Paralives heats up the race to be the next Sims with early access release in 2025, confirms no paid DLC

After years without a new The Sims game, it seems like three are likely to land in fairly close proximity – sort of, anyway. We know that Paradox’s ambitious competitor Life By You will arrive this June (assuming no more delays), while EA’s own free-to-play evolution of the OG life-sim series – currently codenamed Project Rene rather than The Sims 5 – is probably still a while off yet. Dropping somewhere in the middle will be Paralives, the promising Patreon-funded up-and-comer led by indie dev Alex Massé, which has been given a fresh look and confirmation of a release date sometime next year.

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Paralives has been in the works for a good while now, funded via Massé’s Patreon which has revealed looks at its robust character creator and ability to torture your Paras – the game’s equivalent of Sims – to death by shutting them in a doorless room. A true Sims successor, then.

Paralives’ latest gameplay preview offers a look at its job system, which will let you simulate the crushing reality of working every day to pay the bills. Woohoo! In a delightful flight of fancy, though, your Para can gradually earn application points that let you apply to more prestigious jobs, earning more money and advancing your career. If only real life was so easy!

Within each job, you’ll also be able to accumulate upgrade points that let you increase that job’s rank, bumping your salary and enabling other benefits, such as advancing your music skill by listening to music at work. Those traits will then combine with the classic Sims-like skills system, where your characters will get better at things by doing them.

Paras become friends in Sim-like life sim Paralives
Image credit: Alex Massé

Interacting with other characters will unsurprisingly be a major part of the game, with the preview showcasing Paralives’ group interactions. The player can click-select a group of Paras to form a group interaction, allowing them to both talk and do other activities, such as getting down for an impromptu group push-up session.

Conversations are driven by the game’s ‘Together Cards’, which are contextual options for topics of discussion and interactions with other Paras, from chatting about their career to flirting (which comes with an XCOM-like chance of failure) or developing a secret crush. The cards will change based on the Paras’ traits, relationship status and other contextual elements, letting you guide characters’ relationships in a particular direction as they natter in a Simlish-like gibberish. Talking can also lead to other opportunities, with the chance that characters could even offer your Para a new job.

Cover image for YouTube videoParalives – Gameplay Overview

Advancing your relationship far enough will unlock new relationship labels, as well as contributing to your Para’s individual personality, which can level up and gain additional traits and effects on top of their starting social perk, vibe and talent. (You can also customise their sleeping and cleaning habits.) You could become Studious perhaps, speeding up how fast you learn new skills, or Hardworking, upping the chance of gaining extra upgrade points for your job. Like most of Paralives seen so far, it seems to be a familiar but intelligent evolution of The Sims, colouring within well-defined lines with some slightly fresher hues.

As well as showing off the latest build of the game, Massé also announced when we’ll be able to play it for ourselves, confirming that Paralives will see an early access release in 2025 – with that early access label accompanied by an upfront acknowledgement that there will be bugs and missing features to begin with. Anything that’s added in the future you’ll get for free, as Massé confirmed that Paralives will never have any paid DLC – only free expansions. That alone may elicit a sigh of relief from longtime Sims fans who’ve invested a small house deposit in stuff packs and game packs over the years.

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