In October 2011, British games developer Introversion asked a question: Would you like to run your very own prison and if so, how much would you pay to do so? Now, one year later, they have their answer in the form of $100K in support in the first 72 hours.
On September 26th 2012 Introversion released the Prison Architect paid alpha access, allowing supporters to throw cash at the developer in return for a range of kickstarter-esque rewards.
With tiers from $30 to $1000, the Uplink and Darwinia developer allows you to choose how much you want to contribute, and unlike kickstarter you get an instant return in the form of access to the alpha version of the game. For $50 you can even have yourself in the game with a custom rap sheet, written by you.
The alpha, however, is a little unstable, and at present light on features , but it’s being updated at a pretty steady rate. Some of the bugs are pretty hilarious though, so much so a trailer was released making a feature of “Game breaking bugs”. Prisoners and guard will go about their daily routines even if the room they are in randomly bursts into flames, or sometimes prisoners will decide to take a shower, whilst enjoying their daily meal.
Although the game looks all cutesy and fun, don’t be fooled. As you’d expect from a game about running a prison, Prison Architect does have a dark undertone, with prisoners often starting riots and shanking each other and any guards unlucky enough to investigate. In the full game one of the first missions you undertake involves constructing an execution chanmber to put one of your inmates to death.
Prison Architect is already shaping up to be a deep and complex title. You’ll be charged with building every detail of the Shawshank of your dreams, from the foundations to the light fittings, having to take into account such small details as the positioning of cell blocks in relation to the canteen and where your deliveries arrive.
Unfortunately Prison Architect has no set release date as yet, with Introversion apaprently aiming for sometime in 2013, but you can get alpha access here from $30.
Keep an eye here at Midlife Gamer for more information on Prison Architect closer to release.