Being in prison sure doesn’t seem glorious on the surface. Although I cannot truly be sure, I would bet it’s not a joyous event to be locked away with other people who are likely just as, if not more, dangerous than you are. But curiosity is a fascinating cat and I would like to fantasize about having to spend a life’s worth of time in a place where death is a constant threat. Especially when that threat is 2-bit 8-bit criminals and your goal is to work around keeping your life in a place where life seems to be withering away.
So steps in ‘Prisonscape’, an RPG/Adventure game from Heaviest Matter, where you take on the role of a incarcerated prisoner. While in the throws of imprisonment, the player must deal with survival in the harshest of environments. Players are constantly under threat of prison beatings, a need for various weapons, drug deals, riots, gang violence, and constant surveillance. During all this, players must learn to manipulate the “tricks of the trade” so as to circumvent many of the ways to die as a sad and lonely convict.
Luckily, the guys at Heaviest Matter give the player a plethora of options in the prisoner you can become. This exists in the RPG elements of the game. Players can be a sly-talking scammer or a ruffian fighter. Situations can be handled through multiple methods. This type of freedom of character development in adventure games is welcome, especially in such a landscape that invites different personalities. There are multiple ways to solve critical issues.[youtube http://youtu.be/6knEaC-titU]
In doing this the player can earn or lose reputation through helping other inmates or guards. I’d imagine one way or another your choices affect how the others treat you. Help the guards, lose reputation with prisoners, and help the prisoners, lose reputation with guards. Thus, in helping these disparate parties, the player needs to be able to partake in combat. Combat takes place in a grid and turn-based combat. Players get to use a number of attacks and defenses based around prison lore. The trailer shows some shots fired and a bunch of dudes beings stuck. Seems great by my standards.
To learn the combat and survival skills, the main character can study and train to gain abilities. A few examples of learnable skills would be fighting, literacy, and pickpocketing. Then, once you are adequately trained, join a gang or snitch to guards or start riots or use and sell drugs. I’ll probably end up going the route of using and selling, cause I want to get the most out of my tenure. It’s truly up to you.
Upon first look, as a guy who loves these types of games, ‘Prisonscape’ seems like a fresh setting for a dramatic indie release. It holds no punches and allows the player to take different routes for survival. I, personally, will probably be a charismatic drug-using and peddling snitch who looks out for himself over the interests of all others. Like my real self, without the drug use and peddling. ‘Prisonscape’ could very well make for one of the most interesting releases of the year, if not the most unapologetically intense.
‘Prisonscape’ is scheduled for release in December and is currently on Kickstarter looking for funding, so check that out for sure. There is also an official website and Heaviest Matter has their own site. Both are notable reads if you’re looking for more info on ‘Prisonscape’.Finally, vote for these cool guys on Steam Greenlight. Go, take a look. It’s quite wonderfully brutal.