Former dev from sunken Sims competitor Life by You alleges the team had 'the rug pulled' from under them—despite outperforming the company's internal metrics

Life By You - a character with long dark hair, glasses, and a green shirt stands on a suburban street
(Image credit: Paradox Tectonic)

Life by You seemed poised to corner an untapped market—that corner being a version of the Sims not bogged down by over $1,200's worth of DLC. As PCG's Joshua Wolens noted during a preview, it was angled to be "Sims with the brakes cut".

Unfortunately, that didn't materialise. A mere month after delaying its early access without a new date, Paradox released a statement that the game would go unreleased forevermore. In the announcement, the company argued that "the road leading to a release that we felt confident about was far too long and uncertain." Within a day, Paradox Tectonic—the division of Paradox making the thing—was shut down.

However, a former developer from Paradox Tectonic alleges a very different story. In a lengthy LinkedIn post, Willem Delventhal, a former designer at the studio, says that the game was doing "extremely well" before Paradox delayed it. His team had an "internal metric" that they were outperforming—and were given a "thumbs up a few weeks before launch", which made the alleged rugpull all the more confusing: "Two weeks before launch, we were told we wouldn't be launching."

Delventhal adds that the team was "not told why. Instead we spent a month in purgatory, and did everything we could to prove to them we were worth launching … We heard virtually nothing back." In the post, he also mentions that when the executioner's axe finally swung, its developers were "only informed of this via a public announcement".

This, naturally, paints a bafflingly contradictory picture. Having read the official statement, you'd be forgiven for thinking that Life by You was struggling to stumble over the finish line—but if the team had internal metrics, and it was beating them? That's a head-scratcher.

"To be honest, I have guesses about what happened," Delventhal writes, "And while I can't conjecture, I'm sure you have guesses too. As a business owner, some of them are understandable, but many of them are not. We were a strong team on a strong project ready to launch to a strong audience.

"This industry has become a place in which you can deliver more than expected, have AA money behind you, and still have the rug pulled two weeks before launch," Delventhal adds, before resolving to focus on projects such as the Indie Game Academy, which aims to help smaller developers build and launch their games.

Harvey Randall
Staff Writer

Harvey's history with games started when he first begged his parents for a World of Warcraft subscription aged 12, though he's since been cursed with Final Fantasy 14-brain and a huge crush on G'raha Tia. He made his start as a freelancer, writing for websites like Techradar, The Escapist, Dicebreaker, The Gamer, Into the Spine—and of course, PC Gamer. He'll sink his teeth into anything that looks interesting, though he has a soft spot for RPGs, soulslikes, roguelikes, deckbuilders, MMOs, and weird indie titles. He also plays a shelf load of TTRPGs in his offline time. Don't ask him what his favourite system is, he has too many.