Sifu Dev Reflects on Game's Success Amidst Final Update, Is Moving to New Project

Sifu Dev Reflects on Game’s Success Amidst Final Update, Is Moving to New Project

Sifu just received its final update, one that adds a whole host of new combat arenas, modifiers, outfits, and more. Developer Sloclap not only released a trailer commemorating the patch, but also spoke about the game’s journey since its launch in February 2022.

The Sifu update contains 10 to 15 hours of free content, according to Sloclap

Head of marketing and publishing at Sloclap Felix Garczynski echoed what the team has already said elsewhere by noting that these new challenges are the toughest in the entire game. Players will have to take on multiple bosses at the same time, fight invisible enemies, and brawl through mazes to reach the end in some of these new arenas.

Sifu Dev Reflects on Game's Success Amidst Final Update

These 75 challenges will add about 10 to 15 hours of content and 10 new trophies, and it’s just part of Sloclap’s extensive post-launch strategy with Sifu. It has patched in 12 outfits, 70 modifiers, more difficulty options, a new scoring system, Chinese voice acting, a more involved training mode, a replay editor, and combat challenges.

Some of these features were initially meant to launch with the game, while others were in response to fan feedback. The custom Arenas mode in this update is one example of Sloclap listening to the players, as some felt it was too strict to always abide by the preset modifiers in the first batch of trials. Garczynski explained how it the team wanted to “feel that it was fully completed” after all this support, but had to move on at some point to its next mystery project.

“We gave ourselves some time and dedicated part of the team to work on these updates,” said Garczynski. “But as we chose to do only free updates and no [paid] DLC, we couldn’t maintain updates forever. So progressively, as parts of the team switched to new projects, we’ve concluded our update plan. We feel that as free updates go, it’s quite extensive. But at the same time, we also wanted to start working on the next project. We’re a small studio so it’s complicated to do both at the same time.”

Sloclap also extended that roadmap a little longer than it had expected. The studio initially announced one Arenas update only to reveal in December 2022 that there would be yet another one later in 2023. Garczynski chalked that up to the team becoming more ambitious as the months rolled on.

“The problem is that I believe we were less ambitious initially,” said Garczynski. “We wanted to add more content for players so they could keep experimenting with the combat in different situations. We planned originally to finish all updates by March of this year, but as the team started working on it with the original creative director from Sifu, they had lots of ideas and wanted to try lots of things, so we had to actually cut the Arenas update in two separate updates.”

With Sifu’s slimmer scope, it was clear that Sloclap had learned a lot while developing Absolver, its 2017 multiplayer brawler that was criticized for being unfocused. Garczynski explained how much the developer stepped up its craft making Sifu and explained how it strives to make “quality and creativity” at the team’s core even when it balloons in size.

“I feel the team is really satisfied with all we’ve done on Sifu,” said Garczynski. “It was a really ambitious project for the studio on the previous game [Absolver]. We always had less than 30 people. On Sifu, it was more than twice that number, so we had to organize ourselves in a new way and we had to spend a lot of energy and time in making sure everyone was involved.

“We had regular meetings where the team members would show their work, so we could have everyone always in the loop and playing the game. It was quite a challenge as the studio was growing in size. But it ended up working really well, so I think we’ve kept that for the next project. As a studio, we’ve learned to do bigger games and manage larger teams while keeping quality and creativity we have at the core.”

It’s unclear what that next game will be. However, it seems like it’ll benefit from what Sloclap has learned from making and supporting Sifu for so long. The developer has mirrored the journey of its protagonist in a way by spending quite some time honing its skills and trying to improve for the next fight.