Paradox cancels life sim Life by You, CEO says they gave the studio 'a fair shot' but now 'believe it is better to stop'

Ronnie has a chat with a coworker in Life By You.
(Image credit: Paradox)

Less than a month after the highly anticipated life sim Life By You was delayed without a new release date, Paradox has announced that the whole project has been cancelled.

"Sadly, we’ve decided to cancel the release of our long-awaited life sim Life by You," says a message on the Paradox forums, attributed to deputy CEO Mattias Lilja. "This was an incredibly difficult call to make and is a clear failure on Paradox’s part to meet both our own and the community's expectations."

The cancellation was also announced on Paradox's Twitter feed and website.

Lilja acknowledged that "Life by You has been in the works for a long time" and said Paradox hoped "it would be able to leave a mark in this exciting and new genre for us." That, he explained, is why Paradox has already delayed releasing it twice: "to give the studio and the game a fair shot at realizing the potential we saw."

We saw that potential too. In a 2023 preview we said that Life by You is like "The Sims with its brakes cut," and that if it "doesn't shake apart it could be something very special." 

Sadly, shaking apart appears to be exactly what happened.

"A few weeks back, we decided to hold off on an Early Access release in order to re-evaluate Life by You, as we still felt that the game was lacking in some key areas," Lilja wrote. "Though a time extension was an option, once we took that pause to get a wider view of the game, it became clear to us that the road leading to a release that we felt confident about was far too long and uncertain.

"This is not to say the game has not shown any promising qualities; Life by You had a number of strengths and the hard work of a dedicated team that went into realizing them. However, when we come to a point where we believe that more time will not get us close enough to a version we would be satisfied with, then we believe it is better to stop."

Life By You was scheduled to launch into early access on July 4, but just two weeks ahead of that was delayed again, as Paradox said "more development time was needed." It didn't offer a new release target at the time because "it is more prudent to hold off while we plan ahead, rather than committing to a new date that we cannot be certain to meet," the company said.

At this point, Paradox seems just about as baffled by the sudden and wholly unexpected cancellation as we are: Lilja said mistakes and problems in development "always become painfully apparent in hindsight, but still shouldn't reach this kind of magnitude regardless."

"We have to take a long and hard look at what led us here and see what changes we have to make to become better," he wrote. "In the end, our mission remains the same, and we’ll continue to take whatever steps we need to do just that."

Paradox Interactive CEO Fredrik Wester made a similar point in a separate statement discussing the impact of Life By You's cancellation on Paradox's financials.

"We’ve performed poorly in recent releases," Fredrik Wester. "Even though we now start new projects in a different manner, it is clear that we must make further changes so that quality is more consistent and the promises we make to our players are met. We have to evaluate how we manage projects and how we organize, for we will and must get better. We have a very solid financial position and a strong core game portfolio, which keeps us confident about our future."

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.