After a lot of teasing, Prison Architect 2 has finally made a break for it. The sequel to Introversion's 2015 (or 2012, if you count its first alpha) build-a-prison sim—now handled by Double Eleven—will release on March 26, and everyone's a lot less flat than they used to be.
I mean that literally. Where the original Prison Architect was a wholly 2D affair, the sequel promises to round-out your cast of wardens and ne'er-do-wells, "enabling players to construct intricate compounds with a high degree of creative freedom in a 3D environment."
So, more layers to take into account as you establish a penitentiary for your various inmates, who all look alarmingly like Funko Pop Mudokons now, and better AI to contend with too. PA2 boasts that its yardbirds are "the smartest inmates ever," and that your charges will now "form distinct relationships that influence behaviour, make decisions based on wants and needs, and plot their paths better than ever."
PA2 will feature a "freshly upgraded" career mode that sees you run multiple prisons like some kind of carceral Casanova, and Double Eleven is really hammering home that the choices you make will entail reactions from your prisoners. Your choices "might either help or hinder your inmates' correctional journey," says the blurb, "What type of relationships will your inmates have with your prison?" Negative, I have to imagine.
It all sounds like more and bigger Prison Architect, and the addition of multiple floors is sure to see me scrambling to fix gaping holes in my facility security. It is a bit weird though, isn't it? It's certainly not a problem unique to the second game—Prison Architect had me asking the same questions—but I can't help but feel a little odd at the gamification of the abject horror that is the for-profit prison system. The whimsical art style that isn't miles away from Two Point Campus feels a bit strange applied to the carceral state.