Encased - Content Patch #5 Available

Dark Crystal Games' sci-fi post-apocalyptic RPG Encased is almost ready to escape the clutches of early access, but before that happens, we get one last content patch featuring new and reworked locations, as well as a whole bunch of mechanical changes. You can find the actual patch notes over here and watch a video overview below:

And here's a detailed breakdown of the new features:

Hello everyone, Dark Crystal Games is here again! It's time to tell you about the fifth major content update for Encased: A Sci-Fi Post-Apocalyptic RPG. You will discover an expanded world after a mysterious Incident destroyed our way of life, and reduced the all-powerful CRONUS Foundation to rubble. Get ready for new adventures, locations, quests and enemies!

Since the release of patch #4, we've continued to work hard. Encased is now very close to the final 1.0 release. We’ve been closely following your game reports and comments on our forums and social networks. With your help, we’ve compiled a list of everything that needs to be fixed. Thank you for your patience, and the awesome feedback!

We weren't planning on releasing a fifth patch, but we realized we needed this opportunity to sync up with the community, gather feedback, and issue a few last pre-release fixes. This will be the final update, patch #5. Encased is technically complete. Right now, we’re focusing on exhaustive testing and a last polishing pass.

The game can be played as a lone wolf or together with various interesting companions.

You can kill every living thing in every location, or not spill a drop of blood during the whole playthrough. You can not speak a word and skulk in the shadows, or make your way by persuading, intimidating and charming everyone you meet. There’s even a unique and fascinating play branch for an extremely low intelligence character. How your story plays out is 100% up to you!

Now that the picture is finally starting to take shape, we can see the fruits of our labor and are thrilled to be approaching the finish line. It's taken longer than we expected, but it's all about making the best game we possibly can.

We know you’re just as excited as we are to see the final version. Very soon, we’ll be able to reveal everything and announce the release date. For today, we present content patch #5.

New and reworked locations

We understand most of you have thoroughly explored all the available locations, and are hungry for new adventures. That's why this patch opens up additional territories under the Dome, including the mysterious south!

Once you complete the first act, Maelstrom retreats, revealing almost all of the main, final version locations. The City, the Phalanx base, the Carmine Heights colony, and the Fops junkyard will remain hidden, but they will of course be included in the 1.0 release in the not-too-distant future.

The locations you've already visited have also been seriously revamped. We're proud to tell you that with this patch, there are no placeholders or temporary solutions left in Encased. Our artists and game designers have completed every object under the Dome.

We’ve also invested a lot of time into optimization. The game is now much less demanding on hardware. Even players with low-spec machines will see a significant boost in performance, and the picture will become smoother.

For example, the Stone Forest – here, as with other locations, we redesigned the graphics, and optimized and stylized every bush and stone. We added new effects and points of interest.

Let's take a look at some of the new locations available in the fifth patch.

The Ash Forest is one of the least known areas under the Dome. Here you’ll have to contend with employees corrupted by Maelstrom. Did you think you were the only one lost in time and space during the mysterious Incident?

The roadside Chicken Corn Café is finally opening its doors! Here you’ll need to solve the mystery of its suddenly vanishing employees.

By the way, be sure to check out the menu. We've added lots of new foods.

The coast is a paradise among the wastelands. Rest by the water, relax in a small cabin, maybe do some fishing. Who knows what you might fetch up from the murky depths?

One can argue endlessly about who the true heirs of CRONUS are, but only the New Committee has the manpower and resources to build new outposts all over the Dome.

New and reworked game mechanics

By popular demand, the low intelligence playthrough returns!

Many of you uncovered this hidden path during gameplay. In the fourth patch, we temporarily removed it to polish and improve the dialogue and options!

Now this alternate playthrough is complete, with unique dialogues and character reactions from start to finish. Can you handle it? Don’t worry, you won’t have to think too hard about it.

New random encounters await you as well. In the fifth content patch, you step into the territory of the Second Act, where previously hidden encounters will be revealed. In addition, we've seriously expanded or redesigned existing ones. You’ll have additional dialogue options depending on your companions.

There are new arenas for combat encounters. For example, a destroyed bunker and sewers. And for every successfully completed random encounter, players will receive a valuable reward.

Updated craft system

Crafting enthusiasts, please enjoy the updated item creation and new weapons upgrade systems. We’ve updated the interface, and divided items into convenient categories. In your selected workshop, you’ll see the entire range of available items for crafting. We also increased the number of workshops, so you don't have to search around for a convenient place to restock.

Some feedback we received indicated you want to do an entire run with your favorite firearm, so we created the weapons upgrade system. Now even the starting gun can defeat high-level enemies, provided you’ve installed the right upgrades. Even unique items, such as the psi-katana or your companions’ weapons, can be upgraded.

New companion dialogues

By the way, your companions will have a lot more to say this go ‘round. Unless you’re a natural-born lone wolf, solo travel in the wastelands can get dangerous or boring, so the most colorful characters under the Dome will be there to keep you company.

In between bloody battles and dangerous adventures, try chatting with your companions. They will gossip about other heroes, and tell you more about their relationship with the factions of the Dome and their own past.

Reworked crime and stealth systems

Different characters will have different reactions to illegal activity. For example, if you steal from an NPC, your target may discover evidence and launch their own investigation.

But taking advantage of the new visualization of evidence and timers will help you cover your tracks and avoid pursuit.

Keep in mind, it won’t be so easy to sell your ill-gotten loot. Shopkeepers won’t buy stolen goods. Items are considered stolen as long as an investigation is underway. If you get caught, they’ll be returned to the owner, and you will be punished.

We’ve also improved visualization and added new types of crimes, and specific reactions to them. Entering forbidden areas and looting graves are two new categories. If you persistently break the law, you eventually won't be able to buy or talk your way out of it. You’ll have to do time in the local prison. But with the right skills, you can get out of even this situation.

By the way, characters now react differently to your crimes or aggression. Some behave as before, responding to danger with their fists and weapons. Others will try to avoid combat by running away and calling for help. No longer will you have to fight an entire location at once. Careful elimination of patrols will allow you to silently neutralize enemies without raising the alarm.

Don't forget about the long-term consequences of your decisions, which are especially noticeable in the reputation system. If you kill everyone in a location, reinforcements will be dispatched to eliminate you. The more of these squads you kill, the more dangerous the next ones will be. It starts with a couple of guards, and ends with indestructible terminators in servoshell armor.

By the way, killing everyone in a location will lead to even more serious consequences. We’re not going to spoil it right now, but try returning to the scene of the crime after a week or so.

The Dome is a turbulent place. If you leave a resource-rich location for too long, it may be attacked by bandits. Defend the location or leave it to its fate? You decide!

We fixed the flaws in the skill system. Players can now increase a skill up to 150 and get additional bonuses, which are added to the maximum value.

We’ve also added new skills and fixed bugs. Opponents have proper attributes, weapons and auras. We also adjusted their stat progression and weapon power. Difficulty now proceeds in a smooth arc throughout.

Enemies are better at using their weapons and combat skills, selecting a position and targeting. Players will have to study their opponents’ weaknesses to succeed.

The new combat system needed a new look. We're sure you'll appreciate the additional animations. Now when your character is on fire, they really burn! When you apply kung fu, you’ll look like a martial arts master, and monster attacks have become much more deadly.

Your allies have also gotten smarter, and will avoid mines and anomalies on their own. In addition, we’ve added a more convenient squad management system. Now you can order your allies to run to a specified point, or hold a position.

Managing a group is easier thanks to a common inventory with a collective weight limit, convenient sorting of items, and the ability to drag consumable items and skills to the quick access panel.

We understand how seemingly insignificant details can affect the overall experience of the game and the world. The sounds of footsteps, dirt and dust ejected from under your boots, the sound of a shotgun being reloaded, snakes slithering through deserted locations… Our game designers, artists, and sound designers have been working tirelessly to improve the world under the Dome.

See you under the Dome!