Sifu's Nomination for Best Fighting Game at The Game Awards Raises Questions About What Now Qualifies as a Fighting Game

Sifu’s Nomination for Best Fighting Game at The Game Awards Raises Questions About What Now Qualifies as a Fighting Game

There is little doubt at this point regarding the quality of Sifu. It’s a legitimately great game that mixes many of the best aspects of fighting games and beat ’em ups, but does that make it a fighter?

That’s the question plaguing the gaming community right now once it was revealed this week that Sifu had been nominated for Best Fighting Game at The Game Awards 2022, and the thoughts on that are understandable to say the least.

When it comes to game mechanics alone, Sifu shares much of his DNA with fighters in his punching, throwing, paper-scissors parrying as well as many techniques familiar to fighting game fans.

It’s all super cool and easy to enjoy, but that in and of itself doesn’t make the SloClap title fit well into the genre.

The main problem people are hung up on is that Sifu is a single player game. There is no Versus mode or online multiplayer at all.

According to The Game Awards’ own category description, the nominated fighters are based on “the best game designed primarily around one-on-one combat.”

There is no “one-on-one” combat in Sifu unless you plan on fighting AI enemies and bosses, but TGA wrote “mainly” instead of something like only.

Single-player focused fighting games are rare, but have been around for decades, like Capcom’s Red Earth, though even those titles still include a Versus mode.

To see if there was any precedent for Sifu’s categorization, we looked at all of the best fighting game nominees since they were first included in the awards roughly a decade ago.

There are questionable nominees like Nidhogg 2, WWE All Stars, and a handful of Arena Fighters, but all of them featured a multiplayer component.

So that seems to leave Sifu as the one and only title you can’t play against another person.

We couldn’t find anything to suggest that Sifu considers itself a fighting game, as it’s usually labeled as action fighting.

This may just be an arbitrary nomination for an awards show that will fill a year with few new releases, though some are concerned/wondering if the decision muddies the waters of what the gaming community Gamers at large will now consider it a fighting game.

Outside of Sifu’s emphasis on martial arts, the game’s structure and design has much more in common with a character action game like Devil May Cry or Bayonetta than it does with Street Fighter or Tekken.

This doesn’t seem like a situation where TGA wanted to applaud Sifu for his accomplishments but lacked a different place for it as they’re also nominated for Best Action Game this year as well.

Facing stiff competition in MultiVersus, The King of Fighters 15, DNF Duel, and JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: All Star Battle R, Sifu seems unlikely to walk away with the trophy – it’s definitely going to get pretty interesting if SloClap wins, though.

We’ll find out which fighting game was voted Best of 2022 at The Game Awards on December 8, where we’ll also likely get other big announcements for upcoming titles like Tekken 8.

From my personal perspective, I don’t think Sifu should have been included as a fighting game, but I can understand the feeling in that situation. Let us know in the comments if you think single-player titles can still be fighting games and if Sifu falls into that category.

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