During today’s Behind The Sims stream, SimGuruGrant (yes THE Grant) gave players some new info bits on the progress of the next iteration of The Sims, Project Rene. You can check out the video interview by clicking this link here, or read the transcript below.
So, tell us, what’s going on with Project Rene right now?
We are absolutely thrilled to finally put this experience in the hands of some of our players. Well, a small part of the experience. What we’re doing is early days playtesting, and this is just the start of an incredibly long journey. There’s a lot to do, and I’m talking years out, but it is exciting. We’re moving and things are finally starting to happen.
Oooh! Playtesting…So, for those who are new to the gaming sphere, what is playtesting, and what did you explore with this first playtest for Project Rene?
It’s a good question. So, with Project Rene we want to develop this hand-in-hand with our players from the very beginning. So, we’re trying to take small snippets of the game, share it with a limited number of people, and find out what works, what’s fun, what’s too complicated, what needs to be revised.
So, what we did this time was something we call Apartment Customization, where we took what a lot of you know as build or buy mode, so you can place furniture, move it around. But you can also go deeper on individual pieces of furniture. So, this couch you have here, you could change the colors, you could change the pattern, the material, the parts, the size…We let players do that. You could also do this in multiplayer with other people in real time. And then all of your creations can be shared, uploaded, downloaded, so that we can start testing our UGC backend. All of this on both mobile and PC. It’s a lot, and it’s been a really fun test to get started on.
I want to ask a little bit more about the playtest, but I do want to come back to a lot of points that you called out. So, starting with PC and mobile, you guys showed that cross-platform compatibility, and with The Sims™ being such a large game, there’s some concern that it might be a little bit of a shallower experience. So, how are you navigating, taking that from a PC system to now a mobile device?
This is a huge challenge. But the thing that excites us so much is that we can basically remove the barriers to play for The Sims™. So, what we mean by this is that you can have that deep dive at home on your PC, play for 4 hours, change every single thing about a piece of furniture that you imagine, typing in RGB values and changing every single part. So, that’s the PC experience. That’s that 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. But what this means is that you can now play The Sims™ wherever you are, without barriers, without restrictions. And we think that’s really powerful and really exciting.
That is exciting. So, let’s say I’m inspired by you right now and I take out my phone, create you now, think you look really cool, and then take that creation of you and actually play with this creation of you on my PC?
100%. The idea is that all of your information is wherever you need it to be. So, as an example, I have a toddler at home, so sometimes I get to game when he’s taking his nap. So, in this case, I could be playing Project Rene on my PC at home. Boom. I hear him crying, he’s up. We’re going to go out and about, go to the park. So then, I might continue what I’m doing on the park bench while he’s safely sliding and I can just pull out my phone, continue where I left off. The idea is that we can customize each platform to match the play style, the person, and what they’re doing and when. And again, that’s really exciting. It’s very difficult, it’s not easy. Something we have to figure out, but it’s really, really exciting for us. And so, it’s one of the challenges we’re trying to take on.
I agree. That is super exciting. I’m telling you, I would play The Sims™ all day, and with Project Rene, it sounds like you’re giving me that capability. So, I’m thrilled But I also want to ask a little bit about the multiplayer experience. The Sims™ historically has been pretty much a single player game outside of The Sims™ Bustin’ Out and The Sims™ Online. And there’s been a long-standing discussion on whether the next iteration or the evolution of The Sims™ should be multiplayer or single player. So, I’m very curious to learn where is Project Rene landing in there?
Project Rene can be both. So, this is a big deal. But the reality is that, yes, we know that our players want to have that intimate personal experience where they’re exploring stories and ideas in single player, but there are also really cool things you could do with others, where you could share, create with your friends, the people that you want. We think we could be both. 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™.
I love that for me, because I’m a pretty social person, and I would be very, very excited to play with friends. But there’s also times where it’s like, I’m going to disappear into my own story and kind of do my own thing. So, I think that’s super exciting to know that you’re looking for Project Rene to do both. So, my last question, what stage are we at with Project Rene? You know, more playtests, the releasing next month? I’m kidding. Not releasing next month. But where are we at in this journey for Project Rene, and what can players expect to see in the months and years ahead?
Yeah. Right now, we are really focused on analyzing our recent playtest so that we can use that information to make the game better. We have a long path ahead of us to make Project Rene awesome. But right now we need to introduce our tools to our players in a better fashion. We need to make the mobile experience more accessible, and we need to continue to experiment with how we can curate and recommend UGC content that other players have made to other players, so that you find the best stuff that will make your game better. So, there’s a lot there that we need to figure out to put into our current build. So, again, it’s really early days.
We are trying to analyze our last test and really see what we learned and what we could do about it to make the game better. So, you can expect regular updates from Project Rene in Summits. We’re going to keep talking to you, keep sharing. We also have more tests coming out where we’re going to evaluate different parts of the game, new snippets, more details on that soon, and more details on how to be part of these tests. So, it’s years out, early days. It’s a long-time process that we want to work with you on, but we’re going to keep talking about it, and I can’t wait to share more.