How Sifu’s Martial Arts is Being Portrayed Realistically

How Sifu’s Martial Arts is Being Portrayed Realistically

By working with martial arts masters and diving deep into the fighting animations and moves, Sifu’s developers are looking to make a mark.

Combat is at the heart of a lot of action games, making a game that stands out in that immensely popular genre a very difficult task indeed. Paris-based developers Sloclap, the team responsible for 2017’s Absolver, are looking to do just that with their upcoming kung fu fighting game, Sifu. Having just uploaded a behind-the-scenes peek at what has gone into crafting the game’s combat system, it appears that Sloclap is on the brink of releasing something very special.

Sifu grabbed a lot of attention following its reveal at the PlayStation State of Play back in February, showing off its beautiful environments and fluid violence. Players will take on the role of a kung fu practitioner and follow their journey tracking down the assassins that have committed unforgivable crimes against them, dispatching their lackeys along the way. Although Sifu originally aimed for a 2021 release, it has been pushed back to February 2022, and by the looks of the behind-the-scenes footage, the team has definitely had their hands full with this ambitious project.

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From the video showing off the hard work Sloclap has been putting in, it is clear that the team has put a lot of thought into what exactly they wanted to combat to feel like. Simply calling Sifu a martial arts game does it a disservice as that term is a very broad brush to paint with. Sloclap, instead, has worked on focusing its efforts on one branch of the fighting tree in particular – Pak Mei. Pak Mei is a denomination of kung fu, born in southern China. It is a fast-paced and close-range fighting style, a controlled frenzy, and according to Sloclap Creative Director Jordan Layani, the perfect match for Sifu‘s tale of vengeance.

To capture the movements of Pak Mei, Sloclap recruited a literal master of the craft, Benjamin Colussi, to work with the animation team for motion capture and coming up with moves to include in the game. With Colussi, Sloclap has amassed an impressive moveset for players to engage with, allowing them to seamlessly build bone-crunching combos that can flow into interactions with the environment in a devastating manner. As well as their character’s own hands and feet, Sifu also features a number of weapons to use, perfectly intertwined with the craft of Pak Mei, with an even greater array of stylized finishers to gawk at as they take down their enemies.

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On top of work with the Pak Mei master that is Colussi, Sloclap has also been hard at work ensuring that the translation of motion capture to in-game combat maintains that same intensity. This includes animators making sure that strikes look powerful and sound designers adding that delightfully dull thud that makes hand-to-hand combat so visceral. Sloclap’s dedication to the authenticity of Pak Mei is an admirable aspect of Sifu, with their ambition matched by skillful application.

From everything shown in the brief peek behind the development curtain, it appears that Sifu will be an exciting title amongst an already stacked lineup for early 2022, and one to keep an eye on amidst the AAA releases its rubbing shoulders with. Sifu launches February 22 on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5 and PC.

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