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Developer's Note

An Homage to Kung Fu

Action Graphic Novel Shuyan Saga Coming to Playstation Sept. 22, 2023


Creating Shuyan Saga was labour of love for the team at Lofty Sky. Some of our team members had studied kung fu themselves, so we wanted our game to honor this amazing tradition. We also hoped to showcase aspects of the artform that we seldom see highlighted in other indie games. Here’s how we did it. 


Capturing Authentic Kung Fu


First off, we involved a real-life kung fu master, Longfei Yang. He studied under masters of the Praying Mantis school in China, and now runs his own kung fu school in New York. We used motion-capture to record his movements, which we adapted into the kung-fu gestures you see in the game. 


🎥 Watch the Video: Kungfu animation capture with Master Longfei 🎥


But we went further. We recorded interviews with Master Yang to understand the philosophy behind his technique. Kung fu features undeniable thrilling action, but it isn’t only about skills, speed, strength, and power. Those at the top of their discipline also require great levels of patience, focus, and self-restraint. 


As players progress in Shuyan Saga they learn combos and techniques, but they also learn from a master the soft-flowing movements that use an enemy’s aggression against themselves–applying only the force that’s required. 


And this ties in to our protagonist’s journey. Shuyan is a gifted fighter, and very confident (read: cocky), but she also sees how her hotheadedness has contributed to the turmoil her kingdom now faces. She learns that if she’s going to master all the chaotic forces at work in her world, she’s also going to need to master herself.  


Stunning, Hand-Drawn Art


Shuyan Saga features over 1400 hand-drawn art panels, showcases the exceptional talent of comics master Daxiong. Among the over 100 titles he’s drawn, Daxiong is known for his work illustrating both Star Wars comics and DC’s Justice League of America. But less known in the West is that Daxiong has also illustrated for China’s most famous kung fu novellist, Jin Yong (aka, Louis Cha). Daxiong brought both a world-class talent, and a cultural familiarity that really helped to elevate Shuyan Saga. 


Above: DAXIONG drawing a long scroll for the opening of Shuyan Saga


Drawing each story panel by hand isn’t the most efficient way to create, but it really gives the game its feel. We hear players say they pause the game just to appreciate the art, which we love. We’re thrilled that our publisher ES Digital has optimized the graphics to deliver an exceptional visual experience of this art on the biggest screens and all the new platforms they’ve brought the game to. We can’t wait for you to check it out! 


Here’s an interesting aside: after finding Daxiong working in New York and bringing him to Toronto to collaborate with us on this game, we also learned that he had a remarkable story that led to his coming overseas. Daxiong was forced to flee his home in the aftermath of a dramatic hijacking of the state television in his hometown. The harrowing story surrounding this event became the animated feature film ETERNAL SPRING (長春), which was Canada’s official submission to the Oscars® for 2023 and was produced by many of the same team members at our studio Lofty Sky! If you’re interested in the backstory of this amazing artist and in seeing more of his work in this film, check out 


The Perfect Voice for Shuyan


We were thrilled to have back-to-back People’s Choice Award winning actress Kristin Kreuk voice Shuyan for this game. Kristin is known for her roles as Lana Lang in Smallville and as the lead in the CW series Beauty and the Beast. She also learned martial arts in her youth. Of course, she starred as Chun-Li in Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun Li. 



Above: Video of Kristen Kreuk (Beauty and the Beast) as the voice of Shuyan


Given that it’s a story that pays homage to Chinese culture, it was important that we also have a fully voice version of the game in Mandarin. The script was re-written by a talented Chinese writer on our team and voiced by professionals in Beijing. In this new release of the game on consoles, you can now choose to play either the English or Mandarin Chinese voice over with whatever language of text and subtitles you choose. See you’re free to enjoy Kristin’s work and the amazing English-language cast, or to experience the game in Chinese as you read along in your language. 


It’s been a long road bringing Shuyan Saga to all of these platforms, and we’re thrilled to share it with you! 

ETERNAL SPRING - Still #1 (copyright Lofty Sky Pictures)_LeadImage.jpg
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