Sifu is a beat 'em up video game developed and published by French studio Sloclap. Set in modern-day China, players control the child of a martial arts school's sifu (master) who seeks revenge on those responsible for their father's death. Every time the protagonist dies, they are resurrected by a magical talisman and age up, gaining access to more powerful attacks but reducing their health. When the player character becomes too old, they can die permanently, in which case players must restart the level from the beginning and from the same age as their initial attempt.
On a rainy night, Yang, a disgraced student of a martial arts school in China, leads a raid on his former school along with four other martial artists: Fajar "The Botanist", a ferocious middle-aged man who wields a machete and never talks; Sean "The Fighter", an arrogant young man who wields a bo staff and regards the school's students as weak; Kuroki "The Artist", a young Japanese woman who wields a bladed three-section staff; and Jinfeng "The CEO", an elderly, one-armed woman who wields a rope dart. After defeating the students, Yang confronts the school's sifu (his former master) and strikes him in the chest, causing him to suffer a fatal heart attack. While searching through the sifu's belongings, Yang finds the sifu's only child hiding nearby and orders Fajar to slit their throat. The child later wakes up to find their throat healed, thanks to the power of an ancient talisman in their hand, which can revive the dead but exponentially increases their age with each resurrection. Vowing revenge on Yang and his accomplices, the child spends the next eight years living in isolation, training relentlessly and gathering information about his targets.
Finally, the martial artist goes after Yang himself, confronting him at his private sanctuary. Yang explains that the sifu abandoned him when his loved ones were close to death, which led him to turn against his former master. After a fierce fight, the martial artist strikes Yang in the chest, killing him the same way he did their father. Upon doing so, however, the martial artist sees two graves and learns that Yang tried to steal the talisman to save his dying wife and daughter, but was stopped from doing so by the sifu, who declared that Yang lost his worthiness by dishonoring his oath and expelled him from the school. The talisman then tells the martial artist of the importance of Wude (morality) and sends them back in time, to the beginning of their quest. The martial artist again has to defeat each of the five targets, but this time they have the option to spare their enemies, who in turn show gratefulness and stop fighting them.
The game is developed by Sloclap, who previously released their debut fighting game Absolver in 2017. Unlike Absolver, Sifu does not have multiplayer as the team wanted to focus on developing the gameplay and need not to spend time developing the infrastructure necessary for online games. The game was inspired by kung fu movies starring Jackie Chan, where Chan was shown defeating multiple enemies single-handedly. The term "sifu" (Chinese: 師父) refers to "master" in Cantonese, and the combat style featured in the game is based on the Bak Mei style. The team consulted Benjamin Colussi, a Bak Mei kung fu master to ensure that the game was authentic. The game emphasizes "mastery through practice", a key value of kung fu which is reflected through the aging system. The game was also designed to be difficult and features a sharp learning curve, as the team felt that players would not gain a feeling of mastery if the gameplay experience is too easy. 041b061a72