What is the best management game of 2015? The RPS Advent Calendar highlights our favourite games from throughout the year, and behind today’s door is …
RPS Feature The best management game of 2015.
As far as Early Access games go, Prison Architect [official site] is one which did it right. Over three and a bit years, developers Introversion Software have added, tweaked, and tuned, and now it looks and plays now so very different. It may have left Early Access and formally launched in October, but Introversion are still fiddling away and yesterday released the first post-release update to add even more. Naturally, they have another long video developer diary explaining what’s new too:
RPS Feature The Great Escape
I can’t stop fighting. I wonder if this is a common feeling for prisoners, but in my case it’s literal. No matter how many times I press it, the button to lower my fists and surrender doesn’t do anything, and even though I’m cuffed, the guards still consider me hostile. That’s how I ended up unconscious and in the infirmary; the door to my cell in solitary opened, an armed guard saw me restrained and stationary inside, and immediately shot me twice in the chest.
This was a concern, at least until I pulled the greatest escape of all. I vanished.
Prison Architect‘s escape mode is compelling, but not without its problems.
RPS Feature Is 1.0 ready for civilized society?
It wasn’t long after I attacked the officer that I was killed with a shotgun. A fight had broken out near the cell block entrance and my friend Tapper and I decided to use the opportunity to gain some prison cred by battering the guard who came to break it up. It did not go well. My character, Pratt, is now lying in the morgue and I have become Tapper, inheriting his body in a ghostly fashion. I am locked and restrained in my cell. Through the bars I can hear the faint sounds of a riot. I am sad to be missing out.
This is Escape Mode, just one of the features added to Prison Architect [official site] for its final release. After four years in development and alpha the game is finally out. Is prison the absolute LOL sesh it is made out to be in popular television show Orange is the New Black? Or is it more like the Midnight Express? Come with me, into this dark corner of the holding cell, to find out Wot I Think. Please mind the vomit.
I thought I was done writing about Prison Architect [official site] updates when Introversion announced that the prison management sim would leave early access on October 6th. Yet here I am again, because at this weekend’s EGX, Chris Delay and Mark Morris demoed some of the features that will be new to v1.0 – including a new escape mode.
The seemingly endless expanse of alpha updates that make up our coverage of Prison Architect [official site] – we’re up to Update 36 now, friends! – is coming to an end. It’s true, these collective hands of rock and paper will no longer know the gentle touch of Introversion Software’s regular patches. As we draw closer to its eventual October launch, the final Alpha update reads as follows:
Introversion Software previously made a game called DEFCON [official site], a strategy game in which you launch often unprovoked nuclear attacks upon other countries. Global thermonuclear war is the core of the game, and necessary if you’re going to defeat your opponents, but it never revels in the wanton destruction you’re carrying out. As the death toll rises into the millions, the grim reality of what’s happening is gently communicated through the stark white alerts of how many millions have been killed and through the addition of quiet coughing to the game’s soundtrack.
I’ve killed million and millions in DEFCON. I’m not sure I could bring myself to kill just one person in Prison Architect [official site] using update 31’s newly introduced execution chambers. There’s a video below showing how the process works.
In a recent talk about maintaining motivation and marketing for his game Spy Party, Chris Hecker mentions that “every damned update Prison Architect does” gets a post on RPS because someone who works there just happens to like the game.
Alpha 27 of the prison management sim is out as of late last week and adds a new supply and demand system for food, along with the ability to tap phones and more. The traditional update video is embedded below.
All strategy games strive to reach a certain balance; the point at which the player feels responsible for their successes and failures, but where the simulation is so complex and alive that a perfect, static system can never be built. That’s apparently what motivates Prison Architect‘s 25th alpha, “one of the biggest updates” Introversion say they’ve ever done. The main new addition is prisoner reputations, a system of personality types that will make creating a perfectly functioning, forever peaceful prison practically impossible.
As ever, there’s a video talkthrough and some more detail of the changes below.