Devolver Digital has announced that the newly released Kung Fu brawler Sifu, developed by Sloclap, has managed to sell 500,000 copies in just 48 hours since its launch. Those are some very impressive numbers for an independent studio with only 12 employees, even with the involvement of a popular publisher like Devolver Digital, and the advertisement of Sony.
This number was also hit amid criticisms of the developer’s depiction of Chinese Culture, with the studio itself not having any developers of Asian descent. This being said, Sloclap did employ Howie Lee to compose the game’s soundtrack, himself a Beijing-based electronica musician.
This criticism was acknowledged by Sifu executive producer and company co-founder Pierre Tano in the announcement of the sales, thanking the team’s consultant partners Kowloon Nights and Kepler Interactive for helping Sloclap “make a game which felt authentic and respectful of Chinese Kung Fu culture.”
The game was heavily inspired by Chinese cinema and places the player in the roles of a martial artist skilled in the Pak Mei style of Kung Fu. The player then attempts to take revenge for the death of their Sifu by hunting the five people involved in his death. The game employs an aging mechanic that causes each death to see the player grow older on their quest.
In my review for Sifu, I pointed to Sloclap’s previous work with Absolver as a showcase of how the company takes their fluent and visceral version of close-quarter combat and continues to improve it, creating what was a very good fighting game, ultimately awarding the game a 9. While it is impossible to know what is next for this company, these sales prove they have life and value beyond just Sifu, and they are definitely a company to keep an eye on moving forward.