I just realized I should probably be putting any problems I note in the Bug Reports section.
I had rescued Ellen and was on my way back to talk to the good Doctor Pettrovich for a second time, and was just passing by the outdoor area where a few dogs attack from the clearing to the east. Right after I finished kicking them down, the game screen went completely black, though the music continued. No sound effects occurred after that, either. I couldn't even right-click on the taskbar tab for the game to close it; I had to "end task" from the Windows Task Manager, which said the Steel Gear process was not responding (despite the music still going).
I don't think I mentioned this before, but including all my prior reports as well, I've been playing in windowed mode with resolution 1152x864, on a 1920x1080 laptop screen. Other in-game graphics settings I'm using:
View distance: high
The remaining graphics options below that are all set to medium.
Side note: why the heck haven't I been playing in 1600x900? It fits on my screen just fine, and is bigger so I can see more and the submenu options aren't crammed together. I really didn't spend enough time getting the resolution just right...
Edit: I may have found an explanation for the graphical problems I've been having. I noticed that Task Manager was showing my CPU at ~37% and my GPU up around 75% usage while Steel Gear is running. Just on a hunch, I checked my CPU temps. Sure enough, they were in the 80-100°C range for all 8 CPU cores. So it's possible that my laptop's running into heat/thermal issues when running the game, which may affect the graphical stability.