It’s no small feat to become the highlight of the State of Play livestream, but one look at Sifu tells you exactly why everyone was talking about Sloclap’s upcoming PS5 game after the PlayStation show in February. A stylistically captivating ode to Chinese martial arts films and culture, Sifu is a great fighting game with a unique twist on the Game Over trope, as Pierre Tarnow revealed to GamesRadar+ after appearing on the Future Games Show – Spring Showcase.
“You play a young rural student on his way to revenge after his entire family is murdered by a squad of five mysterious killers,” he explains. “You are looking for these killers from your family and you will have to use every tool at your disposal, be it your kung fu skills or everything in the environment to survive and win in very dangerous combat situations.”
“And as a last resort, you can count on a magical necklace that revives you every time you die. But that magic comes at a cost,” continues Tarno, where every time you resurrect, your character gets a little bigger, and that pretty soon begs the question of how long you’ll be able to last Do it before your time is up.”
This necklace is both a blessing and a curse for your Sifu customizable character, allowing you to gain mastery of your abilities as a fighter by learning through error, while also having to calculate the high price of cheating death. Thus, while Tarno cites classic Jackie Chan films as the main inspiration for Sifu’s combat mechanics – where players are encouraged to improvise the flow of combat through creative use of the environment – the game’s story is much darker in tone, often questioning your character’s standing as the character. Adventure hero. In this way, Tarnow says, Sifu is “like all good revenge stories, where there is never a black and white thing.”
“Kung fu literally means mastery through training. This is really an important topic in the game, because we want players to feel like they learned kung fu while playing the game and actually gain that mastery as they progress. As your character gets older, the question is how far you will progress.” In age? Will you be able to complete your vengeance before it is too late? And obviously, what is the cost of your vengeance? Because the more you die, the older you are, and thus the less your life after having sought that vengeance.”
WLYou might think, but what if you played the game with all the reflexes and ingenuity of a hardened black belt warrior, and simply avoided death altogether? Think again. While Sifu wants to deliver the power fantasy of playing as a martial arts expert, it’s also designed to be a relentlessly challenging experience that doesn’t literally pull any of the punches. Combat is incredibly fast and accurate, with the five boss battles in the campaign – each based on a different element – forming the ultimate test of your reaction speeds and strategic abilities.
Tarno explains, “If the game was too easy, and if we immediately gave the players that imagination, we wouldn’t really get that feeling of practice and mastery. So there’s a strong learning curve. When you start Sifu, your character is a young kung fu student. But I hope that by By the time you reach the end of the game, you will have become a kung fu master.”
Anyone who played Sloclap’s previous fighting game, Absolver, will have a good understanding of Sifu’s sickening dynamism, though Tarno is keen to stress that its latest title introduces several distinguishing factors to an experimental online RPG. For one thing, Sifu is a single player experience, which has radically changed the pace and dynamics of combat flow and structure, and challenges Sloclap with the task of creating enemy artificial intelligence that will give you the best of him.
“Absolver was very focused on 1v1 PvP combat,” Tarno explains. “Whereas Sifu is a one-versus-all game, so you will deal with situations where you are always outnumbered. This focuses on strategic positioning; jumping over a table to put distance between you and your enemies, climbing a ledge to fight on the balcony, or using makeshift weapons Alternatively, you can use a piece of a broken chair as a temporary weapon, throw objects at your enemies’ feet to drop them to the ground, or smash bottles on their heads. Almost anything you put your hands on can be used to give you an edge in combat.”
Fu for thought
To ensure authenticity in her depiction of Pak Mei’s style of kung fu, Sloclap consulted with realist Sifu (meaning ‘teacher’ in Cantonese) Benjamin Culos, who also mentors the game’s creative director, Jordan Layani, in martial arts. This originality extends not only to the depiction of combat itself, but also to the customs and culture that surrounds it. Not only did Sloclap want to honor pop culture’s kung fu and then enrich the player’s understanding of it, Tarno revealed some tough questions the studio had to address in doing so.
“What kinds of movements are used in Pak Mei? How can they be tied together? How can it feel super authentic? We’ve also worked on this ambition in designing our environments as well. The main character’s dojo, for example, is directly inspired by real life stuff. Like the location of the master’s image, and the traditional Chinese inscriptions and spiritual inscriptions next to the image; such details are very important to us.”
Meanwhile, Sifu’s artistic style balances this authenticity against a more stylized view of the world of kung fu, providing a stark graphic aesthetic that will undoubtedly look stunning on PS5 (the game is also coming out for PS4 and PC). For Tarno, Sifu’s artistic style was intended as a visual language that “can be compared to something like quick drawing”, matching the game’s fast-paced combat. He continues, “We didn’t want to use a realistic tone, and in terms of violence and bloodshed, we didn’t want to make a bloody game. We didn’t want to have a lot of blood everywhere.” place, but we want it to be very immersive.”
With the release of Sifu later this year, Sloclap is now putting the final touches on the game as it approaches the final stage of development. We haven’t yet seen more than a few precious snippets of unpolished gameplay, but Sifu really made us desperate to head to the nearest dojo and start training in anticipation. How old and dull our character will be before we see their quest for revenge to the end depends on our ability to master their deadly combat dance, after all, and we can only hope to see them through to the end before death comes. for the last time.
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