Fallout meets weird Soviet sci-fi in the alt-history RPG Encased

We got our first look at Encased in 2019, describing it as a Fallout 2-inspired game that was "shaping up to be the kind of freeform RPG we can get lost in." Set in an alt-history 1976, the whole thing takes place inside a giant, mysterious dome discovered in the desert that's packed with amazing, advanced technology that could carry humanity hundreds of years into the future, in an instant.

There's only one problem: Rather like a sci-fi Hotel California, living creatures who enter the dome can never, ever leave. Inanimate objects can, which means all that sweet technology is accessible, but only if you can find people willing to sign up for the job... forever. And so we have the new "recruitment" trailer revealed at the Koch Media livestream today, revealing a little bit about what life under the dome is really like.

Players will begin the game in one of five "disciplines"—science, engineering, security, management, or convict—which will affect starting stats and specialization options, and also have an impact on dialog options that are available throughout the game. Shortly after entering the dome, however, things go even more sideways than they initially appear, devolving into "a dystopian challenge of quite epic proportions."

The Fallout styling is obvious, but Encased, which began life as a successful Kickstarter campaign in 2017, also cites the Soviet sci-fi novel Roadside Picnic—one of the foundational pillars of the great Stalker shooters—as another inspiration. In case there's any doubt, that's the sort of crossover that gets me very excited.

Encased is currently available in Early Access on Steam, and is expected to go into full release this fall on Steam, Epic, and GOG.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.