Prison Architect won't allow players to construct a jail built on inherently wrong or right morals — players will have to juggle complex choices to find their own balance, according to an interview with the game's developers.
Prison Architect tasks players with constructing and running a prison. Speaking with The Guardian, Mark Morris of Introversion Software explained that there is no way to create an idyllic jail. Some prisoners will use every advantage to abuse the facilities.
"We don't really want you to be able to build a leftwing utopian paradise and have it work seamlessly," said Morris. "For example, if you put pay phones in, you're meeting the needs of prisoners who want to contact loved ones. However, there are others who'll use them to phone up for getaway cars, or arrange drug drops."
"You should be able to build a rightwing hell-hole or a liberal paradise but neither will entirely work — that would be a fantasy," said Morris.
Introversion designer and programmer Chris Delay weighed in further on the game's complex morality, using an example of a death row inmate's questionable guilt.
"You'll have to ask yourself whether you're comfortable or not," said Delay. "We've really highlighted that moral decision. The next time you play through you may well have a prison full of execution chambers — a killing factory."
"If you just said to players, ‘are you going to put in an execution chamber — yes or no', there's no moral context; you've done nothing to remind them what it means to kill someone," said Delay. "You're not just killing a little sprite, you're killing a character who you're not entirely convinced deserves to die."
Prison Architect is currently running as a paid alpha. For $30, players get the Base Pack, which grants them full access to Prison Architect and an automatic pre-order for PC, Mac and eventually Linux when the game launches.