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The Sims rival inZOI shows SimCity side, fixes an issue with EA’s game

Krafton life sim inZOI is positioned as a rival to The Sims 4, but it also shares some elements in common with EA city builder SimCity.

The Sims rival inZOI shows off its SimCity side in new interview - A lady with long, dark hair stands before a living model of a city.

With The Sims 4 celebrating its tenth birthday in 2024 and word on the upcoming Project Rene and a potential Sims 5 still somewhat sparse, it’s no surprise we’re seeing several rivals looking to fill the gap. Alongside the likes of Paralives and Life By You, Korean entry inZOI, from PUBG publisher Krafton, is taking the most realistic-looking approach to the format, although its lead developer ‘Kjun’ reveals that there’s actually a fairly abstract concept for the life sim, which bears more than a few hallmarks of his love for the SimCity games.

A stylish newcomer looking to dethrone EA’s long-running leader amid the current run of exciting new life games, it turns out that Krafton’s inZOI actually gives you a bit more control over the city as a whole. As we await the inZOI release date later this year, it’s revealed in a new interview with the YouTube channel ‘Middle-Aged Gamer Kim,’ that your city actually exists in a large tray that sits atop your desk, watched over by an eagle-eyed, fluffy cat.

“You get to become a god,” Kjun remarks, laughing that you’ll have to get all your decisions approved by the cat, who’s the real boss. He notes that since initial previews, the team has made the city map smaller – “It was too big and it made it unplayable,” he explains. You will, however, have control over altering everything from the city decoration, trees, and foliage to adjusting the density of the cat population, changing the weather on the fly, altering the schedules of individual Zois, “and maybe the ability to add zebras on the streets.”

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The large digital billboards around town will be able to display images you upload to the game, or you can input YouTube links to play those videos across your city. It’s certainly a little more reminiscent of SimCity and Cities Skylines, and Kjun notes that he was a SimCity fan back to the first game: “Since I’ve played these games for such a long time, it’s natural for me to try and create that ultimate simulator that does everything I’ve always wanted.”

Later in the video (around the 24:30 mark), the team also reveals its second of three planned cities for the launch version of the game. Bliss Bay is heavily inspired by Santa Monica – a point the team is happy to mention, as if its attraction-packed pier isn’t enough of a giveaway. Kjun notes that it’s a “much more widespread” area than the compact layout of its Korean-inspired first city, Dowon, and as such will almost necessitate your Zois needing transportation to get around. He also says players will be able to designate how safe areas of the city are, but that the team won’t pre-set this as it wants to avoid “generalizing.”

Kjun also discusses several other details that will likely be key information for long-time Sims fans. You’ll be able to freely stack items together if you want to for decorative purposes, without the need to use cheats the way The Sims demands. He does note that this can prevent interactions with the items, but it’s a welcome tool for those looking to come up with creative build ideas.

inZOI - A living city model inside a large tray placed on a desk.

“There were so many things I wanted to do in the game,” Kjun says of The Sims series, “but they always made it very difficult.” It’s clear that the sense of player creativity and shaping the city as a sandbox is important to his design philosophy; “Simply having a high resolution, high quality game is meaningless, but providing the best possible creation tool for our players is worth working towards.”

The full interview also digs into some of the jobs you’ll be able to do. The current build just includes the rather eclectic mix of firefighter, K-pop star, convenience store worker, and kimbap chef, though Kjun teases game developer and vet as two he wants to include. You’ll actually have to go to your workplace and carry out the tasks required of your job – which Kjun says means a full day in inZOI takes roughly 40 minutes of real-world game time, compared to the traditional 24 minutes in The Sims.

Kjun also discusses conversations, which he says will look dramatically different depending on your relationship. You can, for example, ask your child if they’ve done their homework, or decide how much allowance they get. Conversely, if things get bad enough between family members, they may decide to stop coming home.

inZOI work - Two people working at a kimbap restaurant in the new life sim game.

As for how this difference in conversations is being achieved, Kjun says that the inZOI team is working with Krafton’s AI division. “We’re currently looking towards AI to help us provide this solution,” he states, though doesn’t elaborate on exactly what that looks like. The team has previously noted its plans to use AI tools for some features such as creating designs for in-world photos, but we’ve yet to see more detailed explanations of exactly what that will look like in the final product.

While we wait to hear more, keep an eye on the best games like The Sims you can find on PC right now, along with plenty more of the coziest and most relaxing games in 2024.

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