Prison Architect Update 21 Adds Bazooka, Rambo, Surrender

I hope someone adds a mod where you can control a single character in a top-down shmup.

It’s possible that some of you have overdosed on Prison Architect update videos by now, but if you’re like me and still in the throes of a monthly addiction to the incarceration management sim’s new features, then this month’s hit is a good one. As explained on the official forum, the major new addition: your prison’s inhabitants can now smuggle in drugs, get hooked on them, and go into withdrawal or overdose. Inject the trailer below directly into your eyeballs to beat the blood-brain barrier.

It’s worse than that time I got hooked on Adam.

The update introduces three drugs – cocaine (aka bazooka), heroin (aka Rambo) and alcohol – each with their own particular side effects. It also introduces new reform programs to help wean your prisoners back off the slang terms should they arrive or establish an addiction while bored in your prison.

One of the side effects of withdrawal from the drugs is that your prisoners will be quicker to anger. If the drug problem becomes widespread across your prison, you might then have a riot on your hands. A new feature to make those pesky prison-wide brawls less deadly is that prisoners can now surrender when faced with lethal force, rather than dimly fighting to their deaths against armed guards as they were prone to doing before.

If your experiences with Prison Architect’s early access have thus far been stymied by existing bugs rather than a lack of features – and I’ve certainly encountered my fair share – then the next update, alpha 22, might bring some good news. For the next month, Delay and his merry band of imprisoned programmers are focusing exclusively on bug fixing. That means no new features for the update video, but perhaps fewer collision and pathing errors. The team currently have a database of 4000 recorded bugs, and the update forum post contains a video of how you can help prioritise what they fix.


  1. bills6693 says:

    The update looks good and its a nice new feature, although it looked like every time a prisoner overdoses you’ll have to manually send a doctor there. Surely when you have a mega prison with hundreds of prisoners (which is clearly inteneded with the ‘500 prisoner capacity’ grant), surely you’d have to constantly scan your entire prison looking out for prisoners overdosing to send doctors there. I hope this system is/becomes more automated.

    • n8man50 says:

      I believe the game gives you a notice when a prisoner overdoses, a la guard is under attack or contraband found. It also looks like withdrawing prisoners though can throw up all over the cells and no ones the wiser until some poor janitor mops into the wrong cell.

  2. doodadnox says:

    I don’t think I’ve started this game up for about 6 months. What turned me off was that I saw a few “perfect design” screenshots and couldn’t get them out of my head. I felt like I was doing my best to mentally recall these prisons and copy them. I guess that’s where the game is a success in that you usually lose control and have to start over. I think after so many do-overs I got bored.

    How much has changed? I feel like the last patch I played allowed prisoners to dig their way out.

    • tormos says:

      this… sounds like a personal problem.

    • Dachannien says:

      That’s more or less the last alpha version that I played, too, just before they put in dogs. Since then, the complexity has grown so much that I find it intimidating now to start up a new prison and try out all of these new features. But I do love seeing these updates and checking out all the new things they’ve done over the past month.

      • bills6693 says:

        Really two months ago (I think, it was just before Rezzed because I’d spent all night playing, then saw the guys at rezzed myself!) was the biggest change in terms of making it enjoyable and changing things up. They re-did finance, grants, money making in general really. Its far, far, far, far better now, and really makes it possible to keep expanding and building and keeps you doing things through the game (rather than waiting for midnight for your next paycheck, you get a portion of it every in-game hour).

        The new grants give you goals and direction when building your prison, above just ‘buiding a prison’ – you have sort of sub-objectives and you’re trying to fulfill them.

        The new income system allows you to keep doing things through the day.

        The new exports and manufacturing etc are great for keeping your income high and again allows you to keep doing things and make your prison productive.

        The other additions they’ve made – armed guards, dogs, etc – are all fairly minor things in my opinion. But the big mechanical change with finance, although it sounds boring, did really make the game much better in my eyes and I think you’re likely to get some more enjoyment out of it.

  3. Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

    Excitement! Prison Architect has given me some of the best stories of recent game time.

  4. Rollin says:

    Last time I played it, about 2 weeks ago, it took you through a tutorial campaign

  5. SirMonkeyWrench says:

    A month of bug fixing is something a great deal of early access games could stand to have more of.

  6. P.Funk says:


  7. Dozer says:

    Coming up: Australian language pack which replaces drug names with fictional names to get past our censors?

    • drinniol says:

      It’s already there. And it’s only using drugs to get rewards that falls afoul.

    • MrFinnishDude says:

      Drugs have those kinds of names IRL. Weed, blue sky, ice…

  8. BlueTemplar says:

    Am I the only one that finds this game morally unsettling?
    And I loved torturing heroes in Dungeon Keeper and I routinely exterminate whole planets with Giant Beams of Death or enslave whole populations of said planets and let them slowly die working for me or even kill them with horrible space plagues…

    • SomeDuder says:

      If you have no problem with exterminating entire populations, slavery or torture, while finding it morally wrong to lock up the crazies, then yes, you are the only one (Well, not really, plenty of hippies out there who think that giving serial killers/rapists/general scumbags a hug will solve all the problems and make everyone vegan),

      Oh I know, the whole blowing-up-the-planet stuff is so extremely fictional and remote that it doesn’t connect, while prisons are a very real and relatively nearby thing – just trying to help you see how very wrong you are about everything :)

    • FredZepplin says:

      No, you’re not the only one.

      The difference: aliens are fiction, wars are history, the prison problem is going on right now.

      link to