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Life by You wants to let The Sims players “just make gameplay”

PCGamesN chatted to Sims competitor Life by You's general manager Rod Humble at GDC 2023, discussing how the life game's tools aim to give you creative freedom.

The upcoming Life by You release date is fast approaching, as the first game from Paradox Tectonic promises to upend and reinvent the very essence of the life game genre. To mark the occasion, we at PCGamesN chatted with studio head and industry veteran Rod Humble at GDC 2023 in San Francisco, and learned a lot about how Paradox is approaching the genre with Life by You.

Humble is also known as the former CEO of Second Life Creator Linden Lab, and for heading up The Sims label at EA during the development of The Sims 2 and The Sims 3, so he’s got quite the pedigree in the genre. We spoke to Humble about Life by You back in 2020, but now he can tell us much more.

“In most life sims you make yourself in your mid-20s, and doesn’t matter what age you are currently,” Humble says with a smile in our small meeting room. “If you’re 18, you’ll make yourself in your 20s, if you’re 50, you’ll make yourself in your mid-20s. People like that mid-20s! You’ll make yourself and then you’ll play out a little of your life.”

This is the game everyone expects Life by You to be, and Humble explains that if you go looking for it, “you’ll find it.” That’s not all though, as Humble understands that those of us that stick around with life sims find our niche, and can hone in on that for thousands of hours. The game’s new developer tools, which will be available in early access, will let us customise our Life by You game to the Nth degree, just as Paradox Tectonic built it.

“This is kind of the elder game for most life sim players,” Humble says, “you tend to specialise a little bit.”

Humble recognises that some players will make houses, others will make characters, and even more will specialise further, adding that Paradox hopes “with all these new tools” that some will “just make gameplay,” with his specific example being clothing designers.

“You might say, ‘all I want to do is make T-shirt swatches, and I’m just sharing my T-shirt swatches in the game, everybody loves my T-shirt swatches.’ You can just be a fashion designer thinking, ‘Yeah, I’m making summer dress swatches. That’s all I do.’”

Clothing swatches are just one of Humble’s many examples, with another pertaining to turning bushes into functioning toilets. He calls all of these different groups of life sim creators “constituencies,” from builders to filmmakers, and outlines how he wants Life by You’s developer tools to help everyone create exactly what their niche is known for.

“All of the tools that we use to build the game are built into the game,” Humble explains to me, “and we’re sharing those with the players, there’s no hidden developer mode where we do stuff that they can’t, all the mods can use the same tools as the devs use.

“For each of these constituencies, we want to spend the time during early access to make sure that the features within the game are fully robust, and also to develop them in coordination with player creators going forward,” Humble adds.

If you want even more while waiting for Life by You to drop later this year, our list of the best games like The Sims 4 is sure to keep you busy. Alternatively, you can take a look at the Life by You system requirements, to see if the open-world game can run on your PC or laptop.