Life By You is a new game in development at Paradox Interactive that aims to out-Sims the Sims: It's an open-world game that uses "real language conversations," enables players to take direct control of in-game avatars, and will come with a suite of customization tools that will "allow for unparalleled levels of storytelling." Development is also being headed up by Rod Humble, who prior to becoming general manager at developer Paradox Tectonic was the head of EA's Sims label for several years.
It's an ambitious project, and as associate editor Lauren Morton wrote earlier this month, it will provide some long-overdue competition for The Sims, which has effectively owned the "dollhouse-core simulation genre" for more than 20 years. Unfortunately, she (and the rest of us) are going to have to wait a little longer than expected before we'll get to see whether it can deliver on that front, as the early access release planned for September has been pushed to March 5, 2024.
"The additional time gives the development studio, Paradox Tectonic, the ability to improve the game’s visuals and UI," Paradox said. "These improvements will not only affect the overall look and feel of the game but will make it a more well-rounded experience for players.
"Paradox Tectonic will also be fine tuning mod tools that will be available for all players to explore and create. The player-community is at the core of Life by You, and their feedback is the core to many of the positive changes coming to Life by You’s Early Access."
It's probably a wise move. For all its technical aspirations, Life By You has not really impressed us on the visual front: Morton, one of PC Gamer's top Sims-knowers, described the game as "a bit ugly" in its current state, saying it has "big 'virtually staged Zillow listing' vibes."
"Aesthetic builds and beautiful creations are a huge part of The Sims community and I struggle to envision something similar forming around Life By You the way it looks now," she wrote.
In a video message, Humble said that a preview of Life By You's updated interface will be shared later this week, as will a blog post with more detail on the planned changes. Because of the date change, all current preorders of Life By You on the Epic Games Store will be automatically refunded because of the date change; however, you can preorder with the updated early access right away.