Prison Architect's final update gives the first glimpse of a 3D sequel

A cast of 2D characters from Prison Architect that includes a 3D model.
(Image credit: Paradox Interactive)

Developers Double Eleven have released the final update for Prison Architect, appropriately enough called the Sunset update, which doesn't so much tease a 3D sequel as show off a bit of it. The update comes with a short trailer thanking all the game's players for the past 11 years (it was released in Alpha by original developer Introversion in 2012), at the end of which one of the prisoner character models pops into 3D as the rest of the crowd gasps.

"It’s been a real joy and honor here at Paradox Interactive and Double Eleven to work on this game for you," writes Double Eleven. "It’s been just over a decade since Introversion first put out an Alpha build of Prison Architect and the game has come so far since then. While we’re closing this chapter, the book is certainly not yet finished. We’ll see you around."

The update contains a bunch of quality-of-life changes "focused on improving the player experience as much as possible" which include among other things a 'Super Dog Mutator'. The full list is:

  • Capacitor 2.0: I introduce to you, the Capacitor Max Plus - an upgraded version of the capacitor which allows your Power Stations to now produce twice the amount of power than they did before (for twice the price of course).
  • Remote Doors: We have added a coloured variant of the remote doors for both Death Row and Supermax security levels.
  • Riot Van Speed: Due to the efficiency of air-bound emergency units we have increased the movement speed of the Riot Guard Vans, to lower their arrival time.
  • Super Dog Mutator: Due to our undeniable fondness of them, we’ve added a new mutator based on the Super Guard mutator which will help give our furry friends an upgrade.
  • Updated Descriptions: After sweeping through the game we decided to update or add a number of new text strings. As such we’ve updated text for Item description, Staff descriptions, and also Need Descriptions.

Introversion sold Prison Architect to Paradox Interactive in 2019, since when Double Eleven's been looking after the game and releasing both free updates and the odd paid expansion. The tease for a 3D sequel is not entirely out of the blue either, as the game's had a 'secret' 3D mode since 2015 implemented by Introversion.

"It was basically a massive engine hack that gave a fascinating alternative view on your prison—literally looking at it from a new angle," Introversion's lead designer Chris Delay told us back in 2016. "We never managed to bring it up to a decent quality sufficient to actually say 'This is now an official feature.'" Even though Introversion didn't think it was quite there, they decided to add it in the 1.0 as a nice bonus for players.

"We did think it was very cool, hence hiding it as an Easter egg for people to discover," said Delay. "Why let such an awesome, albeit completely unfinished feature, go to waste?"

Well, it looks like the idea will not be going to waste. There's no details on the 3D sequel beyond that glimpse of the prisoner model, but 'Prison Architect in 3D' is such an obvious pitch that it's almost surprising it's taken Double Eleven and Paradox this long to get round to it. Introversion's current project is The Last Starship, a spaceship construction game released earlier this year that's in alpha and receives updates roughly every six weeks.

Rich Stanton

Rich is a games journalist with 15 years' experience, beginning his career on Edge magazine before working for a wide range of outlets, including Ars Technica, Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, Gamespot, the Guardian, IGN, the New Statesman, Polygon, and Vice. He was the editor of Kotaku UK, the UK arm of Kotaku, for three years before joining PC Gamer. He is the author of a Brief History of Video Games, a full history of the medium, which the Midwest Book Review described as "[a] must-read for serious minded game historians and curious video game connoisseurs alike."