In February 2000, The Sims, released by Maxis, took the world by storm and essentially created the life-simulation game genre. Since then, many competitors, like Virtual Families and more risqué titles like Singles, have tried to steal the market.
Each of these failed miserably, and The Sims has remained king by releasing multiple expansion packs, new versions, and advanced features that reimagine the series every few years. However, Paradox Techtonic’s upcoming game Life by You is set to rock the genre.
The Genre King
Before looking into the incredible features reportedly included in Life by You, let’s look at the current ruler of the genre, The Sims.
The initial game sold more than 16 million units during its lifespan. In 2004, The Sims 2 was launched, offering advanced 3D graphics (lacking from the original title), better gameplay, and more engaging storytelling. By 2006, the game had sold more than seven million copies. Between 2005 and 2008, The Sims 2 also spawned eight expansion packs.
After a decent run, the game evolved yet again with the release of The Sims 3 in 2009. By offering an open world and many revolutionary features, including the create-a-style tool, the game sold more than 10 million copies. It also provided 11 expansion packs and nine stuff packs.
Looking to revolutionize the game, Maxis and EA unveiled The Sims 4 in 2014. This version, which reverted back to loading screens, was widely criticized. However, over 10 million copies of the game were sold, as well as 30 million add-ons.
With 25 kit packs, 19 stuff packs, 12 game packs, and 15 expansion packs, The Sims 4 has had continuous releases since 2014 and has offered many variations of the game. However, Project Rene, rumored to be The Sims 5, was officially announced to be in production in 2022 and is scheduled to launch either in late 2024 or in 2025.
Life by You
With many fans of The Sims getting bored of the game’s current iteration despite its move to allow a broader range of players, including those playing mobile slots via smartphones and tablets, conversations about alternatives to the game have been common. Rod Humble, the former EA executive who was instrumental in the success of The Sims, was at the fore of this discussion and soon teamed up with Paradox Techtonic.
Although not officially competing with The Sims, Life by You has already been touted as the game that will unseat the genre king once and for all. This is due to the game’s many features, which are expected to set the standard for all future life simulators.
Open World and World Builder
Life by You promises an entirely open world to explore, which admittedly is not a new concept. However, fans were not shy to admit their anger about it not being included in The Sims 4.
More than just offering an open world during gameplay, Life by You also comes with a world editor as part of the standard game. This allows players to shape and change their entire realm as they see fit—not just the lot their sim happens to own.
While EA released a world editor for The Sims 3, this was a separate application that was riddled with bugs and hard to master. Since its discontinuation, The Sims has had no alternative offering, with almost zero world customization options in The Sims 4.
Unlike The Sims, which has used the now iconic Simlish language in-game since the franchise’s first iteration, Life by You makes things more personal by using English. This allows players to be privy to the conversations occurring between in-game characters.
Furthermore, this upcoming simulator allows the input of custom responses that will enable players to delve into situations and steer conversations more naturally—as they would in real life.
Life by You is looking to make the game wholly unique for each player, including the ability to make their own items for in-game use.
Players can mold, texture, and create unique items using the Object Editor tool. This can be done for anything from trash cans to beds and brings creative power to the game that The Sims has never achieved.
One of the most highlighted features of Life by You is the number of mods it supports. The game supports endless modifications that can be programmed by taking advantage of the tools the studio used to make the game. In fact, the creators claim that Life by You will be the most moddable simulator in history.
These mods include everything from creating careers to unique storylines, and they can also be uploaded to the generous community platform that will launch alongside the game—allowing enthusiasts to share their creativity with others.
Aside from the open world already mentioned, Life by You is not limiting players to just their sim, as the current genre king does. Instead, by clicking on any sim worldwide, it will be possible to take control of it and direct its life as if it were the player’s main sim.
This feature allows for greater control over the world at large. It also allows players to foster skills and stop their sims from doing things that either negatively affect their current sim’s life or simply annoy them.
Despite its early-access release date being delayed once, Life by You already has a massive fanbase. The game is looking to be the formidable opponent The Sims has needed, forcing Maxis to rethink its iconic simulator’s contributions to the genre.
With The Sims 5 (or Project Rene) still only in early development, Life by You is sure to upset the genre in a big—but certainly not bad—way.