Free-to-play Sims 5 update is good news for The Sims 4

Free-to-play Sims 5 update is good news for The Sims 4
Images via EA

Written by 

Tom Chapman


13th Sep 2023 12:55

It's been nine years since The Sims 4 took us into a new era for the already long-running franchise of The Sims. Even as we look ahead to the release of The Sims 5 (whenever that is), there's no sign of its bigger brother bowing out anytime soon.

The years have been kind to The Sims 4, and while most games would've long bowed out, the fourth mainline game has been enjoying something of a Skyrim renaissance where it's been kept alive by the community and official DLCs alike. We've had everything from ski resorts to horse-riding ranches, but what comes next?

The Sims 5 is just the start of The Sims 4

Officially announced in October 2022, Project Rene is thought to be the code for The Sims 5. Details have been thin on the ground, but the latest Behind the Sims video has been something of an info dump about what to expect for your Simoleons. 

Picking out the important bits, we're told, "Project Rene and The Sims 4 will exist side by side." There are promises that EA will "continue to support both at the same time and will plan to bring more exciting content to The Sims 4 community for the foreseeable future."

The other big takeaway is Project Rene's free-to-enter status. In June 2023, a job posting for a Head of Marketplace and Monetization called Project Rene a "free-to-enter game." This is cleared up in the latest notes, claiming the game is free to download.

EA clarifies, "When Project Rene is ready and fully open to players, you will be able to join, play and explore it without a subscription, core game purchase or energy mechanics." It doesn't rule out monetisation or paid-for expansions, simply that the base game is free to enjoy.

What is Project Rene?

Project Rene Protoype lounge
Click to enlarge

Clearing up where Project Rene fits into The Sims family, the post concludes that "while it won't begin with everything you have in The Sims 4, we plan to add new experiences and content to Project Rene over time."

There's a mention of selling content, and while weather might be free for all, winter sports activities will likely be behind some form of paywall. Still, EA reminds us, Project Rene will "lower barriers to play and give all players the broadest shared systems because that feels like the strongest foundation for us to grow from."

The interesting bit is that Project Rene still isn't being referred to as The Sims 5, leading sceptics to speculate this isn't the full-blown sequel we're hoping for. There are rumours that you'll only be able to renovate apartments and that it'll be more akin to The Sims Online - which didn't exactly go well.

Tom Chapman
About the author
Tom Chapman
Tom is Trending News Editor at GGRecon, with an NCTJ qualification in Broadcast Journalism and over seven years of experience writing about film, gaming, and television. With bylines at IGN, Digital Spy, Den of Geek, and more, Tom’s love of horror means he's well-versed in all things Resident Evil, with aspirations to be the next Chris Redfield.
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