Prison Architect

Emerging from Early Access lean and focused, Prison Architect is one of the best management games in a long time.


VideoRezzed Sessions: Why Subversion sucked and Prison Architect won't

Watch Introversion's funny and fascinating talk from last week's show.

VideoRezzed Sessions: Introversion on Prison Architect

"How Prison Architect rose, phoenix-like, from the still-smouldering ashes of Subversion."

Key events

Nintendo announces Prison Architect, This War of Mine and plenty more for Switch

Nintendo announces Prison Architect, This War of Mine and plenty more for Switch

All the news from today's surprise Nintendo Indies showcase.

Nintendo just dumped an outrageous amount of information about upcoming indies for the Switch, with a surprise showcase video announcing new games while revealing release dates for other keenly anticipated titles.

Morphies Law - the outstandingly eccentric looking multiplayer shooter in which hitting another player makes you bigger while your opponent gets smaller - is out today on the eShop, as is compelling looking strategy game Bad North. We'll have more on both on the site for you shortly.

Prison Architect is also coming to the Switch today, with DLC for Introversion's sadistic simulator coming later this year courtesy of Double Eleven. 11bit studios, meanwhile, are helping with Moonlighter, a game we were enamoured with when it launched earlier this year now scheduled for an autumn release on Switch. And as they're a very busy bunch, they're also helping with the release of hack and slack game Children of Morta, which is out next year. Oh, and they're also bringing their own This War of Mine to Switch this November.

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Prison Architect locks down console launch date

Prison Architect locks down console launch date

Release day coming next month.

Prison Architect launches on PlayStation 4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One on 28th June.

Pre-order the popular penitentiary sim before that date and you'll get a free DLC pack, All Day and a Night, with eight additional maps, plots and prison wardens.

That same offer applies to anyone with the early access Xbox One Game Preview edition of Prison Architect.

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Watch someone discover Prison Architect's hidden 3D mode

UPDATE: Introversion may improve 3D now it's discovered but it won't replace 2D.

UPDATE #2 9TH MARCH: Introversion's chief game maker Chris Delay has told Eurogamer he was "astonished" it took the community so long to find 3D mode, because it had been in the game since version 1.0 arrived in October. He thought it would be discovered in days, he said.

Prison Architect has launched on Xbox One via the Xbox Game Preview programme and costs 19.99. There's a free demo, as there are with all not-quite-finished-yet Xbox Game Preview games.

Prison Architect review

RecommendedPrison Architect review

Shawshank retention.

Editor's note: Prison Architect releases on consoles this week, and to mark the occasion we're returning to our original review of the game, first published last October. Double Eleven has handled the console versions, introducing a new introductory Prison Warden mode with ready-made prisons, as well as featuring a mode that lets you share and play other people's prisons.

If I have one tip for you, it's that you should get dogs.

Dogs are wonderfully versatile. They do an excellent job of sniffing out contraband hidden in whatever crevices prisoners hide contraband in, they quickly find the tunnels inmates have been slowly scratching out and they chase down escapees like furry homing missiles.

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Prison Architect earns $19m from 1.25m sales - but what's next?

Prison Architect earns $19m from 1.25m sales - but what's next?

"The next game we make will not be about prisons..."

Prison Architect, the game that saved Introversion, did so in spectacular style: to date it has earned more than $19m from over 1.25m sales.

That $19m (and something) figure is accurate as of around 1.30pm (BST) Saturday, 26th September, which is when Introversion founding director Mark Morris shows me it on his phone in some sort of data-tracking app.

The 1.25m sales milestone is mentioned a few times during our interview.

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Prison Architect will launch with a brand new Escape mode

Prison Architect will launch with a brand new Escape mode

"It's much quicker to play. It's quite silly. It's a lot of instant fun."

Prison-building game Prison Architect will leave Steam Early Access and launch with a brand new Escape mode and a fleshed out story mode on 6th October. That's in addition to the existing sandbox building mode.

Escape mode flips the game on its head as you attempt to break out of the prisons that either you've created with the level editor, or anyone else has created - all 12,000 community-made prisons (and counting) can be played.

Anything the prisoners can do in the game now, you will be able to do. There's a kind of role-playing game-like character progression and you can eventually become legendary in status. You can form gangs, raid armouries, dig tunnels - the whole complex prison simulation is yours to subvert.

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FeatureEarly Access games done right

Some of the games that deliver on their promises.

Dungeon of the Endless, Subnautica - quite a lot of Early Access video games start with spaceships in flames, hurtling artfully towards strange planets, bound for tales of peril and survival. Possibly this is just the best way to kick off a narrative that will involve crafting and permadeath, two of this era's greatest loves. Partly, though, it seems a tacit acknowledgement of how so many people feel about Early Access in general - that it is the place where bright promise burns up, where landing sites become graves.

Prison Architect will launch in 2015

Prison Architect will launch in 2015

Alpha sales pass 1m. Mobile version in development.

Prison Architect will launch proper in 2015, developer Introversion has promised.

Prison Architect is currently in alpha and available on Steam as an Early Access title.

The news comes as the game passes 1m copies sold. As of 29th January, Prison Architect had sold 1,066,233 copies.

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Prison Architect alpha review

I can't tell you the names of any of my inmates in any of my prisons. The smallest holds a couple of dozen, the largest has over a hundred, crammed together like battery hens in a place whose only purpose is to provide effective and prolonged detention. Some are serving lengthy terms for very serious crimes, others wander free after just a few game hours within my walls. None of them make any kind of impression on my memory.

It's a shame, because they all have rap sheets and many have biographies. Each also has their own needs and desires, Sims-like requirements that include things like Recreation, Privacy and, of course, the ever-predictable call of the Bowels. But I don't look at this information. I don't care. What I care about is how many of these people there are, where they are, if they're following the procedures I've set up and what sort of disruption I might have to prepare for.

And this is the amazing thing about Prison Architect. I don't know if this is deliberate, I don't know if it was the intention of the creators that this be so but, even in its alpha state, even as an undirected sandbox experience that pops up error messages or sometimes turns prisoners into floating heads, all it makes me care about is whether the system works. The people inside the system become irrelevant, faceless and interchangeable.

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Prison Architect rakes in nearly $8 million

Not bad for a team of seven people.

Prison Architect, Introversion Software's penitentiary management sim, has generated almost $8 million in revenue, the developer has announced. That's pretty astounding considering the developer consists of only seven people (three directors and four contributors).

Prison Architect gets a Halloween treat

"We will probably patch it out before we get sued into oblivion."

Introversion's penitentiary running sim Prison Architect has added what the developer calls a "Halloween egg," i.e. an Easter egg on Halloween. While the developer wanted people to stumble upon its quirky, potentially copyright-infringing holiday-themed joke unawares, creator Chris Delay ultimately decided that he wanted people to see it before Halloween is over and it gets removed.

Prison Architect Alpha 6 update sorts the most dangerous from the most in danger

Introversion Software has released the Alpha 6 update for prison simulator Prison Architect.

"This update has taken quite a bit longer than usual and we've made some pretty fundamental changes to the internal workings of our prisoners,"designer Chris Delay and producer Mark Morris wrote in a note to press. "In fact we've probably totally broken the game."

Changes include the addition of a prisoner category that reflects their risk level. Maximum security prisoners are the most dangerous, and minimum security prisons the most in danger. Normal are, well, normal. Normal for Prison Architect anyway. Prisoners now have a past, including convictions and sentences.

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The dark story of Prison Architect

"This is prisons, this is not the world you're used to."

Prison Architect may look cute but the campaign content is not: build an execution chamber and send a man to his death - a man who's tale of murder and repent will challenge your beliefs and leave a lasting impression.

FeatureHard time with the Prison Architect alpha

It made $100k in three days, but what's life like behind bars with Introversion's latest?

Ever been to prison? No? Me neither. The closest I've come to hard time was probably the first night of my school exchange programme in Germany. They were a very nice family, don't get me wrong, and I'm sure they meant well, but in hindsight I have to question their decision to dump me in a basement guestroom, because all I had to keep me company from 8pm until the morning was a series of bizarre mechanical clanking noises and one tiny window near the ceiling. Oh, and a strangely reddened copy of Stephen King's "Misery". Eat your heart out, Tim Robbins.

Play Prison Architect now: a paid Minecraft-style alpha has begun

"We've never done this before; it's a big experiment."

Prison Architect is playable at the Eurogamer Expo this week. Developer Introversion is also putting on a pair of special developer sessions at 3.45pm on Saturday and Sunday to talk about the decision to go for a Minecraft-style alpha sales model. Check them out.

EGXEurogamer Expo to host Rezzed PC and Indie Games Zone

Play Hotline Miami, Prison Architect, Natural Selection 2 and many others.

One of the things people said to us when we did Rezzed in Brighton in July was, "This is cool! Why don't you have something like this at the Eurogamer Expo?" And so, as part of our grand plan to make the Expo all things to all people, we're taking that on board and bringing Rezzed to the Expo show floor!

VideoRezzed Sessions: Why Subversion sucked and Prison Architect won't

Watch Introversion's funny and fascinating talk from last week's show.

One of the best things about the developer sessions we hosted at Rezzed last weekend is that they gave game developers the chance to give frank, personal accounts of making their games direct to you guys without interference from publisher PRs or, well, us. You've already seen some of this from Peter Molyneux, Day Z's Dean Hall and the Project Zomboid team.

Prison Architect developer session announced for Rezzed in July

EGXPrison Architect developer session announced for Rezzed in July

Introversion's game also playable on the showfloor. Start of a week of announcements.

Introversion Software, the UK-based developer of PC classics Uplink, Defcon and Darwinia, will be delivering a presentation on its latest game, Prison Architect, at Rezzed next month.

The session will be known as "How Prison Architect rose, phoenix-like, from the still-smouldering ashes of Subversion". The game will also be playable on the show floor for all attendees.

Rezzed: The PC and Indie Games Show takes place at the Brighton Centre on Friday 6th and Saturday 7th July, and Introversion's developer session is currently set for 1pm on the Saturday.

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Prison Architect Preview: The Key to Success

FeaturePrison Architect Preview: The Key to Success

A management sim with an emotive twist.

Sound designer Alistair Lindsay stands onstage at the Bit of Alright conference in London, strange noises booming from the room's PA system. He's demonstrating the aural splendour of Introversion's new game, Prison Architect - a classic management sim with a smart twist.

At the rear of the hall, a group of us sit around a table of laptops, sampling the opening mission. We play to the soundtrack of Prison Architect's eerie ambiance married with Lindsay's in-depth commentary. For just a moment, the vibe is unsettling.

It's all about psychological trickery to get inside the minds of players says Lindsay, as he loads up the execution sequence we're simultaneously playing towards. Listen carefully, he says, and we'll notice that the sound of the electric chair powering up is, in fact, the same sound of a pistol cocking that we heard in a separate cut-scene minutes earlier. An unrealistic touch, perhaps, but it primes us for something awful to happen, and it all contributes to Prison Architect's dark, suspenseful mood.

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Introversion announces Prison Architect

Introversion announces Prison Architect

Darwinia dev tackles penal system.

Darwinia developer Introversion has announced a new game called Prison Architect.

In it, you "build and manage a maximum security prison", Introversion's creative mind Chris Delay told Rock Paper Shotgun.

No other Prison Architect details were offered.

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