The Sims 5 Project Rene: Everything we know about the future of The Sims

The Sims 5 Project Rene
(Image credit: EA )

The Sims 5 is very much happening, but Project Rene is breaking new ground for EA's beloved franchise. The recent news that Sims 5 will "coexist" with other Sims games means that while it will technically be the fifth Sims game, EA will keep working on both it and The Sims 4 side-by-side. Not only that, but Project Rene is expected to be free-to-play from day one, much like its predecessor

While fans were split over the decision, opening up its world to new players has only grown the community more and more in recent years, and Project Rene seems ready to push that even further. Here's everything we know about The Sims 5, aka Project Rene, so far, from newsbites from the publisher to rumors, screenshots, and more!

The Sims 5 news

What is The Sims 5 Project Rene?

The Sims 5 has now been officially announced with a working name of Project Rene. This is the "next generation of Sims game and creative platform", and although it's going to be a few years out before it's released, we've been given a sneak peek at a little of what to expect.

"We chose Project Rene because it's reminiscent of words like renewal, renaissance, [and] rebirth, and it represents our renewed commitment to The Sims," explained Pearson during the original reveal at the Behind the Sims Summit in October. "That's what we're doing, we're ushering in a new future for The Sims, with a new game experience and more."

"This new future requires us to stay true to what The Sims has always been while pushing to evolve how those Sims think and behave, to push tools further when creating and customizing, and to explore innovative ways not only to tell stories but to collaborate on those stories and creations with your closest friends across your favorite devices."

The Sims 5 release date

The Sims 5 release date

Project Rene concept shots

(Image credit: EA)

There is no concrete Sims 5 release date right now, with players being let into the Project Rene secret "earlier than ever before" because Maxis "want you to be a part of the development journey." It has been confirmed that a Sims 5 release date is "years out" though, so we're going to have to be patient.

Pearson says the Project Rene reveal "marks the start of our journey over the next few years", before later adding that "this is super early for us, and we've never shared information about our games years before launch to the world." So expect Project Rene to be at least a few years (if not more) away from launch.

Early Access

The Sims 5 early access

Project Rene concept shots

(Image credit: EA)

Maxis is preparing for some Early Access periods for The Sims 5, as the studio looks to the community to help guide Project Rene's development. "Over the next couple of years, we'll continue sharing updates with all of you on Project Rene. We'll share in-progress work, explorations, sneak-peeks, behind-the-scenes content as well as start to open up Early Access to Project Rene software to small groups over time," says Pearson. 

Now that doesn't sound anything like Alpha or Beta access in the traditional sense, but does sound like there will be opportunities for the community to have input on the game's development, which is awesome.  Here's the latest update from VP franchise creative Lyndsay Pearson: "We're developing this game in a different way and we're bringing everyone along with us, and that means a lot of different phases of development which can include everything from closed invites in small public tests to large-scale early access options.  

Interestingly, it seems like some playtests are already happening, with some leaks showcasing early character prototypes.

Free to play

Will The Sims 5 be free-to-play?

EA has now confirmed that The Sims 5, Project Rene, will be free to download when it's officially released. The company was quick to clarify that it will still sell paid content packs for the game alongside free updates to the core experience. However, Sims features that have traditionally been DLC-only may be available for free in Project Rene, including weather. 

VP franchise creative Lyndsay Pearson discussed how the game will evolve over time, and explicitly stated that The Sims 5 won't launch with all of the features currently available in The Sims 4. "Project Rene is not setting out to replace your current, awesome Sims experiences," she said in a video update. 


The Sims 5 platforms - Will it be cross-platform?

Project Rene concept shots

(Image credit: EA)

Now, Maxis hasn't officially confirmed the launch Sims 5 platforms yet, but as part of the Project Rene reveal, the developer did showcase the game running on what we assume to be PC as well as a mobile platform. 

"No matter who you may want to play with, we want you to be able to play wherever you want," says Pearson. 

During the initial Behind the Sims Summit, a tech test of "how you can play this game across supported devices of your choosing" was shown off, where someone was placing furniture using a phone screen and instantly seeing those changes replicated on a monitor – again what we assume to be PC. The aim is to offer the "same experience [on] different screens."

EA has now discussed this more as part of a community update on January 31, 2023. Content is being tested on PC and mobile. "With Project Rene, you'll be able to play on a PC, put it down, and pick up right where you left off on a mobile device", reads the blog post. It adds that the team is "still developing ways in which we can tailor the experiences per platform" though. 


Sims 5 gameplay features

Project Rene concept shots

(Image credit: EA)

Maxis and EA have started talking about The Sims 5 gameplay features that are in the works with Project Rene. Below, we've grouped them up by how they'll impact each part of the game, but we'll also detail what's been said about general improvements and evolutions here too. 

For example, Maxis teased a little about the new sharing capabilities, with the option to share an arrangement of furniture and other items in one cluster, rather than an entire room or complete build. "With Project Rene, we want to make it easier to work together and share. You can choose to play or create by yourself, or with your close friends - it's entirely your choice," explained Pearson.

In a second update on Project Rene, EA also confirmed that its experimenting with a "social play experience where players can design an apartment together".  However, it's been quick to add that "we fully recognize and embrace the fact that The Sims can be a very private, intimate escape for some people to explore things on their own. It will always be your choice whether to play on your own or with others". Essentially, The Sims 5 has multiplayer, but it's "not an MMO", and it is also a single-player experience.

The Sims 5 Build/Buy Mode

Project Rene concept shots

(Image credit: EA)

So far Maxis has outlined just a few elements of what The Sims 5 or Project Rene will eventually be. The first playtest for the game has now been completed with a small number of players and included furniture customization, which also took up the majority of the initial Behind the Sims Summit. The first look showcased how creative tools for Build Mode will evolve, with players able to pick the color and pattern of items (like a more nuanced version of The Sims 3's Create-a-Style) but also the shape of objects. 

Project Rene concept shots

(Image credit: EA)

The examples shown were a bed where you could choose a single or a double for a single item and then tweak things like the shape and style of elements like the headboard and footboard. A sofa was shown off too, with the user switching between a segmented three-cushion back or base and a solid one, or mixing and matching. You'll even be able to place and position throw cushions on your sofa independently, so this is going to be huge for builders.

Sims 5 Create a Sim

Hairstyle changes proposed for Project Rene

(Image credit: EA)

Not much has been said so far about Create a Sim, but what we do know is that hair styles are a big focus. The team is working on modelling "a wide variety of hairstyles across a broad range of humanity, and unlock options like flexible coloring". 

Sims 5 Live Mode

Examples of "Read the Room" animation improvements in the works for Project Rene

(Image credit: EA)

In terms of how our Sims will beahve and react in The Sims 5, Maxis is working on a vision for animation with the phrase "read the room" being the driving force. That means the team want "players to know how our Sims feel, along with what they’re thinking, just by how they behave", which will manifest in a "variety of attitudes, emotions and postures that need to work across various objects and socialization features".

To understand this, the team is looking into Sim Routines both inside and outside of the home, "diving deep into populations, routines and what a Sim can see and do". It's said to be "developing rapidly" and we should expect to see more soon. 

Maxis has also said it's looking at improvements to socialization too and how to present that to players without it feeling overwhelming. "From animating, talking and processing thoughts, the team is using basic visuals and placeholder content to better understand how much information is too much, what stands out and ultimately, what helps players understand what their Sim is thinking." 

The team say they're really leaning into "clean, clear, and simple visuals", or more specifically "how little we can get away with". I am so here for an uncluttered UI!

Sam Loveridge
Global Editor-in-Chief, GamesRadar+

Sam Loveridge is the Global Editor-in-Chief of GamesRadar, and joined the team in August 2017. Sam came to GamesRadar after working at TrustedReviews, Digital Spy, and Fandom, following the completion of an MA in Journalism. In her time, she's also had appearances on The Guardian, BBC, and more. Her experience has seen her cover console and PC games, along with gaming hardware, for a decade, and for GamesRadar, she's in charge of the site's overall direction, managing the team, and making sure it's the best it can be. Her gaming passions lie with weird simulation games, big open-world RPGs, and beautifully crafted indies. She plays across all platforms, and specializes in titles like Pokemon, Assassin's Creed, The Sims, and more. Basically, she loves all games that aren't sports or fighting titles! In her spare time, Sam likes to live like Stardew Valley by cooking and baking, growing vegetables, and enjoying life in the countryside.

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