After eight years of The Sims 4 and its expansions, EA has confirmed that the next mainline entry in the franchise is currently in development. The news comes by the way of the Behind the Sims Summit, where developer Maxis unveiled a very early look at “Project Rene“, the codename for the project that will eventually become The Sims 5.
Described as the “next generation The Sims game and creative platform,” the title is set to feature solo or co-op play and cross-play across various devices, which can be toggled via privacy settings. The official synopsis is as follows:
“The game will stay true to what The Sims has always been while pushing to evolve how those Sims think and behave. It will reimagine The Sims with even more ways to play, tools to encourage creativity, and the ability to tell meaningful stories. With Project Rene, players will have the choice to play solo or collaborate with others, and will have the ability to play their game across supported devices.”
The preview presented at the event focused on technical systems like building and customisation, but didn’t show off the actual Sims models. Advanced creative tools were also teased, with players appearing to have the ability to customise individual items, such as the headboard and footboard of a bed, the placement of the cushions on a sofa, and the colours and patterns of specific parts by using a colour wheel. The building phase, meanwhile, is designed to be more social — Project Rene allows friends to hop in and decorate a room together.
With the game still early in the works, things are expected to change along the way. “This is super early for us, and we’ve never shared information about our games years before they launch to the world, but we’re so excited to take you on this journey with us,” Lyndsay Pearson, VP of Franchise Creative for The Sims, said, promising to “continue sharing updates” with fans that would include “in-progress work, explorations, sneak peeks, and behind-the-scenes content”.
The grand announcement comes on the day that The Sims 4‘s base game goes permanently free, which potentially opens up the franchise to a large new audience. It was first released in 2014, and has seen plenty of expansions and new content over the years, such as a Star Wars pack, an eco lifestyle add-on, and customisable pronouns.