The Sims competitor Life by You abruptly canceled, exec admits it's "a clear failure on Paradox’s part"

Life By You
(Image credit: Paradox Interactive)

Life by You, a Sims-style life simulation, has been abruptly canceled by publisher Paradox after being delayed multiple times over.

"Sadly, we’ve decided to cancel the release of our long-awaited life sim Life by You," deputy CEO Mattias Lilja says in the announcement. "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."

The game was originally scheduled to launch on September 12, 2023, but was delayed until March 5, 2024, and then to June 4. Shortly before that last date, the publisher announced yet another delay - but this time it was indefinite. Now the project has been canceled altogether.

"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," Lilja says. "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."

Lilja stops short of identifying the specific problems that led to the cancelation of Life by You, instead noting simply that it was a mistake to let the game get this far along before pulling the plug. "Games are difficult to get right," Lilja says, "and we’ll definitely make mistakes, which, as these things go, always become painfully apparent in hindsight, but still shouldn’t reach this kind of magnitude regardless."

Life by You was in development at an internal studio called Paradox Tectonic, and was being led by Sims veteran Rod Humble. In a genre that had been historically dominated by a single franchise, it seemed to poised to deliver a proper alternative to The Sims, offering a far more open and customizable experience.

Right now, it's unclear what will become of Paradox Tectonic. In a release pointed at investors, Paradox CEO Fredrik Wester noted that "we’ve performed poorly in recent releases," which since 2023 have included Cities Skylines 2, Star Trek: Infinite, Age of Wonders 4, and Millennia.

"Even though we now start new projects in a different manner," Wester says, "it is clear that we must make further changes so that quality is more consistent and the promises we make to our players are met."

The list of games like The Sims remains thinner than you'd think, but there are a few options.

Dustin Bailey
Staff Writer

Dustin Bailey joined the GamesRadar team as a Staff Writer in May 2022, and is currently based in Missouri. He's been covering games (with occasional dalliances in the worlds of anime and pro wrestling) since 2015, first as a freelancer, then as a news writer at PCGamesN for nearly five years. His love for games was sparked somewhere between Metal Gear Solid 2 and Knights of the Old Republic, and these days you can usually find him splitting his entertainment time between retro gaming, the latest big action-adventure title, or a long haul in American Truck Simulator.