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 (79 reviews) - 89% of the 79 user reviews in the last 30 days are positive.
Overall:
Very Positive (6,062 reviews) - 89% of the 6,062 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
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Recent:
Very Positive (79 reviews)
Overall:
Very Positive (6,062 reviews)
Recently Posted
Grumf
4.2 hrs
Posted: August 24
Just play it. It's totally worth it.
Plus, it's really good-looking.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Cooter
3.5 hrs
Posted: August 24
I've never played a game like this. Imagine that your favorite book ever got a 100% perfect movie adaptation. That is the best way I can describe how I felt while playing (even though I had never heard the story). Ethan Carter has gotten me into more story-oriented games. Because of this game, I no longer worry about mechanics and graphics (even though it's a beautiful game). The story is wild and wayyyy out there, and that is what makes it great. I only wish that paranormal investigator Paul Prospero could read me bedtime stories. Overall an excellent game. If you hate it, yay Steam refund!
Helpful? Yes No Funny
hoserama99
4.0 hrs
Posted: August 22
Very nice atmospheric game. My initial impression was one of a walking simulator, and that's not too far off, but there are some gameplay elements here that make this a bit more involved - puzzles to solve, mazes to traverse and one part where you can die by running into a creepy zombie in a maze.

The game is very story rich, with a unique ending. It was a bit of a slow burn for me to get into this. I had initially stopped playing on my first time around after a puzzle concerning a house with portals drained my will to live - or care.

Picking up the game from there nearly a year later, the rest of it was fairly smooth sailing, and in fact the story moved along at a decent and interesting clip after that.

So: recommended if you like story-heavy atmospheric games, and don't mind a fair amount of walking-simulator-ish gameplay.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
NogginTheDog
0.2 hrs
Posted: August 20
Stunning game. Wonderful narrative, incredible graphics, mind-blowing detailed environments, novel puzzle solving sections. Easy to drop in and out if time is a fcator. Love it.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
veral42
9.5 hrs
Posted: August 19
I just came to check out the game's page for laughsand then realized something... I NEVER WROTE A REVIEW FOR THE BEST GAME I'VE EVER PLAYED!

This is a 100% story driven game. There's no combat. There are no enemies to worry about. Just walk around, enjoy the AMAZING visuals, listen to the BEST soundtrack gaming has ever seen, and solve some truely great story-driven puzzles. All so that, when you finally reach the end of this grand epic and have found all the little secrets, you can enjoy the ending to one of the most heartwretching games of all time.

This is th first game released by publisher and developer The Astronauts... and my mind is officially blown.
AND IT'S IN VR (if you have the money for that sort of thing).

There, I don't have anything left to say... oh wait, yes I do. BUY THIS GAME NOW!
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Baphomet
6.0 hrs
Posted: August 18
The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is a cyclical adventure game in the first person perspective featuring you, a detective tasked with unraveling the mystery behind the disappearance of a young boy who has witnessed bizarre and paranormal happenings in a small isolated town.

The visuals are pretty and the ambient sounds, music, and narrator’s voice are quite cozy and form a nice kind of aesthetic to drive the player forward from area to area. As I mentioned earlier, the game is cyclical, however this is in an almost purgatorial sense in that you will be doomed to walk one gigantic circle until you solve every single puzzle in the game.

How are the puzzles solved, you ask? Normally, when you come across a puzzle, you will be able to hold left mouse to reveal a shimmering and incomplete dreamlike overlay. By finding the right items and pairing them with their respective alcoves you can trigger specific events to expand that overlay until it covers your entire screen, completing the puzzle and unlocking the second phase of that particular puzzle. In the second phase, you simply need to discover and order a paranormal re-enactment of the events that came to pass (the game will allow you to proceed once you get it right).

I’m going to be blunt here, this is basically a walking simulator tied to a very simplistic adventure game. Depending on how you enjoy this kind of thing you will either find it really relaxing or incredibly boring. The game has one section (underground mines) where the devs thought it would be fitting to shoehorn in some awkward and easily avoidable jump-scare mechanic which was kind of lame.

Given the general lack of playtime I can hardly recommend this game at the prices it’s often seen at; considering I finished the whole thing half-drunk in about six hours total. Best to wait until it’s near-free and maybe with a VR headset to squeeze the water out of this stone.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
That need for attention
3.9 hrs
Posted: August 18
I'm quite skeptical when it comes to indie games, because the lower budget often means worse graphics. Nevertheless, The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is definitely one of the best-looking games I've ever played, and in that it's quite ahead of AAA titles like Far Cry 3. What you get is what you'd only expect from a short demo for benchmarking, to see what kind of effects your graphics card can handle. With Ethan Carter, it lasts 4 hours and you're in full control.

As for the story, there's a mystery at its core and a twist, as in a detective novel. I did not like it much, but it was not boring. I also didn't like the game's attempt to mimic Amnesia at one point. It should have stuck with being an amazing walking simulator to solve clues, with decent voice-acting and beautiful background music. It's definitely not a horror game.

Get the game if you like adventures and crime solving, or if you're captivated by astonishing visuals and sounds. Keep in mind that it's quite linear and short though, which can still be a good thing if you need a break from those 30 hours long open world games.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
l3th4lkill3r
10.6 hrs
Posted: August 18
This is a breathtakingly beautiful first person mystery/adventure game and definitely worth a playthrough. The game starts with a disclaimer that it doesn't hold your hand and indeed it doesn't by not providing a map to Red Creek Valley but you soon remember the whole map by-heart(coz it is gorgeous). The core gameplay is solving 5 murders by restoring the crime scenes using environmental clues and then reenacting the murder. Overall not the best of games but definitely worth a buy.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Thylacoleo
4.2 hrs
Posted: August 18
Oh wow, I just finished this game, that was amazing. Wow, this is now one of my favorite games of all time.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
CyntHaf
9.5 hrs
Posted: August 16
I really like this game and the newer version. It seemed a little slow until I figured out how it works, then I couldn't wait to find the next challenge. The graphics are really good and music makes it a little spooky. If you like walking simulators, I think this is a good one to get. The puzzles aren't too difficult but can take a lot of time finding things but it's a beautiful game so that's not a problem. :)
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Most Helpful Reviews  In the past 30 days
8 of 9 people (89%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Recommended
0.2 hrs on record
Posted: August 6
Loving the game, loving the soundtrack, loving the environment, loving the puzzles
so much love ❥

It's a fantastic first person exploration game that focus on environmental story telling, the world is filled by tiny details and scraps of information that encourage you to take your time and explore every detail and most of the time there is not a single loading screen from point X to Y. I can't even count the number of times that i stop exploring just to be mesmerized by the view and take screenshots.

Cons: Why isn't my screen bigger? jk but true
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
3 of 3 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
1.5 hrs on record
Posted: July 29
Absolutely gorgeous game and a good adventure to boot. I kind of wish there were more puzzles but the ones that are there are good and interesting and I can't overstate how atmospheric Ethan Carter is. You'll probably beat it in a session or two but if you enjoy a decent story and great visuals it's super worth it.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
5 of 7 people (71%) found this review helpful
3 of 4 people (75%) found this review helpful
Recommended
1.6 hrs on record
Posted: August 1
What's this? An artsy game that's actually... good? Nah nah nah nah that's not possible... No developer could possibly make an artsy game without the pretentiousness that comes with it...

Except for this one.

This "game" (rather, interactive narrative), sets the bar for every indie developer out there looking to make the next "Her Story" or "Gone Home" or any other pretentious "game" out there.

The visuals are stunning; Unreal Engine 4 makes the game look absolutely gorgeous. The plot remains interesting throughout the entirety of the game, and I was never drawn out from the experience. The music is beautifully written, and the dynamic of it is superb (dynamic meaning it changes seamlessly depending on whatever you're looking at).

I also love the stylization of the text whenever you inspect clues; it adds to the immersiveness of playing as a detective.

My only complaint is that it's not worth $20. Pick it up whenever it's 75% off though, and you'll definitely be intrigued finding Ethan Carter.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
10.6 hrs on record
Posted: August 18
This is a breathtakingly beautiful first person mystery/adventure game and definitely worth a playthrough. The game starts with a disclaimer that it doesn't hold your hand and indeed it doesn't by not providing a map to Red Creek Valley but you soon remember the whole map by-heart(coz it is gorgeous). The core gameplay is solving 5 murders by restoring the crime scenes using environmental clues and then reenacting the murder. Overall not the best of games but definitely worth a buy.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
3.9 hrs on record
Posted: August 18
I'm quite skeptical when it comes to indie games, because the lower budget often means worse graphics. Nevertheless, The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is definitely one of the best-looking games I've ever played, and in that it's quite ahead of AAA titles like Far Cry 3. What you get is what you'd only expect from a short demo for benchmarking, to see what kind of effects your graphics card can handle. With Ethan Carter, it lasts 4 hours and you're in full control.

As for the story, there's a mystery at its core and a twist, as in a detective novel. I did not like it much, but it was not boring. I also didn't like the game's attempt to mimic Amnesia at one point. It should have stuck with being an amazing walking simulator to solve clues, with decent voice-acting and beautiful background music. It's definitely not a horror game.

Get the game if you like adventures and crime solving, or if you're captivated by astonishing visuals and sounds. Keep in mind that it's quite linear and short though, which can still be a good thing if you need a break from those 30 hours long open world games.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
0.2 hrs on record
Posted: August 20
Stunning game. Wonderful narrative, incredible graphics, mind-blowing detailed environments, novel puzzle solving sections. Easy to drop in and out if time is a fcator. Love it.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
2 of 3 people (67%) found this review helpful
Recommended
0.4 hrs on record
Posted: July 26
Well, where do I begin? i want to be short on this 'cause maybe too many words would waste what is the taste of this game.
It is not the usual game, that has to be said. You will not shoot, you will walk and you will think in this game followin' the beautifull story. This game is like tasting a good cigar while sipping a strong glass of whiskey.
It truly involve your thoughts while you're lookin at the scenarios. And oh my Gosh the Graphic is AMAZING.

This is not too long to play but this is game art, not trash.
This is maybe a point of start for something even better. And this is damn good!
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
2 of 3 people (67%) found this review helpful
Not Recommended
1.4 hrs on record
Posted: August 16
Right when you start the game it warns you that it is a "narrative" and is 100% true. You don't really "play" this game, you just go along with the story. It took me 3 hours to finish the entire game, getting every achievement. This is way too short. Ethan's stories (no spoilers) are both engaging and the highlight of this narrative, but they are only 5. The graphics are good, and the story too, but I just can't recommend this game. Puzzles were way too easy, achievements were way too easy - nothing in this game was challenging - 100% narrative - walkthrough a story.

*Note-I played the Redux version first, first run through took 3 hours. Then I played the normal version to see what is different - that run through took one hour. Really couldn't tell any difference between the two versions.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
2 of 4 people (50%) found this review helpful
Not Recommended
6.0 hrs on record
Posted: August 18
The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is a cyclical adventure game in the first person perspective featuring you, a detective tasked with unraveling the mystery behind the disappearance of a young boy who has witnessed bizarre and paranormal happenings in a small isolated town.

The visuals are pretty and the ambient sounds, music, and narrator’s voice are quite cozy and form a nice kind of aesthetic to drive the player forward from area to area. As I mentioned earlier, the game is cyclical, however this is in an almost purgatorial sense in that you will be doomed to walk one gigantic circle until you solve every single puzzle in the game.

How are the puzzles solved, you ask? Normally, when you come across a puzzle, you will be able to hold left mouse to reveal a shimmering and incomplete dreamlike overlay. By finding the right items and pairing them with their respective alcoves you can trigger specific events to expand that overlay until it covers your entire screen, completing the puzzle and unlocking the second phase of that particular puzzle. In the second phase, you simply need to discover and order a paranormal re-enactment of the events that came to pass (the game will allow you to proceed once you get it right).

I’m going to be blunt here, this is basically a walking simulator tied to a very simplistic adventure game. Depending on how you enjoy this kind of thing you will either find it really relaxing or incredibly boring. The game has one section (underground mines) where the devs thought it would be fitting to shoehorn in some awkward and easily avoidable jump-scare mechanic which was kind of lame.

Given the general lack of playtime I can hardly recommend this game at the prices it’s often seen at; considering I finished the whole thing half-drunk in about six hours total. Best to wait until it’s near-free and maybe with a VR headset to squeeze the water out of this stone.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny