Developer Sloclap has confirmed that its acclaimed martial arts action game Sifu will get Cantonese voice acting in its next update.
Back in December, the developer announced that the game would receive a new Arenas mode that would be included in the March 2023 Steam and Xbox console versions, as well as a free update for PC via the Epic Games Store, PlayStation at the same time.
A trailer for the update didn’t provide specific details on what the new content would include, but a new trailer confirms that this update will feature a Cantonese dub in addition to the existing English and Mandarin voice-overs.
Hong Kong kung fu films from the 70’s and 80’s inspired Sifu and no doubt some keen eyes have spotted the numerous references in the game. The Cantonese voiceover is a way to celebrate these films and make Sifu a more immersive experience for players who enjoy them! pic.twitter.com/RxoHtrQglP
— SifuGame (@SifuGame) January 24, 2023
The news of a Cantonese voiceover for Sifu is long awaited for both Cantonese-speaking players and fans of Hong Kong martial arts films. Sloclap had contacted Eurogamer about this news after our feature on the Cantonese language (or lack thereof) in games. Sloclap co-founder and producer Pierre Tarno was also able to explain why it had taken so long to add a Cantonese dub, even though the title Sifu is based on Cantonese pronunciation.
“We chose Sifu as the title mainly because it was shorter and probably easier to pronounce than Shifu (the Mandarin pronunciation) and because it pays homage to kung fu and Hong Kong cinema,” he explains. “Then why not include Cantonese voice acting at launch? The simple answer is that as an indie studio we didn’t have the bandwidth/resources to do this when we started.”
Sifu received a patch with Chinese voiceover after launch, but this was only for Mandarin to appeal to the larger market in China. “When we saw that Sifu was a success, we decided it would be great to record and release full Cantonese voice acting for the game.”
Tarno also wanted to address some of the criticisms of the game’s Orientalist depiction of Chinese culture, noting that while the studio does have a concept artist of Taiwanese descent on the team, they made a conscious effort to make an authentic and respectful game.
“We conducted extensive cultural reviews with the help of our Chinese partners at Kowloon Nights, who are based in Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai,” he explains. “These reviews were conducted by specialized consultants in China, who gave us a lot of feedback that led to significant changes in the game, from the main character’s visual design to the writing and details of the environments.”
“The problem is that since the game pays homage to martial arts action classics, it relies on tropes that can feel cliche and lend weight to criticism of ‘Orientalism’, but we’ve tried our best with those tropes to play to create an original approach to the genre. Cultural and representational issues are major concerns that are important to us, and we have tried our best to treat the source material and the culture from which it originated with respect – within the constraints of an indie studio with limited hiring capacity and a limited budget .”
An exact date for this new update has yet to be confirmed, but the developer promises that more details about the upcoming Sifu content will be revealed soon.
Since launch, Sifu has also received a number of updates including a new scoring system and new difficulty modes. The last fall update added a replay editor as well as more modifiers, cheats and outfits.
For those who can’t get enough, Sifu is also getting a film adaptation with a script by John Wick writer Derek Kolstad, which will reportedly stick to the game’s revenge plot and bizarre aging twist.
https://www.eurogamer.net/sifu-gets-cantonese-dub-in-next-update Sifu will get Cantonese dubbed sound in the next update