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 (98 reviews) - 86% of the 98 user reviews in the last 30 days are positive.
Overall:
Very Positive (5,895 reviews) - 89% of the 5,895 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 (98 reviews)
Overall:
Very Positive (5,895 reviews)
Recently Posted
Pablo
( 0.7 hrs on record )
Posted: July 1
This review is based on The Vanishing of Ethan Carter Redux, wich from what i understand is the same game but with updated graphics and some small changes in the gameplay.

More than 20 years ago, when i first played Myst i remember thinking, well, this game seems cool and all, specially the graphics, the story is very vague...and i don't really see too many things to do...i hope i soon have some things to do.. because if i don't i'm not so sure this is gonna work out....aand, of course, turns out, in myst, i did have some/several things to do, but in an original and unexpected way and there was a story, alltough not like you were expecting it to be, and it became one of the most known adventure games of the 90s (even tough, it wasn't considered an adventure by many...). And that's fine, because the game was anything but a normal adventure, it was something else. You could like it, or hate it, but it was difficult to remain indifferent (once you played it).

Playing The Vanishing of Ethan Carter was the first time since playing Myst...that i had a similar experience... a sort of experience that not even the following game Riven could replicate, or the other games that followed in the series. Riven was a great game, even better than Myst, but it didn't replicate this feeling, of being in a real place. That's one of the things that's amazing from The Vanishing of Ethan Carter, it's been a long time since i felt this way about a virtual designed place.... this place....this creek valley....it could exist, it could actually exist (i believed it could). And i know is not real, CGI place of sorts, and the graphics were great of course, very good, but not the greatest, and still.... and that's what surprised me, there was something else happening, i don't know, maybe because of the photographic textures, maybe just by a design choice of space, or maybe the way each stage was presented , that something in my mind, told me, this could be real.
This proves to me, basically, that no matter how good the graphics are, there's something more needed for a place to be "believable" Something that has to be well tough out and put into. Something does have to work in a practical way.

One thing that this game dares to do, is design a place and then put all the different interactions in a organic way. Meaning, if you are in the woods, and there's something to do there, and then there's a bridge in the background and there's something more to do over the bridge, you are not just gonna jump from one place to the other....you are gonna have to walk all the woods and arrive to the bridge, and then if you wanna go to the house over the hill, you are gonna have to cross the whole bridge, and climb the hill. There's just no shortcuts in graphics and places, it's all there, you believe it could be some real place. Maybe that's the part that could come across as "walking simulator" because you do have to walk "a lot" but you also do have quite a few things to do, and an investigation to complete (also you can sprint fast). You are a detective of sorts, and you have to learn what happened to Ethan and his family. And whats this weird energy around the valley where the games takes place.

I was surprised by this, because, yes, the game is in part a walking simulator (you do walk a lot) and the game itself is not overly long. But , in this case and for this game, thats perfect! for once , it made sense to me to have a game where you do walk a lot while doing some interaction with things (it's part of the experience, to discover each corner of this place, and investigate) and it's fine for this game to not be really long, because the story doesn't need it. But it doesn't feel cheap, and it doesn't feel short. A movie takes about 2 hours, and we don't think it's short or cheap. This game takes something between 6 to 8 hours, and it doesn't feel short at all.
Also, while doing the investigation you will come around certain objects, that you will look closely, sometimes even pick them up to use them someplace else. And in certain scenes you' re gonna have to reconstruct a chronology of events. Telling more would be spoiling it...because, the same as myst, this game tries to be something else...it has to be discovered... and it does succeed in making you believe it is real.

The story is good, very interesting, it's presented in a very good pace almost all along and the tension remains almost all the way. I would say that during the last scenes it was a little let down, not because of the ending, but to the contrary, because before the ending you would want to know more about the characters and their story, and how it happened all that came to be, before the ending. That's in fact a testament to how good the game was at times, alltough not perfect.
I would say the story is good enough, but no great, and what truly is great here is the experience of discovering and learning about the game world.

Playing this game makes me realize how gaming has come along these last 20 years that we are now seeing new genres (or variations of existing genres) and in this parcticular case, that not all games have to be a 60+ hs experience to be valuable (especially if its not justified) Sometimes, less and minimalistic, is just as good.

I was just ready to quit for good these so called "Walking simulators" because i'm bored to death of them, i hate just walking around, if it is for the story i play it, then i just prefer to watch a movie, really.

But, The Vanishing of Ethan Carter showed me that, if there's a good reason to make a "walking simulator" (with a good amount of interactions, alltough minimal) and it is justified,it can be a great gaming experience, different than a movie. A gaming experience, that if done right, could be the first of a new genre, like Myst did 20 years ago.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Drih Hawkeye
( 3.6 hrs on record )
Posted: July 1
This is an overall great game. There are a few flaws, but we'll get to them.

The visuals are out of this world. Seriously, it's been a while since I've seen something so beautiful and pleasant to the eyes in a game. The soundtrack is also amazing, so aesthetically, this game is a really good experience.

It is a bit short (and expensive, so I'd suggest you to get it on sale like I did), though, and the story (especially the ending) might be kind of frustrating or unsatisfying for some. Personally, I really liked it, and the final twist, while it's something I don't often appreciate in the stories I follow, made sense to me. The gameplay is simple and interesting. But I think it's fair to warn that in a specific point of the game there are jumpscares, and to me this is one of the flaws: not only they didn't add anything relevant to the story, but they also killed the immersion and the eerie, tense atmosphere from the earlier scenes. It also has zero replay value, sadly.

I played the Redux version, so it did demand a lot from my computer. I could run the game nicely, but loading it took some time, and the camera didn't respond as well as I wanted it to. I can't say about the original version, though.

TL;DR: really good game, really beautiful, but overpriced and with a few flaws and points that not everybody will like. Get in on sale and you won't regret it.
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HELLOW
( 4.6 hrs on record )
Posted: July 1
BADDDDDDDDDDD (for $20)
-good graphics
-good gameplay


-only 4 hours
-way too expensive

would be good for $5
Helpful? Yes No Funny
oneonesix
( 3.4 hrs on record )
Posted: July 1
I bought tVoEC to see what photogrammetry could do for a game. I was not disappointed. The textures and environment are beautiful!
Helpful? Yes No Funny
.Cwalk
( 5.2 hrs on record )
Posted: July 1
jimquisition said this was good. me? i hated it.

pros: theres a lot of walking
great environment
ambient soundtrack

cons: i have to actually think
high-budget slenderman
achievement farm sidequests
chasing an astronaut
puzzles that i have to look up the answers to so i can get on with the gods-forsaken game

overall: if you're looking for a puzzle game, or if you think you're cool because it's not a relaxing and easy game, here you go.

if you want a basic walking simulator with no thrilling detective slenderman gameplay or brain teasers, i wouldn't recommend this. go play beyond eyes to get a real walking simulator experience.

still recommended because it is a decent game. but it is definitely not your daddy's walking sim.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
boom.
( 3.5 hrs on record )
Posted: July 1
Shown hours are too low, I played it offline during the night in one sitting. I estimate about 6 hours playtime for 100%. I usually don't like doing lists but for this one it's easy.

-Compelling story
-Detailed, beautiful environment
-Logical puzzles that are not unfair
-Walking simulator

Yeah, this game does not hold your hand and you will explore a lot. I certainly did, and I extremely enjoyed this experience. For $3.79 or your local equivalent this is a must-buy if you like puzzle games or narrative experiences.
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Ynnf
( 6.5 hrs on record )
Posted: June 30
Beautiful and atmospherically melancholy. The golden tree on the bridge... The stories that the boy wrote... Wish it could be longer.
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Xero
( 4.1 hrs on record )
Posted: June 30
AMAZING story. and it's on sale. get it.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Trusty
( 4.2 hrs on record )
Posted: June 30
Looks great, story is great, the world is great. This game is great.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
hirednoobs
( 4.2 hrs on record )
Posted: June 30
Great game and for the price in the sale of £2.99, definitely buy it.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Most Helpful Reviews  In the past 30 days
55 of 73 people (75%) found this review helpful
6 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.
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26 of 37 people (70%) 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
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11 of 12 people (92%) 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.
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11 of 13 people (85%) found this review helpful
2 people 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.

EDIT:

A tip from grandsong: If you're not interested in walking, in keybindings change Run to W, so you can rest that pinky finger of yours.
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9 of 10 people (90%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Recommended
4.2 hrs on record
Posted: June 30
Great game and for the price in the sale of £2.99, definitely buy it.
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6 of 7 people (86%) 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.....
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7 of 9 people (78%) 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!
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3 of 3 people (100%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Recommended
11.4 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.
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3 of 3 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
4.2 hrs on record
Posted: June 30
Looks great, story is great, the world is great. This game is great.
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3 of 3 people (100%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Recommended
4.1 hrs on record
Posted: June 30
AMAZING story. and it's on sale. get it.
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