'Prison Architect 2' drops on PC and Xbox in 2024, and this time everybody's favorite prison sim is fully 3D (Updated)

Prison Architect 2 key art reveals the prison management simulator is going 3D for its March 2024 release.
(Image credit: Double Eleven, Paradox Interactive)

What you need to know

  • Prison Architect, a popular prison management simulator, received its final update in 2023 eight years after it was initially released.
  • Paradox Interactive and Double Eleven revealed "the next chapter" of Prison Architect, a 3D sequel. 
  • Prison Architect 2 will be available on March 26 on Steam, Xbox Series X|S, and PlayStation 5 for $39.99. PC players can preorder now.

Prison Architect has solidified its place in the hearts and minds of fans of indie games and management simulators alike. The game allowed players to serve as a warden and then construct and control a prison as they saw they fit. 

Sadly, in 2023 Prison Architect received its final major update, dubbed the Sunset Update. At the end of that trailer was a bit of a teaser, showing one of the 2D sprites from the prison simulator as they warped into a 3D version of themselves. While the Sunset Update may have been the end of Prison Architect, it was only just the beginning of Prison Architect 2.

The official reveal for Prison Architect 2 is finally here, and it is bundled with additional information and even a proper reveal trailer. Paradox Interactive and Double Eleven have teamed up for Prison Architect 2, which will launch on Steam, Xbox Series X|S, and PlayStation 5 consoles on March 26, 2024. As was teased in the Sunset Update trailer, Prison Architect 2 will be a 3D successor to the original game. The changes don't stop with the jump to 3D, though. Prison Architect 2 will feature more options for player control in a deeper simulation, with players facing all new challenges from an overhauled inhabitant behavior system.

Prison Architect 2 leans into the managerial gameplay that played a role in the popularity of its predecessor, requiring players to make the most of their limited resources to manage and build a prison in 3D that is safe, self-sustaining, and secure. New build tools with allow players to create the correctional facility of their dreams (or nightmares, depending on how you feel about the prison industrial complex.) 

The choices made by the player will affect everything from daily schedules to widespread policies that will have lasting effects on a new generation of inmates, who can forge relationships and scheme their escapes based on wants and needs. The level of control the player has over the prison matters, with long-lasting impacts on the inhabitants of your correctional facility. That is if you can find a way to pay for it.

In addition to the new 3D prison environment and smarter inmates, Prison Architect 2 is expected to offer players more freedom and deeper simulation mechanics paired with the classic gameplay elements that made the first so beloved. In a statement from Gareth Wright, Game Director at Double Eleven, players can look forward to "staple and much-loved features" returning as players "manage inmates, quell riots, and prevent escapes." The ability to share your prison creations will also return, and Prison Architect 2 will feature cross-platform support for community sharing.

Much loved features make a return to help you manage your inmates, quell riots, prevent escapes and share your prisons, but now cross-platform! In addition to a new upgrade system, a new Career Mode, and more. We look forward to seeing how players get creative with multiple floors and catwalks to finally construct and expand in 3D. And then optimize and balance their prison’s safety, security and self-betterment.

Gareth Wright, Double Eleven

Unlike its predecessor, Prison Architect 2 will be released on consoles and PCs via Steam simultaneously when it launches on March 26. Players on PC, however, can preorder Prison Architect 2 starting today for $39.99 / £34.99 / €39.99. Console players will need to wait a little longer before they can get those preorders in. While Prison Architect was previously a Games with Gold title and part of the Xbox Game Pass lineup, there has not yet been any indication that Prison Architect 2 will be included as part of the subscription service. 

Cole Martin

Cole is the resident Call of Duty know-it-all and indie game enthusiast for Windows Central. She's a lifelong artist with two decades of experience in digital painting, and she will happily talk your ear off about budget pen displays.