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: Very Positive (5,064 reviews) - 89% of the 5,064 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Sep 25, 2014

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Recommended By Curators

"A tense and spooky stroll through a gorgeous world, some fun supernatural detective work, and an efficient script with sparse dialogue."
Read the full review here.

Recent updates View all (9)

September 15

The Vanishing of Ethan Carter Redux Update 1.01

– Scale resolution 150% added, great cost/effect ratio
– Proper mouse behavior in menus (no extra click needed)
– Fixed re-assigning keys to arrow keys
– Perma-config, no longer requires the load of a savegame
– Water Reflections can now be turned off
– Smart Crosshair turns off in the outro
– Fixed the fog flash after Start New Game
– Proper display of graphics options on a fresh install
– Language now remembered 100% of the time
– Smaller visual and code/script fixes
– Disabled the VR support. Details:

22 comments Read more

September 12

The Vanishing of Ethan Carter Redux Out Now!

The Vanishing of Ethan Carter Redux is an Unreal Engine 4 remaster of the original PC game. It is a free game for the current and future owners of the original.

You should already have the game in your Library. It's a separate game from the original (i.e. not a patch) because this way you can choose which one takes your HDD space. You can hide the other one by right click, then Set Categories, then Hide This Game From Library.

Details here in this blog post.

(You might like the part about the secret exe file)

Also, Ethan is now 40% off for 24 more hours! Let your friends know!

23 comments Read more


“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

    • 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
    • Hard Drive: 9 GB available space
    • Sound Card: DirectX9c compliant
Helpful customer reviews
98 of 105 people (93%) found this review helpful
6.7 hrs on record
Posted: May 9
I'll echo what many, many have already said: visually stunning, great music, short. The very first thing the game tells you when you enter the world is that it will not hold your hand. It's very true. At first you may wonder what you are even supposed to do. I kept a guide handy because after glancing at it later in the game for the first time, I realized I had missed SO much in the beginning. So much so that I restarted a new game.

The story is beautiful, tragic, and extremely gripping. The ending is a satisfying surprise.

Because the game is short, however, I can not recommend paying full price. Definitely add this one to your wishlist though and snap it up as soon as you find it on sale.
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73 of 78 people (94%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
9.7 hrs on record
Posted: April 15
It got praised -- and also awarded by BAFTA in 2015 -- for the innovative photo-scanning technology the developers used in creating realistic 3D models for the objects present in the game, which made Red Creek Valley one of the most beautiful places to visit on Steam, but, personally, I think its greatest accomplishment is the subtle approach to storytelling, placing its story in an intertext cleverly situated at the intersection of several literary styles and genres: we have the typical detective story, the space-era pulpy science-fiction, the witch-in-the-woods fairy tale, the gothic novel and the lovecraftian horror -- to name only the most important ones --, all meaningfuly combined into a touching story about the power of creativity, which reminded me of Ambrose Bierce's An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge.

And after Ice-pick Lodge (The Void, Knock Knock), The Chinese Room (Dear Esther, A Machine for Pigs), Cardboard Computer (Kentucky Route Zero) or Simogo (Year Walk), it's refreshing to see The Astronauts as yet another developer aptly making use of literary conventions in developing their videogames, effectively and meaningfuly blurring the thin line between the two media.
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51 of 59 people (86%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
3.3 hrs on record
Posted: August 30
The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is an adventure game which was released on PC in mid 2014, and then later released on the PS4 in the summer of 2015.

This is an open world style environment where you have very little guidance on where to go or what to do. You are left to your own devices and to progress in the game. There are a number of puzzles which you must find yourself and pretty much solve with no aid at all. Some of the puzzles are pretty hard to even locate. All of the puzzles are solved by using paranormal abilities such as sensing where objects are in the world or assembling a time line of events of the past. This was my favourite gameplay mechanic in The Vanishing of Ethan Cater, you essentially have to work out the order of events that led up to the murder of a character. This is done by seeing small memories throughout the world and then just ordering them by assigning them a number by walking up to the memory. This really makes you think about the events which have taken place, and some of them can be quite shocking!

The graphics in The Vanishing of Ethan Cater are absolutely gorgeous, easily one of the best looking games out there at the moment. The game runs in the Unreal engine 3, and the developers have really pushed it to it’s limits here. There is a wide array of graphical options in the menu, allowing you to customize it how you want. All of the graphical elements are perfectly designed. Sunsets, water reflections, foliage, all of it looks almost has a photographic realism to it.

Plot wise, this game has a very interesting tale to tell; I have to admit, it took me at least 15 minutes or so for me to really understand what was happening but after that I was fully immersed and engaged in the story. You will see plenty of twists and turns right until the final credits.

The Vanishing of Ethan Cater is fully voice acted to an extremely high standard; all of the sound effects are really well made too, such as the sounds of the forest, lakeside noises and other ambient sounds that go unnoticed, unless you actually listen out for them.

As this game has some moments in it where you have no idea where to go or how to progress, I had to resort to the use of a walkthrough, many people who read my reviews will know that it is something I have to do on a regular basis for this genre of game. Saying that, even with the use of a walkthrough, there are still moments where you have to put a lot of thought into the puzzles. There is also only one “enemy” in The Vanishing of Ethan Cater throughout the whole story, and I was a little disappointed that it wasn’t made to be a more challenging encounter than it was, since you could easily navigate your way around it with ease.

The open world in which The Vanishing of Ethan Cater is set in, is giant, and you can find something interesting to look at everywhere you turn; there are tons of different letters, journals, books and signs to interact with to get even more depth from the story. You won’t really encounter any other characters in real time though, all of the other NPCs you find will be when you are using your paranormal abilities, so there isn’t any real character interaction going on.

This game took me just under three and a half hours to complete; I feel that to be a perfect length for any adventure game like this, as it allows for a plot to be formed, fleshed out and resolved in a timely manner. Bear in mind, this was with a walkthrough for the majority of it; if you are going in blind, I would estimate you are looking at a five or six hour game.

I started out playing The Vanishing of Ethan Cater on a 4K resolution, and whilst it was playable with the majority of the settings on full, I still had the odd frame rate drop when I was looking in a direction which had a lot to render, such as over the dam. When dropping the resolution down to 1080p, the frame drops stopped and I was able to continue playing at a smooth 60 FPS. The game does have full controller compatibility, however I would recommend you use a keyboard and mouse for this game, just because it’s first person and a mouse makes controlling so much easier.

In conclusion, The Vanishing of Ethan Cater is a very nicely presented adventure game; whilst it doesn’t have any really fast paced action moments, it does have some intriguing puzzles and well throughout story behind it. You will also get to see one of the best looking games to date, and that is something which you should not miss out on. I won’t go as far to say The Vanishing of Ethan Cater is a must play for a PC game, but I will highly recommend it, just because the game has very little, if any negative points, and everything else is done to an exceptionally high standard.

Tom's Score Card
1) Stay away
2) Only recommended when on sale
3) Recommended
4) Highly recommended
5) This is a must play

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29 of 32 people (91%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
6.4 hrs on record
Posted: June 28
The Vanishing of Ethan Carter offers a unique gaming experience by combining different genres into an impressive game.

First, we have the exploration layer: the landscape is a dreamy mountain valley, traversed by rivers and bathed in sunset light. The scenery is so beautiful that it will make you want to take screenshots of every single tree that you encounter. And when you think you just caught in one screenshot the nicest view there is in the game, you realize that if you move a bit sideways there's a completely different angle that makes the scene even more beautiful than the previous one. I spent hours just walking around and looking at everything, discovering sceneries of amazing beauty and marveling myself at the astonishing graphic detail.

But the game is much more than a walking simulator. The story unfolds as you explore the surroundings: it's the tragic story of a boy called Ethan that has gone missing. Playing the role of the detective Paul, you embark on this mysterious adventure of finding the boy. On the road you discover different clues and solve different murder cases associated to his disappearance, by using of your supernatural ability to sense things. The story has a way of keeping you interested until the end, with unexpected events along the way. The ending is not predictable, although not out of the ordinary either; but it's the kind of ending you least expect to have.

I would also advise checking a guide after you complete the game because there are a couple of vey enjoyable Easter eggs that are a nice addition to the main story and it would be a pity to miss them.

The story is designed as a thriller, there are a few scenes that might cause a bit of discomfort to some people: blood on the ground, mutilated corpses, spooky dark areas and a couple of jump scares. But it's not at all a violent game and the horror-y scenes are very bearable even for an easily startled person as I am.

The music adds a lot to the whole ambience of the game. It is dark in the sinister areas and cheerful in the lighted areas. The sound of the wind, of the river flowing, of the creaking floor when you step on it - all these immerse you even deeper in the whole atmosphere of the game.

The price of this game has been a bit too spicy for me (18,99€) if you consider it's shortness (4-5 hours for a complete playthrough) and I avoided buying it for a long time, but now after I played it, I understand that the price might justify the effort the developers put into creating this superb game. I definitely recommend buying it while on sale, at 75% off.
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30 of 34 people (88%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
4.4 hrs on record
Posted: July 16
The Vanishing of Ethan Carter Review

Game Details

Game: The Vanishing of Ethan Carter
Genre: Adventure
Developed by: The Astronauts
Published by: The Astronauts
Release Date: 25 September, 2014
Metacritic Score: 82 (Link)

Game Review

"The Beauty of Red Creek Valley"

The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is an indie game made by The Astronauts studio. This is a story-driven mystery game where you control a private detective named Paul Prospero, exploring and discovering several clues by communicating with the dead and seeing visions that help him locate a missing boy and discover the mistery behind a dark force lurking in Red Creek Valley.


In terms of gameplay, its a game with very simple mechanics, yet they work perfectly in it with many enjoyable puzzles that will engage you into the game. There is not much more to discuss in this aspect since this is a story-driven game, but I can say that everything gameplay wise works in favor of the game, and its experience, which overall focus on exploring beautiful scenarios for clues that help you solve the mystery around Red Creek Valley, while having a great sense of freedom that differenciates this piece of art from other linear story-driven games.
Longevity is pretty small since I completed the game in about 3 hours, but somewhat expected since this is a story-driven game. Yet you will certainly spend some more hours into the game just by wandering through the astonishing environments present in the game, as by taking several screenshots since this is one of the most beautiful environments in game history in my opinion. The only two downsides of this game are really the length and the few autosave locations present in the game (no manual save feature either).


This is an extremely important category in this game since, like I said before, it is a story-driven game. And boy, how good it was! This is an extremely powerful and interesting story making the game extremely captivating. The writing is very smart, it is amazing to see a game with such smart writing and dialogs. This game also uses complex themes in its story in a very interesting and sometimes unpredictable way. The pacing of the story is top-notch too as the mystery unravels slowly till you reach the end. I also enjoyed the ending very much, it was an amazing conclusion and I am sure most of you will love it to.


Moving on, lets discuss the graphics. They are amazing! A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! This is one extremely gorgeous game. The environments are simply breathtaking. If you like taking screenshots, you will do it all the time in this game. Absolutely insane the level of detail and spectacularity present in the scenario. It is so good that it makes you wanna visit a place like the Red Creek Valley in the real life. With amazing views like it has, the exploration part of the game feels extremely good, instead of feeling like a chore like in some other games.


Sound-wise I do not have any complaints either. The soundtrack is a perfect fit, as the sound effects. Voice acting was very good too, did not seemed like it was an Indie game at all.


Performance was great in my medium specs rig (you can see it in my profile). I played it in my 1440x900 resolution with almost every graphical settings maxed out (you have plenty of them to tweak in the game laucher) at 60 fps, with very few drops to never less than 50 fps.


  • Simple, yet effective gameplay and puzzle-solving
  • Breathtaking graphics and environments
  • Spectacular story with amazingly well-written dialogs
  • Extremely captivating game due to its story and scenarios
  • Amazing sense of freedom
  • Great production values for an Indie Game

  • Poor autosave system
  • Small length

My personal score: 8.5/10

If you like story-driven games this is a must-buy. If you are looking for a game with amazing graphics this is also a must-have game. An amazing tale that revolves around the supernatural with a powerful story and a beautiful world to wander around. The small longevity may make you doubt about the value of this game, but even from its base price this game is one to have in your steam library. Have fun wandering through Red Creek Valley.
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