The next Sims game, currently codenamed Project Rene (but most likely called The Sims 5), will “definitely” have a multiplayer aspect to it, according to Sims VP of Franchise Creative Lyndsay Pearson – and the team are looking to Animal Crossing and more left-of-field title Among Us for inspiration.
Speaking on Radio Times’ One More Life Podcast, Pearson confirmed that the devs “definitely want to introduce multiplayer” to The Sims 5 in some capacity, although when it comes to exactly what that’ll look like the team are leaning more towards smaller multiplayer experiences over expansive, MMO-style multiplayer spaces.
“Not multiplayer in the big, scary ‘jump in a world full of strangers’ kind of way,” Pearson said. “How do you and your friends want to do some play together? And there’s a lot of different flavours that could take, so we’re exploring a lot of different spaces there. Because playing together can look like so many different things.”
Pearson says The Sims 5 team has discussed a range of different ways multiplayer could be used, from trivia games, fighting games, to racing games. “Playing together and social can mean so many things,” she said.
“We’re having a lot of fun exploring all those different opportunities, particularly within the context of The Sims, because it is still about these little characters, their little lives and you helping guide them. So what does that mean if you and I do that together?” Pearson explained. “How do we figure out how to make a little bit of that chaos, a little bit of that fun and a little bit of that positivity come together in a way that feels ‘Sims-y?”’
Pearson discussed Animal Crossing as a key inspiration for how The Sims 5 might tackle multiplayer, both due to the “little space” that can be shared with friends, but also the versatility of the game thanks to its high level of customisation allowing for players to create their own games and experiences within the world – such as Animal Talking, the talk show hosted by screenwriter Gary Whitta inside of Animal Crossing: New Horizons.
“We talk about Animal Crossing all the time, because it is such a good example of my little space, my little island, but I can invite you over,” Pearson said. “We’ve seen throughout the last few years of Animal Crossing people inventing ways to play together that the game doesn’t specifically support, but they’ve made up scavenger hunts or whatever. Which is amazing. Or people who hosted talk shows in Animal Crossing, I think is incredible.”
While the cozy life-sim vibes of Animal Crossing clearly have The Sims 5 devs thinking on how multiplayer experiences can be crafted, Pearson said plenty of other games served as inspiration for other potential multiplayer uses, most notably rage-inducing (and viral sensation) social deduction game Among Us. “We actually look at a lot of games that are doing multiplayer in clever ways, like Among Us even, which is this sort of mystery thing where you have to talk about it and solve it. What would something like that mean?” She said.
One of the key considerations of how an Among Us-style The Sims 5 type gameplay for Pearson is finding the “Sim-sy version” to make the gameplay unique and consistent with the franchise. “I could be trying to do something, I could be trying to get my Sim ready for a specific thing, and then you might be able to come in and mess it up somehow, or help somehow.”
Whether we get to play The Sims 5 but make it sus, or get to live our cozy life Animal Crossing-style, Pearson’s comments seem to suggest Project Rene could have a wealth of different experiences for those keen on multiplayer when the game finally launches free-to-play.
Lead Image Credit: Innersloth / Electronic Arts / Kotaku Australia