“The Escapists” is an upcoming prison break game by developer “Chris D”. The game revolves around life in a virtual prison where the ultimate goal is to break free by any means possible. The game was recently “Greenlit” on Steam along with hitting its funding goal on Kickstarter. All in all, the game has some interesting and diverse mechanics that we have never seen before, and last week I had the chance to interview Chris on the nature of the game and his plans for the future:

What inspired you to attempt development in the “prison break” genre, where it had rarely been touched upon in the past?

For that exact reason, that no-one ever does it, and I have no idea why. It’s got heaps of potential, and people seem to love the idea too.

Would you say that the game is much more logic than action based?

I’d say so yeah. Even the action involves logic because you have to think carefully before you do something that later might cause repercussions. Although I won’t know how the balance between action and logic will end up yet until later in development.

What kind of role playing elements can we expect to see in-game?

It’s not very role playing heavy, just the basic stats of strength, speed and intellect I think.

How much of a part does crafting have to play in the grand scheme of things?

It’s too early to give a definite answer yet but there are some items that you can only get through crafting. Some players might be quite content taking ages slowly digging out with a spoon, others might want to speed things up by crafting better tools. If you want any kind of weapon then it’ll most likely involve crafting one as well.

Can we expect to see a multi-path setup, whereby players are presented with a choice of which mechanics they wish to utilize to break out?

Yeah, there will be several ways to break out so the player will have to decide which route they plan to go down. I’m trying to implement as many random variables in as possible so whereas one method of escape might be easy one time it could be a lot harder another.

What inspired the art and music style of the game?

The art wasn’t really inspired by anything it’s my way of keeping it simple and retro looking. The music for the teaser trailer was something I knocked up in 20 mins, I was going for an 80s Drive style vibe. But for the actual game I’m thinking a bit of that mixed with some Metal Gear Solid style would go down well.

Can we expect to see a multi-path setup, whereby players are presented with a choice of which mechanics they wish to utilize to break out?

I’m hoping to create an editor, but it all depends on how progress goes and how intricate the prisons end up being really. It should be possible.

What would you say is your favorite in game mechanic so far?

So far it’s definitely the digging and tunneling one. I imagine it’d be quite fun spending the game night time burrowing away and then disposing of the dirt during the daily routines.

What has been the largest obstacle you have come across during development?

Probably the pathfinding algorithms for the characters. It’s quite hard to do in the software I use.. for me anyway..

How has your game being greenlit affected development?

Spud’s Quest has been slowly climbing the Greenlight ranks for a year so my The Escapists getting Greenlit in four days completely shocked me. It hasn’t really affected development per say, it’s just a nice bonus waiting for when the game is finished.

What has Kickstarter backing done for your game?

Well, like a lot of indie devs, it’s hard to get a footing financially- bills gotta be paid. If I didn’t have funding from a Kickstarter I’d have to return to a secular job and work on the game in my free time instead- meaning It’d take a lot longer to get finished.

Well, I for one have been waiting for the seemingly untouched “Prison Break” genre to make a proper debut. Remember that you can still back the game over on the Kickstarter page.

Henry Wilson

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