Sifu’s nomination for Best Fighting Game at The Game Awards raises questions about what counts as a fighting game now

There is little doubt at this point as to the quality of Sifu. It’s a legitimately great game that blends many of the best aspects of fighting and beat-em-up games, but does that make it a fighter?

That’s the question currently posing itself to the gaming community once it was revealed this week that Sifu was nominated for Best Fighting Game at The Game Awards 2022, and thoughts about it are everywhere to say the least.

Just looking at the mechanics of the game, Sifu shares a lot of its DNA with the fighters in its fighting, throwing, and rock-paper-scissors combat as well as many techniques familiar to fighting game fans.

This is all very nice and easy to appreciate, but that doesn’t inherently make a SloClap title a good fit for the genre.

The main issue that people comment on is that Sifu is only a single player game. There are no online confrontation or multiplayer modes whatsoever.

According to The Game Awards’ category description, the nominees for the fighters are based on “Best game designed primarily around hand-to-hand combat.”

There’s no “head-to-head” combat in Sifu unless you count fighting AI enemies and bosses, but TGA wrote “basically” rather than something like just that.

Single-player fighting games are rare but have been around for decades like Capcom’s ill-fated Red Earth – although those titles still usually include a Versus mode.

To see if there’s any precedent for Sifu’s ranking, we’ve looked at all of the Best Fighting Game nominees since they were first listed at the awards nearly a decade ago.

There are some debatable candidates like Nidhogg 2, WWE All Stars, and a handful of ring fighters, but each of them features a multiplayer component.

So this seems to make Sifu the only title you can’t play against another person.

We didn’t find anything to indicate that Sifu considers itself a fighting game, as it is generally classified as an action game.

This may just be an arbitrary nomination for the awards show to fill a year with a handful of new releases though some are worried/wonder if the decision clouds what the broader gaming community will think of a fighting game right now.

Outside of Sifu’s focus on martial arts, the game’s structure and design has more in common with a character action game like Devil May Cry or Bayonetta than it does with Street Fighter or Tekken.

It doesn’t seem like a situation where the TGA wanted to applaud Sifu for her accomplishments but lacked a different place for her since they were also nominated for Best Action Game of the Year as well.

Facing some strong competition in MultiVersus, The King of Fighters 15, DNF Duel, and JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: All Star Battle R, it seems unlikely that Sifu will walk away from the trophy – it sure would be a lot of fun if SloClap wins, and with that .

We’ll find out which fighting game was voted Best Game of 2022 at The Game Awards next month on December 8 as we’re also likely to receive more big announcements for upcoming titles like Tekken 8.

From my personal point of view, I don’t think Sifu should have been included as a fighting game, but I can understand the sentiment in this situation. Let us know in the comments if you think single-player-only titles can still be fighting games and if Sifu falls into this category.


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