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Sifu's Death Mechanic Is Extremely Unique. Here's Why

Sifu is an upcoming action game from indie studio Sloclap (the same team that made martial arts RPG Absolver) that provides plenty of intense kung fu fighting with a roguelike twist. The game received a spotlight during GameRadar's Future Games Show: Spring Showcase livestream, which gave gamers their best look yet at the action-packed title.

As explained by Sloclap co-founder and CEO Pierre Tarno, Sifu follows "a young kung fu student who is on a path for revenge after his whole family was assassinated by a squad of five mysterious assassins." To obtain his vengeance, the protagonist "will have to use every tool at [his] disposal." These tools include the protagonist's deadly martial arts skills, as well as pieces of the environment that can be utilized as weapons. However, players will also have to master an intriguing aging mechanic that will set Sifu apart from other games in the genre. 

That's right; as the protagonist wages war against the people who killed his family, his age will progress alongside his fighting prowess.

Why does Sifu feature an aging mechanic?

The first trailer for the game showed the lead character aging every time he was taken down in battle. During the Future Games Show, Tarno explained that these moments in the trailer were meant to be taken quite literally. Whenever the protagonist is killed, he will instantly resurrect in the same spot, only he will have grown older with each revival. 

According to Tarno, this game mechanic serves as a reference to the very definition and values of kung fu. "Kung fu ... means, literally, 'mastery through practice,'" Tarno said. "And this is really an important theme of the game, because we want players to feel like they've learned kung fu ... [and] gained this mastery."

This mechanic isn't entirely without its drawbacks, however. Tarno explained that "there is a limit" to how many times a player can die, revive, and age. The protagonist can't just keep aging forever, and he will need to learn from his mistakes if he is to finish the battle before his time truly runs out. Otherwise, it is possible for players to actually receive what Tarno referred to as a "game over."