During the latest Behind The Sims livestream, there were three main highlights: a new Sims 4 Stuff Pack, a Sims Mobile event, and details on Project Rene. Project Rene, speculated in the community to be The Sims 5, currently has very little available information, but that changed in this stream. We got the grand confirmation that Project Rene will be free to play.
As highlighted in the stream and the official Behind The Sims feature, Project Rene will be free to download, allowing fans to play without paying a one-time fee or subscription. It also won’t have “energy mechanics”, allowing you to play as much or as little as you’d like without being forced to wait. It will also exist alongside The Sims 4, so the latter won’t be abandoned once Project Rene is released.
While the Project Rene base game will be free to download and play, it will still have paid DLC, much like past Sims games. However, it’ll operate slightly differently from Sims 4, as the article describes below:
Beyond regular updates to the core game, we will sell content and packs, but we plan to change this up a bit. For example, basic weather may be added to the core game for free, for everybody. And in the future, a pack for purchase may be focused on winter sports with activities like ice dancing or a snowman building competition. It’s important that with Project Rene we lower barriers to play and give all players the broadest shared systems because that feels like the strongest foundation for us to grow from.– EA, Behind The Sims Community Stream Episode 3
While there is no update on a release date for Project Rene, the page does confirm that it is still in the early stages of development. With that in mind, we can expect a 2024 release at the earliest, with 2025 or later being a more realistic time. Right now, though, Project Rene’s release date is entirely up to speculation.