Electronic Arts (EA) has confirmed the existence of The Sims 5, but when the title will be released and what it looks like remains shrouded in secrecy.
The hit life simulation game franchise has been going strong since its debut on PCs back in February 2000.
Now, four mainline titles, hundreds of expansions, and dozens of spin-offs later, EA is ready to dip back into the Sims pool for the next evolution of the longstanding series.
When Will The Sims 5 Release?
Originally announced as a part of the Behind The Sims Summit in October 2022, The Sims 5 (or as EA refers to it, Project Rene) has been teased as the "next generation" of the franchise (Per The Verge).
The game currently has no official release date listed from developer Maxis, but because of this 'next generation' branding, it will likely be quite some time before the title is released in any significant way.
During the game's original announcement, it was teased Project Rene (The Sims 5) had been announced "earlier than ever before," and that it was still "years out" (via Games Radar).
It has been nearly a decade since The Sims 4 debuted, yet - according to Maxis - it could still be quite some time before Sims 5 ever sees the light of day.
Given the verbiage used at the announcement, a full release for Project Rene looks like it could be at least another two to five years away (2026-2029).
However, that does not mean gamers will not get to get their hands on the title before then.
Maxis has made it clear there will be early access periods for The Sims 5 throughout development as the team shares "in-progress work, explorations, sneak-peeks, behind-the-scenes content" to small groups of players (via Maxis):
"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,"
Why Is The Sims 5 Taking So Long?
The reason for this lengthy development cycle simply stems from the unprecedented nature of Project Rene/Sims 5.
The Sims 5 marks the first title in the franchise to be released as a full-scale free-to-play platform.
Lyndsay Pearson (VP of Franchise Creative for The Sims) revealed during a September 2023 live stream, "We intend for Project Rene to be free-to-download" and will evolve with the player base over years to come:
“This means that when Project Rene is ready and fully open to players, you will be able to join, play and explore it without a subscription, core game purchase or energy mechanics,We want playing to be super easy for you to invite or join friends and experience new features, stories and challenges.”
Pearson added, The Sims 5 will not come with everything currently available in The Sims 4 but will exist "side-by-side" with the current title and the team "plan[s] to add new experiences and content to Project Rene over time" (per IGN):
"[We] plan to add new experiences and content to Project Rene over time. For example, basic weather may be added to the core game for free, for everybody. And in the future, a pack for purchase may be focused on winter sports with activities like ice dancing or a snowman building competition.”
This can also be seen within the title's jump to be a multi-platform experience, being able to be played on both PC and mobile. This allows for a "true, rich experience that you're used to" paired with the ability to "grab your phone and [get] a different experience" (via Games Radar):
"[It is the] true, rich experience that you're used to. But then, on the go, you can grab your phone and maybe it's a different experience, maybe you're grabbing archetypes, preselecting templates, or grabbing the stuff that you've already created."
It is this ambitious leap into new territory for The Sims with the upcoming title that is the primary cause for this extended delay between mainline titles, a wait that will hopefully be worth it for fans.
Will The Sims 5 Have Multiplayer?
Yes, The Sims 5 will have a focus on multiplayer, being branded as a collaborative game since the very beginning, but Maxis has made it clear it is "not an MMO"
During a January 2023 Behind the Sims event Sims 5 director Grant Rodiek revealed the new game is a "public, shared space," but it can still be played alone:
"Now, one thing to keep in mind is that Project Rene is not an MMO. It is not this public, shared space where everything you do is always with other people. You could play on your own, on your terms, and then again, when you want on your terms, you can invite others to come and play with you. That's the structure that we're pursuing, and we think that's really cool and perfect for 'The Sims.'"
VP of Franchise Creative for The Sims Lyndsay Pearson told Radio Times in November 2023, explained The Sims 5 is "not multiplayer in the big, scary 'jump in a world full of strangers' kind of way," but more akin to Nintendo's Animal Crossing franchise:
"Not multiplayer in the big, scary ‘jump in a world full of strangers’ kind of way. But literally, how do you and your friends want to do some play together? And there’s a lot of different flavours that could take, so we’re exploring a lot of different spaces there.”
How Much Will The Sim 5 Cost to Download?
When The Sims 5 does eventually release, it will cost gamers nothing to jump in.
The game will be "free-to-download," with players doling out their hard-earned dollars on additive downloadable content.
Pearson confirmed, "Beyond regular updates to the core game, we will sell content and packs," but it will not look like it has in past Sims games (via Digital Spy).
Instead, Sims 5 will break up the traditional expansion model for the game, giving all players some content while charging for others:
"In 'The Sims 4,' the only way to experience any weather was if you purchased Seasons. Now, in Project Rene, we might introduce basic weather to the core game for free for everybody. And then a pack for purchase might be focused on winter sports and could include activities like ice dancing or a snowman-building competition."
The Sims 5 Potential Gameplay Details
From a gameplay standpoint, The Sims 5 does not look to be shaking up the formula too much.
Thus far Maxis has only teased what to expect, but playing the game looks as though it will consist of the same home designing and life simulation the franchise has become known for.
Where Project Rene differs though will be in its creative and sharing capabilities.
One vital piece of The Sims 5 equation will be designing and creating custom bespoke items to place in the player's home.
An example used by Maxis and EA in marketing was creating unique upholstery for a couch, and then sharing that for the world of other Sims 5 players to download and use in their game.
This will result in what has been described as a "social play experience" where players can do things like "design an apartment together" in a collaborative experience.
When Could The Sims 5 Trailer Release?
No Sims 5 trailer has been made public as of yet, but EA has been very publicly talking about the game for a couple of years at this point.
Given the title seems to still be fairly early in development, it could still be some time before gamers get a proper trailer.
The first official trailer for The Sims 4 was only released a year before it released, making its debut on the Gamescom stage in 2013.
If Sims 5 follows a similar marketing cycle, that could mean a trailer may not be seen until 2025 at the earliest.
The Sims 5 (aka Project Rene) is in active development with no release window available.