Considering the prodigious quantity of movies, books, comics and video games on the topic of the apocalypse – and the all-important subject of what comes next when the radioactive dust finally settles down – one would think that we actually would like it to finally happen and wipe us out from the face of the earth. Wishful thinking or we’re simply naturally drawn to the subjects we fear the most? Whatever the reason behind this phenomenon may be, Dark Crystal Games, a brand new Russian developer with a pretty impressive pedigree, and their debut game Encased will offer us an alternative take on the post-apocalyptic destiny of mankind.
But, first, let me start by telling you one vital detail about their upcoming old-school isometric turn-based post-apocalyptic RPG (don’t you just love it when all those genre determinants align in such an impressive and lengthy row?). Besides the obvious influence of first two Fallout games, as the main source of inspiration developers cite Roadside Picnic by famous Russian Sci-Fi authors Strugatsky brothers. This book had already proven as a great source material, since it served as a basis for several great Sci-Fi products, including S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl and Stalker, a masterpiece of Soviet Cinematography by great Tarkovsky. Although they don’t mention it specifically, the creators of Encased also obviously borrowed an idea or two by Stephen King and his novel Under the Dome. While we’re still on the topic of good news, here’s another one: Dark Crystal Games consist of the seasoned crew who worked on games such as Divinity: Original Sin 1&2 and Leviathan: The Last Day of the Decade, so I think that we all can agree that the future of the post-apocalyptic genre is in the safe hands.
Ironically, a thing that instantly separates Encased from most other post-apocalyptic stories is that here the unfortunate fact that we’ve fried the planet is just a mere background for far more exciting discovery. The game is centered around the mysterious phenomenon – an enormous transparent dome of unknown origin that was found in the middle of the desert. With almost 50 kilometers in the diameter, the dome has a number of very unusual properties. In addition to the fact that it is apparently indestructible, the dome is selectively penetrable, which means that inanimate objects can pass through from both directions, but if sentient beings enter, they’ll remain permanently stuck inside. Hence the title, Encased. The dome is obviously artificial construction of some technologically superior civilization, nicknamed Forefathers. It hides artifacts and relics beyond our wildest imagination, and rumors claim that mysterious dome actually conceals large underground structures, monuments, even entire cities just begging to be plundered. Inevitably, such discovery had attracted much attention. An international corporation known as CRONUS had erected a huge settlement around the dome, with facilities designed for exploration and extraction of the alien relics. But all that happened before the war. After the dust had settled, all that had remained of once all-powerful corporation were numerous warring factions, and innocent people trapped inside the dome. To make matters worse, involuntary inhabitants of the dome had accidentally awakened some entity, a seemingly omnipotent but completely volatile and unpredictable AI called Maelstrom, with an agenda of its own.
As a member of one of those crews, you’ll be involved in the research and exploration of the alien technology and artifacts. At the beginning of the game, you’ll select a profession and background for your character which will give you a number of specific traits, abilities and dialogue options. However, the game will support a classless system, so you’ll be able to develop your character practically in any direction you like. Developers promise a familiar old-school sandbox RPG experience, with plenty of modern features that will make Encased even more engaging. Combats will be turn-based, much like in the classics of the genre, but with plenty of previously unseen tactical possibilities such as exhausting the enemy, utilizing the complex dynamic environments in combat, resolving the combat situation with not-combat skills and much more. Depending on your skills, you’ll need about 30 hours to complete the campaign. However, since you’ll be able to interact with hundreds of NPCs in the unique and alien environment, Encased will also boast a considerable replay value.
All things considered, it’s no wonder that Encased Kickstarter campaign is doing great – in just a few days guys from Dark Crystal Games had managed to collect $64, 806, which is already about two-thirds of their set goal. The official release date still isn’t specified, but come 2019, we’ll be finally able to uncover mysteries of the dome.