Before Prison Architect, Developer Introversion Almost Ceased To Exist

Before Prison Architect, Developer Introversion Almost Ceased To Exist
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Looking at the success of Introversion’s just-out-of-Early-Access Prison Architect, you might be under the impression the developer has always enjoyed a smooth ride on the indie game rollercoaster. Not so — at one point the company was down to just two employees and staring its demise in the face.

Fortunately, a few things went the developer’s way. As MCV UK’s Alex Calvin writes, the first was convincing Humble Bundle to do an Introversion-only bundle, which brought in a cool million to keep the company going. Work then started on Prison Architect and while development was (intentionally) prolonged, it has become one of Early Access’ biggest success stories.

Not that EA was an easy decision. When your development cycle doesn’t necessarily have a defined end, it can be hard to keep expectations under control, as Introversion’s Mark Morris explains:

“At the start we were very cautious about what we said and the language we used. We never promised anybody monthly updates for instance, we just settled into that pattern. To begin with, we didn’t know if we were going to be able to build in meaningful features every four weeks, alongside ensuring we weren’t breaking old builds and weren’t releasing a version that would just crash on launch. We were very careful to be clear about what people were actually paying for at the start, which was a very buggy and broken version of a game. We didn’t want people coming back and saying they couldn’t play it.

Hopefully with Prison Architect at version 1.0, the team can get back onto Subversion. Gosh that game was looking fantastic.

How Prison Architect freed Introversion Software [MCV UK]


  • Mark Morris and Chris Delay are two different people.

    Not british satirist Chris Morris, unfortunately. I’d be keen to see a game from him though.

  • I was a huge fan of Darwinia when it came out. It’s one of the few games I’ve finished twice.

    You could tell it was made by a very small studio with few resources – instability was one of it’s worst ‘features’ – but the gameplay was great fun.

    I bought Defcon based on my experience with Darwinia, but never actually installed it – I also bought Prison Architect when it first hit Early Access but hadn’t played it until V1.0 released recently. It’s very good.

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