Prison Architect Creators Respond To Our Prison Architect Critique

The developers of Prison Architect have read our guest writer Paolo Pedercini’s tough critique of their game. They… liked it! And they’ve recorded a video addressing Pedercini’s concerns about how their game does or doesn’t bleed the reality of the real prison system into the game.

There’s a lot in the video, including Introversion designer Chris Delay and Mark Morris’ thoughts on whether they’d add hunger strikes and suicide. They also address Prison Architect‘s unrealistic lack of drug offenses among the game’s prison population and their plans to make drugs a more prevalent part of the game.

Pedercini had a lot of problems with how the game treated the release of prisoners and how it failed to convey any sense of their being a life outside the prison or — for the prisoners — beyond imprisonment. In this video, the developers talk about their plans for this, their so-called “end game” aspect of Prison Architect.

There’s plenty more that they wrestle with. We recommend you to watch the whole thing.

Thank you to Delay and Morris for making this video. We welcome the Prison Architect team’s feedback. If there’s anyone else out there who we’ve written about who would like to create a half-hour response video, go for it!


  • Kotaku has way too much sensationalism in their video game articles nowdays.
    It feels like I’m reading a video game version of 60 minutes or today tonight.

    • Do you mean in relation to the original article? If so, I felt it was the exact opposite. Insightful, interesting, well-researched… a really rare example of a gaming journalist writing more than just news, or linking to an amusing gaming-related YouTube video.
      And for Kotaku to publish this response was really classy. I’d like to see more of this kind of dialog in my gaming news, not less.

      • I guess some people would watch today tonight/current affair and feel they were being informed as well. It’s still reeking of unessecary sensationalism, which has certainly been on the uprise since last year.

        • The simpler way to say all this is ‘I didn’t understand what I was reading’. It was a great piece, unfortunate you didn’t understand it. Try reading it again sometime, it’s well worth it.

          • Tell us what was “sensationalist”. Seriously, I’d like to know. Not in an “I’m trolling you” kind of way – that’s not the way I conduct myself on Kotaku.
            I’m calling you out. Let’s have a discussion about this – I was kind of insulted by your dismissal of my valid response to your original post, and I want to see whether you can back it up with a reasoned argument.

    • I didn’t get ‘sensationalist’ out of it. Maybe you’re looking for a different word? I definitely got ‘hand-wringing’ (just shy of verging on whiny) out of the piece. It did seem to rein itself in on being too accusatory.

      The central thrust of it seemed to be, “This is a prison-management game which is sending bad messages thanks to their interpretation of the penal system, and here’s why.” Followed by a number of points (of varying gravity) explaining slowly and in detail the state of reality (with an implied tone that it is bad), and how that reality is either not reflected in the game, or treated too lightly or even endorsed. I mean… did it seem like it was reaching, sometimes? Or expecting too much from a game, or asking for cosmetic/flavour things in an Alpha which is still trying to nail down bugs and basic mechanics before moving on? Yeah, in my opinion. On the whole, I wasn’t especially taken with the article, but did appreciate its thoughtful examination of so many facets involved in the system. Perhaps taken to an anal-retentive level.

      But I think the important take-away is that someone who cares about the representation of the penal system in the US went ahead and did the analysis on where the game falls down/could improve, and the devs who are ALSO interested in the penal system (possibly due to making a game about it) had the good grace and to then talk about how they are or aren’t going to match reality and the factors that go into design decisions.

      That kind of dialogue is a good thing in my book.

  • I couldn’t care less about the comparisons between the game and the “real world”, it’s a game for fucks sake! It would be insanely boring if all games were based on the “real world”, 100% accurate. That’s why they make games, to entertain us in those dull moments of the real world we live in.

    What they did just gloss over, without so much as a word on it, was the whole paid alpha thing. There’s the biggest problem with Prison Architect.

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