Sifu is now available on Xbox in a new mode – we spoke with the developer to find out more
Sifu launching today on Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S, and with the launch of the new Arena mode, it’s time to try out this unique martial arts battle. With highly skilled fights and unique mechanics that see your character age every time they are killed, there is nothing quite like it.
We took the opportunity to speak with Pierre Tarnot, Executive Producer of Sloclap, the Paris-based studio behind the game. He told us more about how Sifu therefore, his success … and his future.
How was Sifu born?
We owe the idea for the name to my partner Jordan Layani, who is a kung fu fan and a big fan of martial arts movies. We wanted to draw inspiration from Bruce Lee or Jackie Chan films, with such a special use of the environment, even if we can’t say we kept the same action comedy tone. The title then also attempts to answer the philosophical question: is one lifetime enough to master kung fu? This question led to the concept of the protagonist aging, which is what makes the game so original.
Do you think it was risky to rely on this genre, which is less popular today than a few decades ago?
When you’re an independent studio, you can take more risks. We didn’t do market research to see which segment of gamers and martial arts fans would be interested in our game… Instead, we assumed that for a game to work commercially, it had to be very good. Also, we were sure because, after all, this genre is not well represented in the world of video games. Bare-handed 3D beat ’em ups that also rely on the use of the environment are rare, so we knew our game would find its audience. If we decided to make an FPS, things would be more complicated…
Your first game, Absolver, already had a lot of hand-to-hand combat. Sifu heir to it?
With Absolver, we gained a certain experience of action games: how enemies collide during combat, how to manage the distance between you and your opponents… But where Absolver focused on online multiplayer, Sifu is a pure single-player game, and where Absolver excelled in one-on-one, Sifu was really designed for you to be alone against everyone. So I would say that yes, we learned a lot from our first game, but there are also a lot of elements that we had to change, reinvent.
From the very first trailers Sifu received a lot of attention – what was your reaction?
It’s always nice to feel that a creative idea resonates with an audience, and that’s something very difficult, if not impossible, to predict. So that was very reassuring; we felt that we were creating something that a certain number of players would like, this motivated the team a lot.
And how did this happen when the game was available?
When it was released in 2022, the game’s difficulty level may have been too high, which could have been a bit of a letdown. On the other hand, we’ve also seen some people play the game in a way that no one else in the studio could, like…players went through it without getting hit. That’s why in our first update we created the less difficult “Student” mode, but also added the “Master” level, a mode of higher difficulty. Later, in other updates, we added gameplay modifiers that allow you to customize your gameplay, a replay editor that allows you to create your own martial arts shorts, and now an arena mode that further enriches the game.
What can we expect in this new game mode?
This is a story-independent mode that you can start after completing the prologue, and it also serves as a tutorial. At launch, nine original campaign-inspired arenas await you in which you will have to complete tasks. Some of them are related to your performance, the age of the character. A total of five different test types are available. It’s a way to rediscover game mechanics in new environments, with new objectives and varied gameplay. If you want SifuI think you will enjoy the feeling of progress, improvement, unlocking the next levels.
What can we expect and hope for from Sloclap in the future?
The Arena mode is already scheduled for another update with additional arenas, it will be released in a few months. At the same time, part of the team is already working on our third project, and as soon as we finish with Sifuwe will start the design phase for the fourth project.
Last word for our readers?
I just want to thank all the players who believed in Sifu, who supported us, talked about us on social networks or to their friends and became game ambassadors. We made it for you, thanks.
And now it’s our turn to thank Pierre Tarnot for taking the time to answer our questions. Sifu Available now on Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S.
Sloclap, Kepler Interactive
Sifu is coming to Xbox with a huge content update. The free Arenas expansion adds a brand new game mode with 9 dynamic locations and 45 challenges that will test your kung fu! Get ready for exciting fights, brutal opponents and endless opportunities to hone your moves. Is one life enough to practice kung fu? Whether you choose to play as a male or female character, in Sifu you will ponder the issue as you hunt down your family’s killers for revenge. Alone against all, you have no allies, countless enemies and a mysterious amulet that will bring you back to life every time you die. However, be careful! Your secret weapon comes at a high price: aging and its consequences. Training by fire Your enemies do not wait their turn and do not communicate their intentions. Dodge, parry, strike, use combos and be like water breaking through the mesmerizing environment. Learn how to master your art as you fight your way through the underbelly of a nightclub, make your way through an exquisite gallery to avoid being surrounded, or navigate vertically through a tall office building. Adaptation is Survival Careful positioning and intelligent use of the environment to your advantage is the key to your survival. Use everything at your disposal: throwables, makeshift weapons, windows and ledges… The odds are against you and you will be shown no mercy. Learning never ends Kung Fu is mastery through practice, a journey for both body and mind. Learn from your mistakes, discover unique skills and find the strength to master the devastating moves of Pak Mei Kung Fu.