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“Life By You” Poised to Break Up EA’s Monopoly on Life Sim Games

Former Sims exec Rod Humble joins Paradox Interactive with the goal of making the genre fun again.

Ronnia Cherry

Mar 10, 2023

There is new life coming to the world of simulator games. During the recent Paradox Announcement Show (presented by Xbox), Paradox Studios announced a new life simulator called Life By You. The game is developed by Rod Humble, former lead on The Sims 2 and The Sims 3 which were arguably the best in the series, as many of the fans of the franchise will attest. Even as EA creates buzz around their latest The Sims 4 base game updates and upcoming Growing Together expansion pack, many life simulator fans are excited that Life By You is on the way.

For over two decades, The Sims franchise has dominated the gaming industry, selling over 200 million copies worldwide and ultimately remaining one of the best-selling video games of all time. According to EA, players clocked in an impressive 1.4 billion hours of The Sims 4 in 2022. For years, EA had a complete monopoly on games of this type. For one, the game content is so robust in content, storytelling and depth, that it would take a lot of time, funding and effort to pull off a serious competitor. Additionally, the Simsverse has become so expansive that it’s really hard to re-invent the wheel at this point, making it difficult to differentiate game play. Still, who better to take things to the next level than someone who is well-versed in the Sims-verse like Rod Humble?

While the names Will Wright and Rod Humble may not ring a bell to many, they are essentially the Steve Jobs and Tim Cook of The Sims. Many even noted that the series lost most of its quirks and charms after both of their exits. For example, in The Sims 2, Humble himself appears in the game as an NPC that delivers a PC to your doorstep equipped with The Sims 3. This Easter egg remains a classic to this day, which is why many were excited to hear that he would be spearheading involved with Life By You, and immediately welcomed the idea of a new game.

While The Sims 4 maintains its popularity, EA has a tendency to overpromise and underdeliver on everything from its base game to game packs. Life By You does exactly the opposite thus far. The teaser clocks in under 60 seconds and hints at fairly simple gameplay, however, it also manages to feel like much of what fans of the genre have been missing. Within the first seconds, you see cars driving around neighborhood roads. This already feels refreshing, considering The Sims 4’s odd choice to revert from the open world and rabbit holes gameplay of The Sims 3 back to the more boxed-in, loading screens from The Sims 1 and The Sims 2.

If the cars alone are not enough to spark interest, Life By You promises lifestyle and family gameplay by showing characters in their homes cooking, tending to houseplants and embracing with hearts swirling around them. The teaser ends with a shot of a very serene and expansive beach scene, teasing an open world once again full of depth and freedom. The game already feels sophisticated, inviting you to engage intellectually and creatively with a new world.

Overall, Life By You feels like the first true competitor in the life sim genre. There are honorable mentions such as ConcernedApe’s Stardew Valley RPG and games like Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas and now Hogwarts Legacy have brought simulation and open world concepts to the action-adventure genre. The upcoming Paralives simulator has generated substantial anticipation, despite being in development for four years since its 2019 announcement. EA also hinted at The Sims 5, by confirming the development of Project Rene, which also has no release date in sight.

Perhaps a new game is exactly what both studios need to get going.

Paradox Studios is set to deliver more information about Life By You on March 20. With a beautiful teaser and the trusted hands of Rod Humble at the wheel, we’ll soon see if this is exactly what is needed to breathe much-needed fresh air into the beloved sims industry.

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Ronnia Cherry

Nia Cherry is a journalist, curator and casualcore gamer. When not prepping for law school, she can be found playing The Sims 4, Sim City or winning back-to-back games of Monopoly online. She can be found on Twitter: @aflylovesong and IG: @ronnia.


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