Upcoming The Sims rival Life by You doesn't have any loading screens, meaning the whole world is constantly working away in the background.
In an interview with Rock Paper Shotgun, Rod Humble, life sim veteran and head of Paradox Interactive's Berkeley studio, explained the complexity of creating a completely open world in its upcoming game. As Humble explains, the ultimate goal for Life by You was to build "an open-world life simulator where the core tenant was freedom," and loading screens stood in the way of that freedom.
Loading screens are "the biggest friction" in modern life sims, Humble says, but getting rid of them is no easy feat. Having everything taking place simultaneously comes with its own set of challenges, as Humble explains: "What happens to the clock? The answer is, it's all simulating, all the time. Now you've got every person in the world who's operating with the same rules, and you have to make sure that they're being accurately modelled every second of every year because we have real life spans here."
"Agents don't live for 14 days, they live 75+ years," the developer continues, "And so unlocking that system and getting real-time to work with a simulation where every agent is being simulated the same way as the player's agent, that was the real challenge." According to Humble, this took the team "quite a few years" to figure out, but he says it was worth all of the work put into it as the result is an extremely immersive life sim.
Comparing Life by You to other life sims, like The Sims 4 or maybe even The Sims 5, Humble tells RPS: "What happens to the person who works in the restaurant when you go home? There's a loading screen, and typically in games, that person doesn't exist anymore." As for Paradox's life sim, Humble says "we don't get that option. That person goes home, and you might live opposite them."
We got our first proper look at Life by You just last week when the team at Paradox Interactive showcased everything the life sim has to offer in a dedicated livestream. It was during this showcase that we got to see gameplay, character customization, and just how much freedom players will get in the life sim. This is also when we found out about the game's September 12, 2023, early access release date.
Need something to play while we wait for Life by You? Take a look at some games like The Sims you can try today.