Prison Architect leaves Early Access with new mode next week

Prison Architect

Prison Architect is leaving Early Access in October—October 6 to be exact. However, Introversion's prison management sim isn't going to slip quietly out without raising the alarms: its story is being expanded with a new four-chapter campaign, while the game is getting a brand new mode upon release.

The new Escape mode turns the game upside down, putting the player in the role of an inmate trying to flee from one of the thousands of player-made prisons already uploaded to the Steam Workshop.

"It started life as one of the endgame scenarios," designer Chris Delay explained to Eurogamer at this weekend's EGX, "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. 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."

Those four story chapters, meanwhile, will serve as a tutorial to the main sandbox mode. Here's a bit more on that, and the new Escape mode, from the press release:

"Prison Architect opens with the story of Edward, a man facing the electric chair for committing a crime of passion. Introversion have extended this with four additional chapters focusing on different characters and aspects of prison life. From Mafia Dons to power-crazed senators, Prison Architect brings these characters to life. Introversion teamed up with award-winning professional writer Chris Hastings to produce an enthralling tale of corruption and human misery set against the background of the modern prison industrial complex.

"Escape Mode sees the traditional Prison Architect gameplay turned on its head. Take control of an individual prisoner, load any of the tens of thousands of prisons uploaded to the Steam Workshop and get on with the important business of escaping. Earn experience points by shanking a guard, form up a posse of rough-necks and head to the armory to shoot your way out or steal some tools from the workshop and start digging a tunnel hidden behind a picture of Raquel Welch."

Here's Introversion detailing the new features in an EGX presentation from the weekend:

Tom Sykes

Tom loves exploring in games, whether it’s going the wrong way in a platformer or burgling an apartment in Deus Ex. His favourite game worlds—Stalker, Dark Souls, Thief—have an atmosphere you could wallop with a blackjack. He enjoys horror, adventure, puzzle games and RPGs, and played the Japanese version of Final Fantasy VIII with a translated script he printed off from the internet. Tom has been writing about free games for PC Gamer since 2012. If he were packing for a desert island, he’d take his giant Columbo boxset and a laptop stuffed with PuzzleScript games.