feet, and whatever makeshift tools – like bottles and pipes – are available in the environment. These environments themselves will play a key role when it comes to taking on groups of enemies, too, as players can push enemies down stairs or over ledges. Players will need to position themselves wisely and gain every advantage they can to overcome the odds.
As is obvious from a look at the game’s trailer, Sifu is heavily inspired by kung fu and martial arts cinema. In an interview with IGN, Sloclap co-founders Pierre Tarno and Jordan Layani cited Jackie Chan’s filmography, the 1981 Hong Kong martial arts film The Prodigal Son, and martial arts movies like The Raid as some of the inspirations behind Sifu’s design.
The game also draws from personal experience. Layani and other members of the development team actually practice Bak Mei Kung Fu, which lends the game’s action a sense of authenticity. The idea of “dying” and coming back older and wiser as a mechanic is inspired by kung fu philosophy of obtaining mastery through practice. It wouldn’t be fitting for players to simply improve their skills by readying a book, after all. Instead, the aging mechanic is meant to symbolize the many years it takes to obtain mastery of a martial art.
Sifu will launch on PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, and PC via the Epic Games Store sometime in 2021.