Prison Architect [official site] emerged from its long stint in Early Access earlier this year and recently clinched the Best Management Game accolade in RPS’s Advent Calendar 2015. Now it has, finally, added female prisons. Luckily, there’s more to it than simple sprite swapping, as Introversion’s Chris Delay and Mark Morris detail in the accompanying video featured below.
“We didn’t want to just swap the graphics, we wanted to do more,” explains designer Delay. “The criticism that’s often leveled is that women are kind of one dimensional,” adds producer Morris. “Or, worse than that, that they’re like an idealised male view of what a woman should be in a game rather than just characters. Simply changing the sprite back does not make a woman’s prison. We’ve had many conversations over the years about how we might sensitively do this.”
In essence, Morris and Delay want this update to have meaning – not just against external discourse but to the game itself. Female prisoners have different needs compared to their male counterparts, for example, and their needs trees function in a slightly different manner. For female inmates, keeping a watchful eye on both Family and Hygiene needs is more important, and women in the game don’t fight as effectively against guards of the opposite sex.
As is the case in real life, some female prisoners have young babies and are entitled to look after them within the prison, thus new facilities by way of Mother and Baby Units have been introduced. Likewise, Family Cells are new, which are set apart from regular rooms and are equipped with cots and integrated showers.
Similarly, Nurseries serve to house a number of mothers at once where they’ll live and eat with their wee ones. This directly affects the game’s underlying systems, as, logistically, the Nursery now becomes a direct supply and demand point for the Kitchen. This also means that mums living in these quarters will live an almost separate existence to the rest of the prison population, thus I’m intrigued to see how this affects their relationships with both one another and everyone else.
Prison Architect’s Steam users will be updated automatically while non-Steamers can grab Update 2 here. Full update details can be found this-a-way, which also include alterations to the game’s modding API, as well as a few minor bug fixes.