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The Sims 5 is in early development, has cool new build mode

The next Sims game is being developed under the codename ‘Project Rene’

A screen reading “The Sims - Project Rene” against an orange, green, and purple screen. Image: Maxis/Electronic Arts
Cass Marshall is a news writer focusing on gaming and culture coverage, taking a particular interest in the human stories of the wild world of online games.

After eight years of The Sims 4 and its expansions, fans have started to wonder what’s next for the classic life simulator franchise. On Tuesday, The Sims developer Maxis unveiled a very early look at “Project Rene” (pronounced like Renée), the codename for the game that will eventually become The Sims 5.

During the developer’s Behind the Sims Summit, Maxis’ vice president of franchise creative for The Sims, Lyndsay Pearson, shared high-level plans for upcoming Sims content. Pearson officially announced Project Rene, the next mainline Sims game, which will allow for solo or collaborative play and cross-play across various devices.

The preview of Project Rene presented at the summit focused on technical systems like building and customization, but didn’t show off the actual titular Sims themselves. The preview showed a player customizing a room, and it looked very different than the current buy-and-build mode in The Sims 4. In one example, the player was shown taking apart a bed to manually adjust the shape of the headboard and the texture of the blankets. In another, the player was able to decorate a couch by picking the right throw pillow and then adjusting it carefully so it landed just right. With these features and the asymmetrical room layouts on display, it looks like players will be able to create very unique homes for their Sims.

Project Rene also makes the building phase of the game significantly more social, with the buy-and-build phase becoming a multiplayer feature for those interested in sharing their builds. Friends can hop in and decorate a room together right in Project Rene, instead of having to use screen sharing to get advice. The building phase is also fully cross-platform; during the preview, one player was seen scrolling through the furniture catalog on their phone to fill the room before tinkering with the details on PC.

Pearson stressed that Maxis has never shared in-progress looks at a Sims title so early in the development cycle, and that the developer will continue to share updates on Project Rene over the “next few years.”

Maxis will also continue to support The Sims 4 with updates and expansions as it goes free to play on Oct. 18. The Sims 4 will be updated in 2023 with two additional expansions. In 2023, The Sims 4 will also see the addition of infants, which will expand on the baby stage of a Sim’s life. The developer also has plans to collaborate with mod platform CurseForge, supporting the robust modding community around the franchise.

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