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The Sims’ next game, ‘Project Rene,’ shows off what’s coming next

EA developers say multiplayer will have a big role, but it isn’t an MMO

Sims playing in the snow with a weird snowman in the background 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.

The Sims 4 is still in active development, with a baby-focused expansion currently planned to launch in March. The next installation of The Sims for next-generation platforms is currently codenamed Project Rene, and it’s still relatively early in development. We haven’t seen any actual Sims from Project Rene so far, but Electronic Arts did share more details on the game during Tuesday’s Behind The Sims Summit.

A “small part of the experience” is currently in the hands of play-testers, and the developer stressed that the full game is still “years out.” Multiplayer will be a major part of the next Sims, alongside the traditional single-player experience that fans have enjoyed over the past Sims games.

“We think we can be both,” Grant Rodiek, game director for Project Rene, said during the stream.

Project Rene will not be a MMO; the multiplayer features EA showed focus on enhanced customization. Play-testers are testing the game’s build-and-buy mode, which allows users to customize every part of a piece of furniture, from the color of the cushions to the exact wood used in the frame. Rodiek explained the team is pursuing a structure that allows friends to drop in or out to help build a bedroom or customize a gallery.

“You can have that deep dive, at home, on your PC, play for four hours, change every single thing about a piece of furniture you can imagine — typing in RGB values and changing every single part. That’s the PC experience, the true, rich experience you’re used to,” Rodiek said.

“Then on the go, you can grab your phone, and maybe it’s a different experience. Maybe you’re grabbing archetypes, pre-selecting templates, or grabbing the stuff you’ve already created,” Rodiek added. “What this means is you can now play The Sims wherever you are, with no barriers and no restrictions.”

While much of Project Rene is still kept under wraps, Rodiek did confirm that players will be able to create and customize Sims on the go, too. “It’s very difficult. It’s not easy, it’s something we have to figure out,” he said. Project Rene is still a long ways from launch, but its early development looks impressive and ambitious.