Once it has tunneled its way out of Early Access on October 6, Prison Architect will launch with two new modes on top of the existing sandbox: Escape and Story mode.
Escape mode tasks you with breaking out of your creations, or any prison created by the community. You will be able to do anything the prisoners can do currently when controlled by the AI. There will also be character progression, gangs can be formed, armories can be raided and tunnels can be tunneled. It basically flips the whole experience on its head.
“It started life as one of the endgame scenarios,where if you did so badly at the game you could be convicted of corporate manslaughter if there are too many deaths in your prison,” explained game designer Chris Delay, speaking to Eurogamer. “And it was a joke. I made it so that you arrived at your prison on a prison bus in handcuffs – you’ve been put in jail at your own prison. But you couldn’t do anything; that was the end of it. It was just a joke.
“In the background we’ve been fleshing it out gradually until it’s a whole game mode in its own right now. Anything the prisoners can do in the game, you can do, so you can steal knives from the kitchen, you can make digging implements in the workshop, you can dig escape tunnels, you can recruit other prisoners to join up and form a little posse. It’s quite silly. It’s a lot of instant fun.”
Additionally, there are four new story chapters that teach you the skills you’ll need in the main sandbox. Expect plenty of dark humour.
I’ve had Prison Architect sat in my Steam library for a while now, and have only really tinkered in the sandbox. I felt a bit lost without a proper tutorial, or something pulling me through – these additions sound like exactly what I was looking for.
The developers have also said to expect a jump in quality once the game launches proper.