Prison Architect developer's next game is coming out later this week

After developing Prison Architect for six years, three of which were in Early Access, developer Introversion Software's next game is getting a much quicker turnaround. In fact, the first-person exploration game called Scanner Sombre will be coming out this Wednesday, April 26. No Early Access, no beta, just a full launch later this week for what Introversion's lead designer Chris Delay tells us is a "palate cleanser" after Prison Architect. 

Scanner Sombre uses a unique visual mechanic that mimics a real-life LIDAR scanner. The game's world is completely invisible, but you can send out thousands of points of light to cover the landscape and slowly reveal the space around you. Delay told us the whole game is essentially one giant particle cloud with no limit to the number of LIDAR dots you can create, and every dot's position is saved exactly where you put them. A rainbow color scheme indicates distance and depth as you slowly work your way through the game's mysterious cave system.

Scanner Sombre is a shorter game compared to ones Introversion has made in the past, obviously with a much shorter development cycle than Prison Architect, and Delay said that was the goal from the very beginning. "We've actually spent longer on it than we initially intended. We wanted it to be a really quick turnaround, nice breath of fresh air, nice palate cleanser as we called it internally."

It was also apparently no small task to get this particle effect working. "It was really hard," Delay said. "It took us ages. We started out using a particle system that stopped working after about 10,000 particles, and then ended up [restarting] basically entirely from scratch just so that we could have enough particles on screen to make it look as dense as it does."

We'll have a full review of Scanner Sombre when it comes out on Wednesday. You can read the whole interview here with Delay and Introversion's producer Mark Morris, where they talk about the inspiration behind the LIDAR effect, the game's incredible audio design, and how they feel about Prison Architect "clones" like RimWorld.

Tom Marks
Tom is PC Gamer’s Associate Editor. He enjoys platformers, puzzles and puzzle-platformers. He also enjoys talking about PC games, which he now no longer does alone. Tune in every Wednesday at 1pm Pacific on to see Tom host The PC Gamer Show.