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How many posts have I written about Prison Architect alphas since joining RPS last October? Checking the tag page for the game suggests seven thousand. It’s not my fault, it’s just that each one adds a feature or set of features I find irresistible. The latest, alpha 20, introduces a set of failure states to the game, including the ability to be convicted of criminal negligence. You will then “spend time within your own jail as a prisoner.”
The regular developer video showing the new features is below.
After recent updates added bulletproof vests and shotguns, it was probably inevitable that Prison Architect would continue it’s escalation towards more and more exciting additions with each alpha. The trend continues in alpha 19 with a broad revision to the game’s finance systems, which introduces new rules for borrowing, the need to pay corporation tax, and the ability to sell shares in your prison to investors.
Video update below while I try to explain why I’m not being sarcastic.
Prison Architect is forever trapped between two political poles: the side that says that prisoners should be locked up, punished, and left to rot; and the side that thinks they should be reformed, educated, and made better able to return to society and not re-offend. Introversion want both methods to have value within their management game, and alpha 18 takes the first steps towards enabling the liberal half by adding therapists.
Also tazers. New update video below.
It’s been a little while since I’ve seriously played Introversion’s incarceration sim Prison Architect, but I’ve come to enjoy reading and watching their monthly updates just as much as playing it myself. Alpha 17 is now live and the video below details the various additions. The big one: you can now build an armoury in your prison and deck it out like one of those rooms that used to come before a boss fight in first-person shooters. The kind of room full of shotguns, ammo and bulletproof vests.
The kind of room prisoners might want to break into in case of a riot.
The armoury introduces a new set of tools with which to deal with riots: mainly, guns. If your prisoners are misbehaving, fighting one another or the guards, you can send a group in with weapons to intimidate them into surrendering. You can tell your people not to fire or to fire on sight, but guards will make on-the-spot decisions themselves if they feel their life is in danger and depending on the types of prisoners they’re facing. This ends badly for lots of people – guards and prisoners – in the video above.
Of course, a few of your most violent prisoners, if they happen to be close by, will try to get inside the armoury themselves in the event of a riot. You’ll need to make sure it’s behind a lot of big doors to stop that from happening.
Other additions for alpha 17 include a forestry, in which trees will grow for you chop down and turn into money, and a new context-sensitive object menu designed to cope with the broadening scope (which is totally dope?) of the game. A full list of changes is over on the update’s forum thread.
Now that there’s more ways to deal with madness – and more importantly, many more ways for things to go wrong – perhaps we should send Brendan back in to try and build another nice prison.