It’s been more than four years since the release of The Sims 4 and although the game is still massively popular, a lot of fans are understandably already looking forward to the next installment in the long-running series. EA and Maxis aren’t exactly sharing a boatload of details regarding the upcoming title just yet but that doesn’t mean they’re not working on it. In fact, there are strong indications that The Sims 5 is already in development, albeit in the very early stages at this point.
While we’re unlikely to hear anything major from official channels for some time, there are a few bits of news regarding the game that fans of the series will definitely find interesting. Naturally, there are also a lot of rumors floating around as well, some of which seem more believable than others. With that in mind, today we’re going to delve into all of that and more as we talk about the latest news and what to expect from The Sims 5.
The Road so Far
It’s interesting to note right off the bat that EA has had some pretty obvious patterns in the past when it comes to releasing The Sims games. Looking at this pattern, which we’re going to discuss more in detail in a minute, it may seem like The Sims 5 should be just around the corner. Unfortunately, that’s probably not going to be the case. All signs point at the fact that the next installment in the series is going to be bigger and better than what came before and that means more development time will be needed than usual. In order to figure out the aforementioned pattern, we only need to take a quick look at the release schedules for the previous main entries in The Sims series.
The Sims – 2000
The first main entry in The Sims series was announced at E3 1999 and came out the following year in February of 2000. The game was designed by Will Wright who actually started working on the game way back in the early 90s. Development was very slow at first as early game concepts weren’t too well received, however, Wright was allowed to continue working on the title regardless while he also worked on SimCity 2000 and SimCopter. Maxis did a very good job at supporting The Sims post-launch, with the game receiving a total of seven expansion packs between 2000 and 2003. This will become a trend throughout the whole series.
The Sims 2 – 2004
The Sims 2 was first showcased at E3 2004 and was released the same year mere months after the initial reveal. The title expanded greatly upon its predecessor and brought a lot of new features and gameplay mechanics to the table. The Sims 2 was the first fully 3D entry in the main series and looked a lot more detailed when compared to the original. Facial features were now customizable while characters passed through several life stages ranging from infancy to old age. Eight expansion packs were released between 2005 and 2008, however, EA continued supporting the game until 2014 and only removed it completely from the Origin store at the end of 2017.
The Sims 3 – 2009
News regarding The Sims 3 first started popping up around 2006, with the game being officially revealed in 2008 and released the following year in June of 2009. The game was a huge commercial success for EA and sold over 1.4 million copies in its first week alone and over 10 million copies in total. Just like all the other titles in the series, the third installment was very well received by critics and fans alike, with many still considering it the best Sims game released so far. Once again, there was no shortage of expansion packs. This time around, players got to enjoy a total of 11 expansions and 9 stuff packs releasing between 2009 and 2013.
The Sims 4 – 2014
And that brings us to the latest entry in the series, The Sims 4. The game was originally revealed at Gamescom 2013 and was released the following year in September of 2014 for PC and 2017 for PS4 and Xbox One. Once again, the folks over at Maxis introduced graphical enhancement and several new features, with an emphasis on improvements to the Create A Sim system. The Sims 4 received mixed reviews from many news outlets when it was first released, with many criticizing the lack of content at launch. This issue was rectified in the following years, though. So far, The Sims 4 received 6 expansion packs, 7 game packs, and 14 stuff packs. Maxis says it will continue to support the game for several more years so there will be plenty of new content to look forward to while we wait for the sequel.
EA is Moving Away From Its Traditional Release Schedule
Judging by what we’ve seen so far, EA tends to officially announce a new Sims game a year or two before releasing it. The launch window varied greatly in the past but given today’s expectations, it’s likely that the publisher will want The Sims 5’s release date to be sometime during the Fall or possibly during the Holiday season as that’s when most of the major AAA games are coming out nowadays. That’s pure speculation, of course, but a very likely possibility since EA is known for being highly competitive and always wants to keep up with current trends in the gaming industry.
Something else that’s immediately noticeable is the fact that EA released a new Sims game every 4-5 years so far. This is one of the other patterns mentioned a bit earlier. Unfortunately, the companies are no longer sticking to this pattern otherwise the game would release in 2019, which doesn’t seem to be the case.
Granted, Respawn Entertainment’s Apex Legends, which was also published by EA, released without any prior announcement or marketing earlier this year and things worked out very well for the Battle Royale title. Meanwhile, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order was only properly showcased back in April and the game is scheduled to come out later this year.
It’s not uncommon for EA to release big games on short notice, but that’s probably not going to happen with the next Sims because this isn’t a new IP and fans have certain expectations from the series. Having said all that, we know with a pretty high degree of certainty that The Sims 5 is in development as speak and we’re going to talk about why in this next section.
The Latest News Regarding The Sims 5
As we’ve come to expect, there are plenty of rumors floating around everywhere regarding the game but there are also a couple of interesting bits of actual news. Earlier this week, it was revealed that Grant Rodiek is stepping down as Senior Producer on The Sims 4 in order to work on “a number of important and awesome Maxis things.” Rodiek has been replaced by Michael Duke, another Sims veteran who has been working on the series since 2006.
Clearly, the developer wanted The Sims 4 to remain in good hands because there’s still plenty of new content on the way for the game. In fact, Rodiek himself said back in January that “we have years of content for TS4” so don’t worry because the developers are not moving away from the game just yet. Well, at least not all of them. Rodiek is definitely moving to a different Maxis project, but which? Well, unsurprisingly, the consensus is that the producer has joined the team that is currently working on The Sims 5.
According to Rodiek’s LinkedIn page, he started working at EA back in September 2005 when he was part of the development team for The Sims 3. As mentioned a bit earlier, The Sims 3 was revealed in 2008 and launched in 2009. Rodiek had been working on the game for several years before it was officially announced by EA and likely started around the time when The Sims 3 was very early in development or even pre-production.
Skip forward a few years and we can see that Rodiek was transferred from TS3 and began working on TS4 in September 2011. Once again, he began working on the game a few years after the initial reveal and was likely there during the early stages of development as his LinkedIn page mentions that he took on the role of Producer upon first joining the project.
More Hints that the Game is Currently in Development
Rodiek’s previous involvement with the series indicates that the producer tends to shift projects whenever Maxis begins working on a new main installment, which seems to be what’s happening here. What’s different this time is that Rodiek shifted projects in late April rather than September, as was the case with the previous two titles.
However, something interesting did happen at EA back in September of 2018 that’s very relevant to The Sims series. The company published two new job openings at its Redwood offices, which is where Maxis Studios is located. These came shortly after EA posted a number of similar listings earlier in 2019. The listings reveal that EA is looking to fill the following positions:
- Senior Character Concept Artist
- Senior Environment Concept Artist
- Gameplay Software Engineer
- Character Modeler
- Executive Producer
Two of the listings specifically mention that EA is looking for talented and experienced people “to join a veteran team of developers working on an early-in-development AAA title at Maxis.” In other words, the openings are definitely not related to The Sims 4, The Sims Mobile or any other officially announced the project. That pretty much only leaves The Sims 5 as an option since the AAA label suggests that this is the next main entry in the series.
The last job listing is particularly interesting. We know that The Sims 4 will continue to receive new content for years to come so its current Executive Producer, Lyndsay Pearson, is unlikely to shift to another project anytime soon. That means EA is looking for someone new to fill this position. At first glance, Rodiek’s transfer and the fact that he is a veteran producer would make him a good candidate for the job. However, the listing mentions that candidates should have 10+ years of experience as Executive Producer, which pretty much rules him out as he only served as Senior Producer in the past.
What to Expect from The Sims 5
Based on the aforementioned listings, it looks like EA and Maxis are looking to create something a bit different this time around. Many of the job requirements indicate that the game will be built entirely from the ground up and will be a more significant step forward for the series than The Sims 4 was compared to The Sims 3. While we don’t know anything for certain just yet, we certainly hope that’s the case. The Sims 4 was criticized by many gaming outlets for not introducing enough new features and for primarily being a streamlined version of its predecessor. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but a lot of people want to see new things whenever a new game comes out.
Potential Release Date?
This is a big question and one that we can only speculate on at this point. From what we know so far, it seems like development for the game most likely began in mid to late 2018 and that means we’re still a few years away from its release date. The previous two titles took roughly 3-4 years to develop but this one may take a bit longer if EA is indeed looking to create everything from scratch.
However, the current “crunch” culture present in the industry nowadays could lead to the game launching sooner than expected. In addition, EA is also a big supporter of the “games as a service” model as we’ve seen with Star Wars: Battlefront 2, Anthem, and many others. This trend essentially means that games are released before being actually finished on the basis that more content and features will be added in the following years. This trend is usually detrimental to consumers and to the game itself so let’s hope that EA doesn’t take that route with The Sims 5.
Either way, we can expect the game to come out in 2 to 3 years at the minimum and 4 to 5 at the most. If we’re lucky, the title could release as soon as September 2021, though a 2022 launch seems a bit more likely. EA tends to promote new Sims games quite heavily at special events and conventions so it’s definitely worth keeping an eye on EA Play this June and Gamescom later in August. The publisher’s next major title will be Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order so expect the company to focus mainly on that this year. But you never know, the publisher may just surprise us and drop a Sims 5 announcement on top.