Could The Sims franchise finally have a competitor on the horizon? Ever since it’s incarnation in 2000, The Sims is perhaps the only video game to not have any competition on the market.

Sure, there were various attempts such as Singles: Flirt Up Your Life and online games such as Second Life, but nothing has ever really gave the title any competition. That could be about to change as Paradox Interactive has announced that they will be opening a new studio called Paradox Tectonic, based in California, which will be working on an unannounced title.

You may ask yourself who Paradox Interactive are. Well, after SimCity 2013’s launch, they released a game called Cities: Skylines in 2015 which was heavily inspired by Maxis’ city builder and managed to steal the limelight from this after its shaky launch. This has grown in popularity and has, arguably, set a benchmark for the city builder market.

With this new studio, a former boss of The Sims Studio shall be taking the helm – Rod Humble. He left The Sims Studio shortly after The Sims 3’s launch to become the CEO Linden Lab, the company who created the online game Second Life. You may recognise the name Rod Humble from The Sims 2 when his Simself delivered a computer your house to with The Sims 3 on it.

“Our aim with Paradox Tectonic is to create open, fun, beautiful games which respect the players’ intelligence and enables their creativity, freedom, emotion, and sharing”

It also sounds like this studio may have some people who Rod has worked with in the past, possibly at Maxis/The Sims Studio or Second Life.

“It’s a privilege to be reunited with so many world-class colleagues from so many triple-A projects, and the team and I are delighted to join Paradox and be part of driving the company’s next cycle of growth. Our shared values of quality and putting the customer first made Paradox the perfect fit for us”

While it’s highly unlikely that The Sims will be getting a competitor for a while, and it may be a bit of a stab in the dark to suggest that this could be a competitor, what if this happens? Paradox Interactive won over the city building genre with Cities Skylines and what if they did the same with the life simulation genre?

Personally, while I would never like to see The Sims dethroned, I do think competition is always healthy. It could be something that The Sims team need to drive creativity, features and future titles. With games such as Battlefield and Call of Duty, they will always to compete with each other so it would be interesting to see this happen.

I will also admit that I feel that Rod’s time at The Sims Studio was not a time that I enjoyed as a player. I recall reading articles back then about him disliking the less realistic aspects of The Sims – such as witches and wizards in The Sims 2 Apartment Life – and a move to some more quest-based gameplay in The Sims. Please note though that this may not be the case.

It seems like Rod is a good fit for Paradox Interactive with their history of games so it will be interesting to see what sort of video game comes from this new studio in the future.

If it ever does turn out to be a competitor to The Sims, then you’ll hear all about it here.