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Rod Humble and King Choi illustrate the ambition of Life By You

In our latest Game Developer Podcast episode, Paradox Tectonic’s Rod Humble and King Choi discuss the ambitious vision of upcoming life sim Life By You, creating a healthy workplace, and the power of inclusivity.

September 22, 2023

Two characters onscreen in Life By You having a conversation about work
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In the latest edition of the Game Developer Podcast (recorded this summer during GDC Showcase), we spoke with Rod Humble and King Choi of Paradox Tectonic about their upcoming sprawling life sim, Life By You. Humble and Choi spoke at length about the importance of responsibility and strong production practices in creating a wildly ambitious game, treating team members well and respecting their opinions, and about the crucial importance of an inclusive mindset to what they are building.

Music by Mike Meehan. Produced by Jordan Mallory.

"It was fundamental," said Humble, when discussing the idea that players have freedom to express gender and sexuality freely in the game. "It was absolutely fundamental. And you know, from day one, for example, Ted—another one of our senior engineers who's a genius—when he did conversation, and he started the avatar creation, day one, he was like, 'We need non-binary [options] for pronouns. I need the conversation system to be able to take your gender, however, you want to be addressed, and it matters.'

"We also, from day one, really cared about not being heavy handed with sexual orientation. You know, we live in a time where I think there's unprecedented freedom, but there's also unprecedented you know, forces who are demonizing folks. We wanted to show we are definitely a pro feminist pro gay, game! "That's who we are, and we're very proud of it."

Choi and Humble went on to detail the impressive scope of the game, and the ways in which the team is building for every kind of life sim player, including folks who love using the genre as a sort of super-powered building toy. Humble and Choi detailed just a few of the systems in the game (using one fun example for seashell fans), and how they are creating systemic gameplay among various crafting and cooking systems, by creating tools they can polish and then put directly in the hands of players.

Humble also had an easy litmus test to check if you and your team should be making an ambitious project (in any genre):

"I think this is good advice to every colleague, working on any game: your dev team should love this kind of game. And if they don't, well, you know, you know what you're gonna get, right. So, that would be my number one piece of advice is [ask] Do you love it? You know, like, if not well, it probably isn't a good fit!"

Listen to the whole episode embedded above.

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