Maxis, the developer behind The Sims franchise, is giving fans a glimpse into the early stages of Project Rene, also known as The Sims 5. In the second episode of their community stream, Behind The Sims, Maxis showcases various prototype features that are currently in development. These include a new lighting model, emotive animations, daily routines, hair customization, and more. Additionally, the stream also reveals details about The Sims 4’s upcoming Horse Ranch expansion pack.
According to Gina Herrle, the creative director of Project Rene, the team is simultaneously working on multiple aspects of the game, comparing it to prepping ingredients before baking a cake. This metaphor sets the stage for the prototypes that follow, each highlighting a distinct new feature.
The video begins by offering a brief glimpse of the new lighting model. Objects now cast shadows on walls based on both interior and external light sources, creating a more realistic and immersive gameplay experience. Moving on, the stream showcases animations designed to enhance players’ ability to “read the room.” Sims are seen shaking hands with different body language, reflecting their emotions and feelings.
One of the standout features of Project Rene is its expanded simulation of the neighborhood surrounding players’ Sims. The stream presents a few clips of pill-people navigating between greybox buildings labeled as “Bistro 2,” “Dive Bar,” and “Office 3.” These clips demonstrate the daily routines that Sims and their neighbors might engage in throughout the day.
Another interesting prototype showcased in the stream involves Sims communicating their moods and reactions through 2D animated flair within the 3D world. For instance, an angry Sim is depicted with flames shooting out of their head. This experiment aims to help players better understand their Sims without overwhelming them with excessive information or cluttered user interfaces.
It is important to note that all of these prototypes are in the early stages of development and do not represent the final version of the game. Ideas may be discarded or altered as the project progresses. Nonetheless, fans are excited to catch an early glimpse of The Sims 5, or whatever it may ultimately be named, well before its completion.