Prison Architect v1.0 Will Add New Escape Mode

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.

Escape mode “turns Prison Architect on its head” by giving you control of a single prisoner and challenging you to escape, rather than maintain and expand, the prison that contains you. This doesn’t involve adding lots new features, but instead giving you a new perspective on which to view the already existing systems.

For example, causing trouble in the prison gives you reputation points, which you can then use to unlock traits for your character. These are the same traits that prisoners normally arrive with when they come to your prison in the main game. If you choose to unlock the Deadly trait, then your punches will occasionally kill others in a single hit. If you unlock the Instigator trait, you can convince other prisoners to follow you, form a posse that makes you better able to cause trouble, and then control and upgrade those other prisoners just as you do yourself.

The contraband system also naturally players a role, but instead of being a nuisance you need to contain as the prison administrator, you’re the one stealing from the jail’s workshops and cleaning cupboards. If you get a wooden pickaxe from the former, for example, you can use it to dig a secret tunnel out of your cell.

The most exciting part of this however is that the prisons you’re escaping from are the same as those you build, which means you can put your own jails to the test or play the mode on any of the 12,000 user-made prisons that have been uploaded to the Steam Workshop. Not all will be an ideal fit of course, but it’d be exciting to try.

After years of comparing Prison Architect to Dwarf Fortress, the game finally has its own equivalent of DF’s Adventure mode. You can watch Chris Delay and Mark Morris play the mode on stage below.

8 Comments

  1. JB says:

    “If you unlock the Instigator trait, you can convince other prisoners to follow you, form a posse that makes you better able to cause trouble, and then control and upgrade those other prisoners just as you do yourself.”

    The Instigator trait just incites others around you to join in when you’re fighting or whatever. It looks like you can spend the Reputation points to recruit other prisoners into your group at any point, and then upgrade them with further points.

    • JB says:

      Needless to say, Escape Mode and the 5-chapter story campaign is hugely exciting. Roll on, the 6th!

  2. FunnyB says:

    And here I thought it would be cool if The Escapists would do a collaboration with Prison Architect.

    This is even better.

    Anyone else feel like this is the end for The Escapists? Seeing as it has recieved complaints already (differences between different versions GOG/Steam etc)

  3. leQuack says:

    Bloody brilliant this new mode, especially the timing for version 1.0. According to Steam I’ve already played 157 hours of this game, but this gets me really excited.

  4. bonuswavepilot says:

    “The contraband system also naturally players a role…” – think you want ‘plays’ there.

  5. ludde says:

    I’ve played this a ton and while I really love the idea, it’s sorely lacking in challenge. Here’s hoping they’ll add some of that.

    It’s supposed to be a Bullfrog-like no? I recently went back and played Theme Hospital and that game’s freaking hard.

  6. Cederic says:

    I’ve been waiting for release before even playing the game, and just a week beforehand they announce this?

    It’s like getting two games for the price of one! I was looking forward to playing the game as an architect. I’m absolutely gagging to have a go as a felon.

    They’re even releasing on my birthday! Which admittedly means it’ll be the next day before I get the chance to have a play ;)

  7. heretic says:

    These guys are great, looking forward to getting back into this. Looking forward to see what they come up with in the future.