What Is The Sims 5 Release Date, and What Else Do We Know About It?

The Sims: Project Rene logo

What Is The Sims 5 Release Date, and What Else Do We Know About It?

The Sims 4 hit shelves on September 2, 2014. It’s hard to believe that one of the most beloved games in the world has been around for almost a decade. Despite its age, franchise fans still avidly play The Sims 4, finding new ways to create beautiful homes, explore every inch of every expansion pack, and push their Sims to new heights. Since The Sims is a life simulator-style game, there really is no end to what a player can do. The Sims encourages its players to thrive in creativity and test their skills. While the game will always have limits, how much a player can customize, control, and even implement cheat codes gives the impression of going on forever.

All that said, gamers are always looking to the future. After nearly ten years without a new game, many Sims fans ask the same question: Is there going to be a new game? The Sims 5 has been a concept discussed for years now, but is it actually happening? The short answer is yes, there is a new Sims game on the horizon. In October 2022, The Sims hosted its first-ever “Behind The Sims Summit Stream Event.” This 30-minute stream discussed the current state of The Sims 4, The Sims™ FreePlay, and The Sims™ Mobile. Maxis, a video game development division of Electronic Arts (EA), and the developers of The Sims announced that The Sims 4 would finally be free to download. This, of course, was huge news, but it was also a way to bring in new players after 8 years of the game being on the market.

Most players tuned in hopes of hearing news about The Sims 5. At the very end of the stream, viewers got the official confirmation they’d been waiting to hear. Maxis confirmed The Sims 5, though it has a working title that no one expected. Rather than following the formula The Sims has always followed, the working title for the upcoming game is Project Rene.

Lyndsay Pearson, VP of Franchise Creative for The Sims, introduced Project Rene during the Summit Stream. “We chose Project Rene because it’s reminiscent of words like renewal, renaissance, rebirth, and it represents our renewed commitment to The Sims,” Pearson explained the reasoning behind the working title.

The Sims: Project Rene is Years Away

The Sims 4 cover art.

During the Behind The Sims Summit, Lyndsay Pearson introduced a brief first look at the concept for The Sims: Project Rene. Pearson claimed that Maxis decided to share news about this project earlier in development than any other Sims project because they wanted to include their fans in the creation process. Unfortunately, this means that Project Rene isn’t right around the corner. It’s important to keep in mind that The Sims Summit did happen almost one year ago, but since this announcement, there still hasn’t been a confirmed release date.

Since Pearson expressed how early in development Project Rene was and there still hasn’t been an official release date announcement, it’s safe to say that The Sims 5 is still a good deal away. The Summit also expressed that Project Rene would not be replacing The Sims 4. Instead, both games would coexist, side-by-side.

In truth, The Sims Summit provided a vague explanation of what Project Rene is and what will be different about it. Pearson explored some new ideas that would be implemented in Project Rene, but all the stream offered was a tiny look at furniture customization. It’s hard to say what, exactly, Project Rene will be like with the current information provided about it. Project Rene will, however, be free upon release, just like The Sims 4’s base game is free now.

Project Rene’s Build/Buy Mode Features

First looks at Project Rene's Buy/Build mode

©Electronic Arts / Maxis / The Sims – Original

Although The Sims: Project Rene is still in early development, Maxis confirmed new ways to play in The Sims Summit. A lot of what the Summit explored were updates to the customization of The Sims. Lyndsay Pearson described these creative choices as “a key part of our Sims DNA.” That’s true. The Sims is a popular game because of the lengths players can go to build whatever their minds imagine. For the sake of the Summit, a few early-stage development videos were shown. These videos showed how players may be able to customize items by changing their shape, patterns, and colors. The demonstration featured a couch and bed that players could change in the Buy/Build mode to fit to their liking.

In order for a Sims game to attract players, this is an important key element. Pearson wasn’t wrong when she said it was part of The Sims‘ DNA. Without improving the systems already in place in current Sims games, there’d be little point in playing a new game. Especially since Project Rene won’t be replacing The Sims 4, making 4 a competitor to its sister game.

The biggest change Project Rene will be making is its cross-compatibility. During the Summit, Pearson said, “No matter who you may want to play with, we want you to be able to play wherever you want.” The Summit stream then featured a brief clip of someone playing on two different devices. The player used their mobile phone to select and place furniture and then finalized their choices on their computer seamlessly.

In a January 2023 update, The Sims expressed that the first round of player testing had concluded. This included testing many features, including the cross-progression of the game. In January, they tested crossplay between PC and mobile, but they are working on optimizing Project Rene for all consoles.

Project Rene Will Feature Multiplayer

Prototype animations in The Sims: Project Rene

©Electronic Arts / Maxis / The Sims – Original

The Sims has always been a solo experience. Project Rene will include different methods of playing with friends and sharing content across the board. The Sims Summit barely touched on this. “With Project Rene, we want to make it easier to work together and share. You can choose to play or create by yourself, or with your close friends – it’s entirely your choice,” Lyndsay Pearson said during the Summit presentation.

Beyond this statement, the idea of a multiplayer Sims experience wasn’t really elaborated on much. In the January 2023 update, the idea was explained further. “This playtest also included our first social play experience where players can design an apartment together, opening up new ways to play, tell stories, and build dream creations,” the update explained. “Project Rene is a place for you to explore life with The Sims and also share a wide variety of experiences with trusted friends, if you want, when you want.”

The update did express that the development team understands that a player’s experience with The Sims can also be incredibly personal. Multiplayer will never be forced onto the player. Project Rene seeks to include the option for those who want to create, explore, and share with their friends.

Project Rene Playtesting

First look at home building in The Sims: Project Rene

©Electronic Arts / Maxis / The Sims – Original

During The Sims Summit, Maxis insisted that it would include its players in every stage of Project Rene’s development. That includes live updates as the game progresses, but it also meant that it would open its doors to playtesters. Playtesters would get to experience small portions of the game, test new features, and give honest feedback to the developers to help them make a better game. Some of these playtests have already begun.

On January 30, 2023, The Sims uploaded their first episode of “Behind The Sims. In this YouTube video, Grant Rodiek, the Game Director of Project Rene, discussed the playtesting process. “With Project Rene, we want to develop this hand-in-hand with our players from the very beginning,” Rodiek explained. “So, we’re trying to take small snippets of the game, share it with a limited number of people, and find out what works, what’s fun, what’s too complicated, what needs to be revised.”

Project Rene’s team is dedicated to conducting these playtests as the development of the game continues. So far, The Sims uploaded two more YouTube videos that include updates on Project Rene. The June 27th update video elaborated on what players could expect from the home creation in the game. It also included some updates on what the developers would be focusing on for creating a Sim. So far, we know that hairstyles will be an incredibly important part of the new Create a Sim. They also discussed some working behaviors for all of the Sims in the game. These behaviors will help players understand what Sims are thinking and feeling.

The latest YouTube update dropped on September 12th. This update confirmed again that Project Rene would be free to play upon release. They also confirmed that there wouldn’t be an energy system in place either. Games use energy systems to limit how much a player can do before they have to wait for their energy to refresh. If they don’t want to wait to keep playing, they have to pay for more energy. Many mainstream games do this. Even the incredibly popular Genshin Impact does this. Project Rene, however, is easy access for solo enjoyment and to join your friends if you want to.

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