Life by You Cancelled

I am disappointed and saddened by the decision Paradox Interactive made to cancel the new life simulation game that was to rival the Sims, Life by You. However, I am not surprised. The characters just looked wrong, they hired the wrong person to do the art. The look and feel of the game was dated, it just felt like the Sims 3 on steroids. However, with those two issues, which to me are cosmetic (says the woman who isn't programming a game), the game had lots of potential and I liked the direction it was going in.

I think that going up against the Sims 4 and the new direction the Sims 5 is going and Indie game Paralives that Life by You had a chance to be very successful and profitable. Even games like FarmFolks, which had to go back to the beginning and build a game design book, weren't real competition. However, no one saw inZoi on the horizon. And when it dropped, built on Unreal Engine and not Unity, with its life like features and homage to Sim City, Life by You didn't have a chance to compete without a major rework. And again, the improvements I thought were needed in Life by You I perceived were mostly cosmetic.

However, I will say that my excitement about the game began to wane when I didn't see character development improvements. inZoi came on the scene with a level of polishment that really made Life by You look and feel dated, although it is innovative with some of the things it is doing such as:

  • a complete open world and the ability to create your own open worlds
  • moving lots and plopping them where you wanted them to be, thus customizing neighborhoods
  • various vehicles and modes of transportation
  • modding tools built into the game and the ability to customize things without needing DLC to incrementally improve the game
Barring the things listed in the bullet points above and other items mentioned on their website and youtube videos there really wasn't anything novel about the game. Life by You was simply borrowing from the Sims 4 and Paralives and building on the Sims 3; what was it adding to the Life Sim genre that wasn't there already? 

And along comes inZoi with its polished look at it just snatches the wow factor away from Life by You. All the momentum Life by You had just sopped up, with simmers and the life sim players shifting their focus to a playable game that is built on a powerful game engine. 

Life by You (LbY) just called their characters humans, where as inZoi, they are Zois in Paralives they are Paras and in the Sims they are Sims. The Sims has a language that is exciting. LbY was just going to have grunts and real language bubbles. The Sims uses a motion capture machine, LbY was using code to move their characters. The budget for LbY just wasn't there to compete against the Sims. However, clearly looking at inZoi you see that Krafton made the investment. And I love that it is an unapologetically Asian game!

The Deputy CEO of Paradox Interactive, Mattias Lilja, said, 
Sadly, we’ve decided to cancel the release of our long-awaited life sim Life by You. This was an incredibly difficult call to make and is a clear failure on Paradox’s part to meet both our own and the community's expectations.

A few weeks back, we decided to hold off on an Early Access release in order to re-evaluate Life by You, as we still felt that the game was lacking in some key areas. Though a time extension was an option, once we took that pause to get a wider view of the game, it became clear to us that the road leading to a release that we felt confident about was far too long and uncertain. This is not to say the game has not shown any promising qualities; Life by You had a number of strengths and the hard work of a dedicated team that went into realizing them. However, when we come to a point where we believe that more time will not get us close enough to a version we would be satisfied with, then we believe it is better to stop.

You can read the full news post on the Paradox Interactive website:

So, although some simmers thought that Life by You was going to end EA's monopoly in the game sim genre and are most likely disappointed. I never took that stance. I think variety is the spice of life, and competition leads to innovation and innovation leads to product improvements that are best for consumers/gamers. 

Though I hate to see Life by You gone. I know with all of the difficulties Paradox is going through after the disastrous launch of Cities Skylines 2, I think they became risk adverse at the moment, not wanting to repeat with EA went through in 2013 and 2014 with SimCity and the Sims 4. I hope Paradox Interactive doesn't 100% shelve Life by You. That they go back to basics, retool what they have and launch a game in the future that can really go into early access or just to market, that is polished, has a true uniqueness value to it, like inZoi, with the cats. 

I also think that the leadership must've put immense pressure on the Cities Skylines team for it to release the game in that state. And after feedback from some of the YouTube & Twitch influencers they (leadership) realized they were going down the wrong path with Life by You. But that is just speculation on my part since I haven't sat in on any meetings nor was on the inside track.


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