Something to look forward to: Maxis just revealed a few new tidbits about Project Rene, which some have referred to as The Sims 5. It confirmed rumors about the game being free-to-play, hinted at the studio’s plans for monetization, and told us why we shouldn’t be calling it The Sims 5.
On Tuesday, The Sims developer Maxis confirmed rumors from June that the next Sims game, codenamed Project Rene, would be free to download and play. It will also not rely on a scammy energy system that limits your play time unless you buy energy (looking at you, Sims Mobile). The core game will be completely free with no subscription.
In a cringe-worthy “Behind The Sims” presentation obviously geared toward the tween demographic (below), Vice President of Franchise Creative Lyndsay Pearson hinted that Project Rene would adopt a monetization model similar to the ongoing Sims 4 development.
Read our special feature: The Sims: 22 Years and Counting
“We mean for Project Rene to be free to download,” Pearson said. “And that means that when it’s ready and fully open to our players, you’ll be able to join and play and explore Project Rene without a subscription, without core game purchase, or energy mechanics.”
The VP said that development would be supported by selling DLC. She quickly mentioned that players would still get some content for free but that there may be extensions to free DLC that would come at a price. For instance, the devs may introduce a weather plug-in for free while charging for related playable features like ice skating or snowball fights. Pearson was somewhat vague about it, but monetization is still a factor Maxis is ironing out.
One thing that Pearson did make clear, though, is that Project Rene is not The Sims 5. Maxis plans to launch Project Rene – or whatever it ends up being called – alongside The Sims 4 and support them both independently.
“Project Rene and other Sims games, including The Sims 4, will coexist for the foreseeable future,” Pearson explained. “It means Project Rene is not setting out to replace your current awesome Sims experiences.”
The Sims 4 is already a DLC cash cow, and that will not change in the immediate future. It is what is funding Project Rene’s initial development. Once it is up and running, Maxis and EA will have an additional indefinite revenue stream operating on the same franchise.
Pearson stressed that Project Rene’s ultimate goal is to present a different way to play The Sims. However, she didn’t share any fresh details, instead choosing to reiterate what we already knew. The game will support multiplayer and cross-platform play. The building system is also being completely rebuilt, which is wonderful. The Sims 4 has so many options now that building, furnishing, and decorating your dwellings is daunting for anyone who has not evolved with the game from launch.
Whatever the final name and product is, it will be welcomed by fans who have not seen a fresh entry in the 23-year-old franchise for over nine years (aside from the crappy Sims Mobile from 2017). Unfortunately, there is still a way to go on Project Rene. When Maxis announced it last year, it was in very early development and several years from release.