With a working title of Project Rene, the next core game in the long-running franchise is currently in development at EA and Maxis, and there have been rumours for a long time that it will be free-to-play at launch or a live-service game.
During the Behind The Sims stream this week, VP franchise creative Lyndsay Pearson said that anybody will be able to download the next game at no cost, which will make it easier for Simmers to play with each other.
"We'll actually have more to share about what multiplayer will look like in Project Rene in the year ahead, but I want to talk about one way specifically that we're going to make it as easy as possible to join," she said.
"We intend for Project Rene to be free to download, and that means that when it's ready and fully open to our players, you'll be able to join and play and explore Project Rene without a subscription, without core game purchase or energy mechanics.
"We want it to be easy for you to invite or join with a friend, and that means extending an open invitation for everyone to play."
There will be monetisation, and Pearson explained how The Sims 5 will take a slightly different approach to The Sims 4 in the way that it handles downloadable content.
"We want to focus on building something strong and cohesive from the start," she said. "It definitely won't start with everything you have in The Sims 4, but we're going to add new experiences and content to Project Rene over time.
Pearson added: "Beyond regular updates to the core game, we will sell content and packs, but we want to change that mix a little bit.
"In The Sims 4, the only way to experience any weather was if you purchased Seasons. Now, in Project Rene, we might introduce basic weather to the core game for free for everybody. And then a pack for purchase might be focused on winter sports and could include activities like ice dancing or a snowman-building competition.
"Building this way means that down the line, we could use wind or rain or clouds for other pack themes as well.
"It's a little early to know exactly where we'll draw the lines, but it's important for us to lower those barriers to play and give everyone the broadest shared systems because that feels like the best foundation to grow from."
Pearson also shared that Project Rene will "exist side by side" with The Sims 4, at least at the start of its full release.
"We plan to support both at the same time, and we're going to continue to bring even more exciting content to The Sims 4 for the foreseeable future."
In the same Behind The Sims stream, the team confirmed the return of Stuff Packs with the reveal of the Home Chef Hustle Stuff Pack. A trailer for the new content is coming later this week.
The Sims 4 is available on PC, Mac, PlayStation 4 and 5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X|S.
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