Taking the game concept very literally to show us that life doesn’t always work out the way we want, Paradox Interactive’s Life by You game has officially been canceled. After announcing that the game was “ready for early access” in April, Paradox unexpectedly discontinued the game after its third attempt at providing early access to the game fell through. News of the Sims competitor being canceled has hit fans hard after months of waiting for a real alternative to the Sims experience. All Paradox Interactive news has repeatedly emphasized the importance of this game in redeeming the publisher and developer after Cities: Skylines 2 made a shaky, unfinished debut, but perhaps this isn’t the game destined to redeem them.

Sims competitor canceled

Life by You Canceled—The Dream Is Over Before It Ever Began 

The Sims universe is well-known globally for being one of the best life simulation games where you can run the world and be in charge. Odd and unhinged elements often come up as you progress through the in-game experience, but they all provide something new to look forward to every time you log in. Dominating their category, the franchise has grown to an unprecedented scale, marketed and sold by Electronics Arts since 2000. Since then, the universe has expanded to include multiple parallel games like The Sims 2: Castaway, released in 2007, and The Sims Medieval, released in 2011. Each of these introduced new settings and elements to the game, but the virtual experience remained unmatched by competitors.

Hardcore “gamers” may often look down on the Sims series and refuse to acknowledge those who play it as a part of their creed, but the series has amassed enough of a following to hold its own against other action or fantasy games. Publishers have tried to catch up and prove themselves to be worthy contenders to the popularity of the Sims, but none of them have been able to garner such global appeal. 

One game that did stand a chance to make its debut was Life by You, but unfortunately, it has now officially been canceled. 

Paradox Interactive Had a Good Shot At Getting It Right

Paradox Interactive, and their developer Paradox Tectonic, had an open-world game in mind, with no loading screens and a fully customizable experience as you navigated through the new world on your device. One of the main reasons why players were optimistic about Life by You becoming a real Sims competitor was because the project was being supported by Rod Humble, former Executive Vice President at Electronic Arts—the force behind the Sims—and former CEO of Linden Lab—the creators behind virtual gaming platform Second Life. The man clearly knew a little something about building up a virtual world packed with elements of reality sprinkled in.

Paradox Interactive has had its own share of successful launches, with Crusader Kings III, Hearts of Iron IV, and Age of Wonders IV being some of their most popular games right now. Despite all of the success, Life by You was still canceled, leaving fans to wonder at what went wrong. 

Paradox Interactive news

Image: The customization options in-game

Why Did Paradox Cancel Life by You?

According to Fredrik Wester, CEO of Paradox Interactive, the game had a lot of potential but was still falling short of the team’s expectations. After their third attempt at setting a date for early release, they found themselves unsatisfied with what they had and when they took a break to plan how to proceed next, they realized the game would take much longer than expected to get it right.

“For a long time, we’ve held hopes for Life by You and the potential we saw in it, but it is now clear that the game will not be able to meet our expectations. A version that we’d be satisfied with is too far away, and therefore we are taking the difficult decision to cancel the release. Moving forward, we should perform at a much higher level, and it’s obvious that we have work ahead of us.”

—Fredrik Wester, CEO of Paradox Interactive

In the press release where the Sims competitor canceled the game, they acknowledged that their recent releases have not performed to the standards they wanted to set for their offerings. Their previous launch Cities: Skylines 2 had set out with high ambitions, but the lack of improvements from the previous version and its substantial performance issues overshadowed the promise of an engaging experience. Perhaps the team felt their current game would share a similar fate of feeling “unfinished,” prompting Paradox to discontinue the game.

In an elaborate post on the Paradox Forum, Mattias Lilja, Deputy CEO of Paradox Interactive, expressed regret at the “clear failure” of the team to meet the community and their own expectations. The post expanded on the announcement that Life by You was being canceled, taking us through the journey of arriving at the decision to cancel the game instead of dragging out the false promise of bringing something exceptional. 

Paradox cancels Life by You

What’s Next, Now that the Sims Competitor Has Been Canceled?

Despite the disappointing news by Paradox Interactive, the Deputy CEO’s post ended with an optimistic look to the future, “Games are difficult to get right, 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. We have to take a long and hard look at what led us here and see what changes we have to make to become better. In the end, our mission remains the same, and we’ll continue to take whatever steps we need to do just that.” 

Paradox Interactive reportedly has the financial backing and manpower to see them survive through the losses from this game with their eyes set on their next project, but we don’t know what that will be. The company already has Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2 shifting from foot to foot waiting for a release. Prison Architect 2, which was expected to be released on May 7, finally has a release date of September 3, 2024, but this could still potentially change. Unfortunately, Paradox Tectonic, the California studio that had been working on Life by You, will not be around to witness what the company does next.

A day after Paradox discontinued the game, suddenly announcing that Life by You was canceled, they also revealed that they were shutting down the studio that was solely in charge of the project. The 24 employees who have been working on the game since 2019, will no longer be part of the Paradox team, which is the most unfortunate outcome of the game’s cancellation.

There are other competitor life simulation games like Paralives and InZOI that fans have strung their hopes on, but now that Life by You has been canceled so vociferously, we’re unlikely to see anything new in this genre from Paradox Interactive—for a while at least.