Life By You aims to be 'one of the most moddable and open life-simulation games' ever made

Paradox Interactive teased a new open-world Sims-alike called Life By You earlier this month, with the promise of a fuller reveal set for a livestream on March 20. Today is the day, and we've now got a clearer picture of what's in store: Paradox says that Life By You will be "one of the most moddable and open life-simulation games" ever made.

One big difference between Life By You and The Sims is that players will be able to shift from third-person to "direct control gameplay," which Paradox claims will enable players to connect with their in-game avatars "on an emotional level." That connection will be further strengthened by the use of "real language conversations" in the game, a very distinct difference from the nonsensical Simlish faux-language used in The Sims.

"Life by You evolves the life simulation genre with modern style, real language conversation, and unprecedented freedom of expression," Paradox Tectonic general manager Rod Humble said.

Modding is a big deal in The Sims 4, and Life By You aims to go even deeper into that aspect of the game: Players can design, build, and furnish their own homes and businesses from scratch, craft their own in-game conversations, and use the "Human Creator" to make their own unique characters with "deep personality and character traits," Paradox says. Life By You will also offer a set of Creator Tools that will enable players to develop their own mods for in-game content.

"The game’s extensive customization tools allow for unparalleled levels of storytelling, and I can’t wait to see what creations players come up with once they dive into Early Access," Humble said.

Rod Humble knows a thing or two about Sims-style games. Prior to taking the helm of Paradox Tectonic in 2019, he spent several years as the head of EA's Sims label, before leaving the company in 2010 to join Second Life developer Linden Lab. Given that, it's not terribly surprising that Life By You looks more than a little Sims-like, but it also seems set to distinguish itself by taking a more realistic approach to life simulation. The Sims is cartoonish and, generally speaking, best known as a sort of litany of catastrophe: It's the game, after all, the game that lets players condemn Sims to a watery death by simply removing the ladders from swimming pools.

Life By You, on the other hand, sounds like it's aiming for something more earnest. "Drag and drop your humans into their place—or drive them directly in third-person mode," Paradox said. "Live the life of one or tell the stories of many. Climb a career ladder. Fall in love. Raise a family."

Screens taken from the game pointed to a somewhat more grounded visual style too:

An FAQ says Life By You is set to go into early access on Steam and the Epic Games Store on September 12, and will be exclusive to PC at launch, although other platforms may be added in the future. Paradox expects it will stay in early access for at least a year.

You can see the full Life By You reveal stream below:

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.