The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is a first-person story-driven mystery. Purchase this game to get both the original and the Unreal Engine 4 remaster called The Vanishing of Ethan Carter Redux.
User reviews:
Recent:
Very Positive (74 reviews) - 86% of the 74 user reviews in the last 30 days are positive.
Overall:
Very Positive (5,864 reviews) - 89% of the 5,864 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Sep 25, 2014

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Reviews

“A story told with a level of cleverness and elegance rarely seen in games.”
9/10 – GameSpot

“Leaves you with several amazing memories; moments that you will want to talk to your friends about for hours.”
9/10 – EuroGamer

“One of the best games of the year.”
9/10 – US Gamer

About This Game

GOOD NEWS EVERYONE: By purchasing the game, you actually get two games now: 1) The original The Vanishing of Ethan Carter, 2) The Unreal Engine 4 remaster called The Vanishing of Ethan Carter Redux. Please see this link for details.

The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is a first-person story-driven mystery game that focuses entirely on exploration and discovery. It contains no combat or explosions of any kind. If our game leaves any scars, we hope you won’t be able to see them.

You play the game as Paul Prospero, an occult-minded detective who receives a disturbing letter from Ethan Carter. Realizing the boy is in grave danger, Paul arrives at Ethan’s home of Red Creek Valley, where things turn out to be even worse than he imagined. Ethan has vanished in the wake of a brutal murder, which Paul quickly discerns might not be the only local murder worth looking into.

Inspired by the weird fiction (and other tales of the macabre) from the early twentieth century, The Vanishing of Ethan Carter aims to significantly evolve immersive storytelling in games. While it features a private detective and quite a few mental challenges, The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is not an especially puzzle-ridden game. Our focus is on atmosphere, mood, and the essential humanity of our characters.

Still, the discoveries won’t happen on their own, or without your help. Using both Paul’s supernatural skill of being able to communicate with the dead, and your own powers of observation, you will discover the mystery behind a trail of corpses, the roots of a dark ancient force lurking in Red Creek Valley, and the fate of a missing boy.

Key Features


  • Explore and interact with the beautiful yet ominous world of Red Creek Valley, which was created with the use of revolutionary photogrammetry technology that allows for nearly photorealistic environments.
  • Communicate with the dead and see how they died in order to gather clues that help you piece together the truth behind Ethan’s disappearance -- and the fate of his family.
  • Experience, in non-linear fashion, a story that combines the pleasures of pulp, private eye, and horror fiction, all of it inspired by writers such as Raymond Chandler, Algernon Blackwood, Stefan Grabinski, and H. P. Lovecraft.
  • Conduct the investigation on your own terms and at your own pace. Although there are a few scary bits in the game, players will have no need for sedatives. Our game is less about terror and more about clammy unease.

System Requirements

    Minimum:
    • OS: Windows 64-bit
    • Processor: Intel Core2 Duo or equivalent AMD
    • Memory: 6 GB RAM
    • Graphics: DirectX11 compliant card with 1GB of VRAM
    • DirectX: Version 11
    • Storage: 9 GB available space
    • Sound Card: DirectX9c compliant
Customer reviews
Customer Review system updated! Learn more
Recent:
Very Positive (74 reviews)
Overall:
Very Positive (5,864 reviews)
Recently Posted
Mr._Kebab
( 5.3 hrs on record )
Posted: June 28
This game is rather atmospheric than detective-oriented, but the experience was really addicting
Helpful? Yes No Funny
intel
( 3.4 hrs on record )
Posted: June 28
Awesome environment, good story, nice puzzles..buy it, play it
Helpful? Yes No Funny
[SeconD] ich
( 6.2 hrs on record )
Posted: June 28
Amazing! A extremely beautiful and atmospheric game, well if you can call it a game. Nobody points you in the correct direction you have to find the solution by your self.

It Reminds me a bit of "Dear Esther" but with more interactive parts.

I highly recommend it.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
vandenbroecksebastien
( 6.5 hrs on record )
Posted: June 28
This is a very good puzzle game. The plot is well constructed. The setting and atmosphere are just awesome. I had great moments playing this game and don't regret having bought it!

People, if you hesitate, this is one of teh very few games that worth the shot! And I can't agree more with Eurogamer : "Leaves you with several amazing memories; moments that you will want to talk to your friends about for hours.”
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Bubbles
( 6.6 hrs on record )
Posted: June 28
I just picked up this game on sale. If your on the fence with this game, dont hesitate, buy it. You wont be dissapionted. The Landscape you are going through makes you want to take screenshots every second. The story draws you in. It is not a very long game, but I savored every moment. What are you waiting for. Do it, Just do it. Dont let your dreams be dreams. Buy this game.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Kropowe
( 6.8 hrs on record )
Posted: June 27
Product received for free
A walking simulator and a simple puzzle game with beautiful landscapes and atmospheric music. It is not obvious what needs to be done at first but after a couple of puzzles it becomes more clear what to look for. Due to the amount of walking involved you'd better permanently hold the shift key to move at reasonable speed and only stop from time to time to search for clues and admire views. Recommended as a relaxing laid back game. The big dowside is that the game can't be saved by the player, there are only autosaves (usually after each completed section/ unlocked achievement) so if you're not sure if you have time to solve the next puzzle you'd better exit the game and not waste time walking as the next time you'll be brought back to the end of a completed puzzle.

+ graphics
+ music and sound effects
+ story

- only autosaves
- some puzzles not clear enough (no tutorials/ hints), some repetitive
- no replay value
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Galadhill
( 5.9 hrs on record )
Posted: June 27
One of the best indie game I have ever played...Don't regret and just buy it! I have so mixed emotions from this game and even thought It wasn't long game it was so well made... Music 10/10 Grafics 10/10 and storyline 10/10...
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Undeath111
( 4.3 hrs on record )
Posted: June 27
The Vanishing of Ethan Carter offers great story and climate, but is too short. Anyway I recommend this game.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
RaiiZeR
( 4.0 hrs on record )
Posted: June 26
i played this together with one of my friends because im a dumbass. i never regret my purchase of this game. i like the story alot. the graphics are screenshot worty.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
supernaut
( 1.8 hrs on record )
Posted: June 26
I couldn't post a review under the Redux version, so I had to install the 10GB original and run it for 5 minutes. The Redux version took me 4.7 hours to finish, so pay no attention to the time on record. It's the same game, story-wise and otherwise-wise.

This would be the first game I'd recommend if you hated Dear Esther. It's hard not to compare the two, but The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is more of a game whereas Dear Esther was an experience or experiment in storytelling. To me it was an unforgettable experience, rarely a game has crawled under my skin like Dear Esther, but truth be told, I've only finished it once. That doesn't take away the goosebumps and the emotions I went through, but replayability is an important thing to any gamer. I can't help but sneer at the term walking simulator though, cos it sort of closes the door on any experiment or game not conforming to the norm. While gameplay is king, I'd rather have access to new ideas than play the 400th Mario game, because the platforming is so timeless. Restricting player movement in a game goes against every instinct in your body, cos games are supposed to be liberating experiences, but on the other hand you have highly scripted games that are rewarded with your hard-earned €60 for doing the exact same thing.

Our notions of pricing is another thing that's put to the test when playing these sort of games, which is understandable, but Ethan Carter steps comfortably out of the danger zone of being completed in 2 hours on your first playthrough. It lets you experience its story by having you solve multiple murders and puzzles, but mainly murders as you walk or run through the absolutely stunning Red Creek Valley. Considering how believable the location is and my cursed compulsion to seek out every corner, I would've hated this game with a passion if I hadn't had the option to sprint and I mean properly sprint not just walk faster, which some games seem to mix up. Sprinting would've destroyed Dear Esther, but here it's unavoidable, especially with the risk of backtracking.

The Vanishing of Ethan Carter looks so good you wish you had the PC to be able to max it out, at least in my case, cos with the use of photogrammetry it literally looks picture perfect. You would gladly walk, admire your surroundings and forget the gameplay, but there is no need to go exploring every nook and cranny. There are only a couple of items off the beaten path; this is no game of collectibles. The words Inspect and Read hover over every item worth looking at. To avoid backtracking though you need to pay attention, cos every puzzle needs to be solved in order to finish the game.

I can't say what the story is about without spoiling it, but you'll notice right away that this isn't a detective story rooted in reality. It's a nice mix between Dear Esther and Alan Wake. Often times I was enjoying the sights and the simple gameplay of putting murder scenes together that I didn't bother putting the actual story together, cos you're so used to a paranormal angle that it's become normal, which is why I was caught off guard by the games ending. Having only played the Redux version, which has a better save system though higher system requirements and the risks of backtracking aside, the gorgeous game world, its Lovecraftian tone and a good story make it a worthy experience.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Most Helpful Reviews  In the past 30 days
43 of 55 people (78%) found this review helpful
5 people found this review funny
Recommended
3.6 hrs on record
Posted: June 15
There are so many options that it would be completely boring for me to list them all, so here are just a few: Resolution (640x480 up to 1920x1024), Language (subtitles are the default), Full-screen, Quality, five different sliders for Sounds, etc. You can play with the mouse and keyboard (key mapping is allowed) or with a controller, which is what I chose.

I could not play the game without it crashing when I was using a 32-bit system, but once I upgraded my Windows to 64-bit, it ran like a dream. (Happy day!!) It will auto-save at certain points, but there is no manual save.

Controls are basic, with movement, camera (full 360 at your fingertips), a button to inspect/interact, one to crouch, one to zoom, and one to run.

There are 12 achievements that unlock simply by playing through the game, but there are also two secret achievements to be had. One is rather easy to get, and the other is in three parts. You could spend hours combing through the lush environment and still possibly miss part one, but oh -- what a beautiful place to get "lost" in~!

If you've seen anything about the game, you already know know gorgeous the graphics are. There is a brightness slider if you're worried about not being able to see, but what I really would've liked to see is a contrast adjustment. I love it the way it is, of course, but the artistic side of me would've liked to make the visuals even more rich by increasing the contrast... but I digress! ;)

Those who'd like to just immerse themselves in the world of Ethan Carter will want to simply explore and learn everything by trial and error, but for those of you who would like the basics of gameplay, I'll add them in a spoiler text here:
A prompt will come up whenever you find something to interact with. You will find as you play that you can "see" things -- After all, you're a psychic detective! The view will expand when you've done something right, so if you don't see much at first, keep exploring and try to find what you've missed.

In order to progress in that first recreation scene, you'll need to put everything back the way it was before the incident happened, then try again (it will make sense when you play.)


There's a fascinating dynamic that comes into play as you progress, requiring you to identify the sequence of events that took place. This will come up in multiple areas, revealing more and more of the story as you go. It can be surprising, even confusing at times, but everything ties together at the end.

Ethan Carter envelopes a realm full of beauty, wonder, and -- at times -- fear and unease. The devs gave us a gift towards the end by allowing us instant transport to specific areas of the map so that we can continue to explore without having to spend 10 minutes or more just running to get back to where you want to go... Which is a good thing, because the game won't let you see the ending until you've discovered all of the story elements!

As for said ending, I really can't tell you anything without giving something away, and I wouldn't want to ruin it for you. The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is something to be experienced for oneself, then talked about later. I will say that I think that the second playthrough will be even more enjoyable than the first, now that I understand how to play. Totally recommended for those who enjoy exploring and mysteries.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
22 of 30 people (73%) found this review helpful
Recommended
9.6 hrs on record
Posted: June 12
Product received for free
Game world would be more beautiful if there were more games like this one. This is the game, which sticks in your mind.

Story
Paul Prespero (detective - you), starts the game in an unconventional way - in a train tunnel. Strange letter from a boy named Ethan Carter brings you up here. You set off on a journey to find Ethan, but it looks worse than you imagined. You are on Ethan's tracks, who is a witness of the various murders. Thanks to your ability to elicit memories, you reveal every murder and you are also slowly getting into the story of Ethan.

https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=700384669

Graphics
Graphically perfect game, beautiful environment of Red Creek Valley in the autumn. Even at low details game looks quite nice. The game becomes unique thanks to real objects, which they graphically brought them to the game. I think it's very interesting and you have to see how it is made HERE.

https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=702261123

Audio
Soundtrack perfectly complements mystique of game, like the noise of trees, water, sound of wooden bridge, crows. Ethan, Paul and the other characters have a really great voice.

https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=699827220

Gameplay
The game is perfectly optimized and even if i do not have a great computer, I was able to enjoy the game at high details. The game is processed in the open world, which means that you can move freely and explore different parts of the world. Shame is that you can not save game (The game has autosave after passing each murder or puzzle). Also I recommend to pass all parts of the story, because if you do not complete all murders or puzzles, the game will not let you do the final ending and you'll have to go back (just like me). In severe situations, I recommend this guide. The game has touch of horror game. The game can be complete in 3-4 hours. Missing console.

Price
I have shared this game from a friend and the price is acceptable to what the game offers.


+ story and surreal ending
+ atmosphere
+ graphic processing
+ nature sounds and character's voice
+ open world
+ letters from Ethan
+ Interesting objects (train, traps, various houses, mine, church, crypt)


- Completing all parts for ending games
- console
- autosave


9/10
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
8 of 9 people (89%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Recommended
1.8 hrs on record
Posted: June 26
I couldn't post a review under the Redux version, so I had to install the 10GB original and run it for 5 minutes. The Redux version took me 4.7 hours to finish, so pay no attention to the time on record. It's the same game, story-wise and otherwise-wise.

This would be the first game I'd recommend if you hated Dear Esther. It's hard not to compare the two, but The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is more of a game whereas Dear Esther was an experience or experiment in storytelling. To me it was an unforgettable experience, rarely a game has crawled under my skin like Dear Esther, but truth be told, I've only finished it once. That doesn't take away the goosebumps and the emotions I went through, but replayability is an important thing to any gamer. I can't help but sneer at the term walking simulator though, cos it sort of closes the door on any experiment or game not conforming to the norm. While gameplay is king, I'd rather have access to new ideas than play the 400th Mario game, because the platforming is so timeless. Restricting player movement in a game goes against every instinct in your body, cos games are supposed to be liberating experiences, but on the other hand you have highly scripted games that are rewarded with your hard-earned €60 for doing the exact same thing.

Our notions of pricing is another thing that's put to the test when playing these sort of games, which is understandable, but Ethan Carter steps comfortably out of the danger zone of being completed in 2 hours on your first playthrough. It lets you experience its story by having you solve multiple murders and puzzles, but mainly murders as you walk or run through the absolutely stunning Red Creek Valley. Considering how believable the location is and my cursed compulsion to seek out every corner, I would've hated this game with a passion if I hadn't had the option to sprint and I mean properly sprint not just walk faster, which some games seem to mix up. Sprinting would've destroyed Dear Esther, but here it's unavoidable, especially with the risk of backtracking.

The Vanishing of Ethan Carter looks so good you wish you had the PC to be able to max it out, at least in my case, cos with the use of photogrammetry it literally looks picture perfect. You would gladly walk, admire your surroundings and forget the gameplay, but there is no need to go exploring every nook and cranny. There are only a couple of items off the beaten path; this is no game of collectibles. The words Inspect and Read hover over every item worth looking at. To avoid backtracking though you need to pay attention, cos every puzzle needs to be solved in order to finish the game.

I can't say what the story is about without spoiling it, but you'll notice right away that this isn't a detective story rooted in reality. It's a nice mix between Dear Esther and Alan Wake. Often times I was enjoying the sights and the simple gameplay of putting murder scenes together that I didn't bother putting the actual story together, cos you're so used to a paranormal angle that it's become normal, which is why I was caught off guard by the games ending. Having only played the Redux version, which has a better save system though higher system requirements and the risks of backtracking aside, the gorgeous game world, its Lovecraftian tone and a good story make it a worthy experience.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
5 of 6 people (83%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
Recommended
5.5 hrs on record
Posted: June 22
It could be called "Edgar Allan Poe - The Video Game".
The little storys, the environment... what a hauntingly beautiful place one get's put into. But I shall not spoil that one bit here. You'll see for yourself.

One thought about the Gameplay:
In this game, there seems to be not so much going on in the big picture. Some people even think this means it's boring. But it's surely not. I would call it calm, very, but never boring.

I recommend to play it in the still of the night, right before bedtime, then have a long sleep. I loved it that way.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
6 of 8 people (75%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Recommended
1.9 hrs on record
Posted: June 11
(don't mind my playtime, I mostly played the Redux version)

Wow. What should I say about this. I played this game for about 15 minutes and instantly knew that it's going to be amazing. How this game creates immersion is almost unparalleled in my experience. The graphics are absolutely fantastic, no other game ever had me literally admiring a piece of brickwork. The Stephen King-esque supernatural mystery/horror story creates a tight atmosphere that grips you from start to end. The game allows you to seamlessly roam a vast island and progress at your own pace, solving gruesome murders along the way and putting the pieces together. The narrative is superb, keeping things vague throughout the game and ending with impact. The Astronauts, some major applause to you for creating this masterpiece!
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
7 of 10 people (70%) found this review helpful
Not Recommended
2.1 hrs on record
Posted: June 25
Shows some promise in storytelling, but way too many issues. Better tape your shift key down so you can move at a normal speed the whole game. Constant lighting issues. Completely bullpoop hidden areas to progess to the point of pixel hunting. Slenderman "spooky" maze portions for no reason other than Slenderman was popular. Level design is a mess as what looks like broad open areas are really small confined hallways.The disclaimer at the beginning that the game doesn't hold your hand is a HUGE red flag and ended up being correct that the game is simply poorly designed. Be ready for backtracking because the game explains literally nothing and not for any sort of puzzle solving or exploration reasons given the hallway issue.

Honestly confused about the positive reviews. The whole game feels like wandering from one hallway to the next hoping desperately to find something interesting.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
6 of 9 people (67%) found this review helpful
8 people found this review funny
Recommended
12.5 hrs on record
Posted: June 21
Slow, not well optmised at all, BUT quite easy to solve and a good plot.
One of the few adventures that don't require ludicrous unobvious things to be done to solve a puzzle (you know, like pick up the popsicle and freeze it and use it as a knife to stab the cat to make it jump out the window and DIE OF BOREDOM) but is an adventure where anyone can figure out the answers. so, YES.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Recommended
15.0 hrs on record
Posted: June 15
Hauntingly beautiful. Mystery, sadness, wonder, careful you don't lose yourself in this game.....
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
2 of 3 people (67%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Recommended
13.4 hrs on record
Posted: June 19
The Vanishing of Ethan Carter looks amazing and tells a quite interesting and tragic story. Sadly, there's zero replay value and after about 5 hours tops players will have seen all there is to see.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
2 of 3 people (67%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Recommended
10.8 hrs on record
Posted: June 10
If you like these kind of games, just buy it, as simple as that. Great graphics, good story, best walking simulator. The only problem, is too short. A very enjoyable game.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny