Sifu Benjamin Colussi was interviewed for the Los Angeles Times by Todd Martens on March 1st 2022. For the full article click here. “Sifu,” the revenge-focused kung fu action game with nearly 1 million copies sold since its Feb. 8 release, has become a breakout hit in 2022. What’s more, the game has earned praise for its fighting complexity as well as the respect it shows to a Chinese art.
But if the game is accurate in depicting the specific kung fu fighting style known as Pak Mei, that’s a debt owed to Benjamin Colussi. The Paris resident and kung fu master has seen too many films and games with an inaccurate approach to fighting. He didn’t want his name or the Pak Mei school he runs to have their brands sullied.
He was ready to be a pest.
“For me, it was important to not just sign a [licensing] contract and go back to my stuff and that’s all,” says Colussi, who was recently in Los Angeles to take meetings for other potential media products. “I really wanted to make a point. So before signing, I said, ‘I want to see the movement, and want the chance to say, “You can do better.”’ It was a struggle for the team. They thought I wanted to take up too much space. That was not my goal. My goal was to be sure that what they do reflects what we want.”
In a crowded gaming month with blockbuster releases such as “Elden Ring” and “Horizon Forbidden West,” “Sifu” has managed to make an impact. The game has also inspired cultural and mechanical debates, as it’s not only difficult — I’ve barely made a dent into it — but the independent studio that made it, Sloclap, is based in Paris rather than China. As the architect of the game’s fighting, and a lifelong student of Chinese culture, Colussi is especially sympathetic to the latter discussion.