The Vanishing of Ethan Carter

When referring to the ‘ indie ‘ label, a very specific type of product is already in mind, especially in recent years when pixel-art seems to have replaced any other artistic option as a claim for independent studies . However, from time to time, projects arise that do not want to resemble others and that propose to open roads in other directions, whether or not they please the majority public.


The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is one of these products, the first game developed by the Polish studio The Astronauts after being founded in 2012 by Andrzej Poznanski, Adrian Chmielarz and Michal Kosieradzki ,


who ten years ago also raised from nothing the study People Can Fly (Painkiller, Bulletstorm, Gears of War Judgment). With a total of eight people, they set to work with an ambitious project: an open-world game based on narrative that would be closer to an artistic perspective that is strictly playful. Having completed the game, it must be said that they have not missed their first shot.

The Vanishing of Ethan Carter puts us at the controls of a detective named Paul Prospero, who arrives in the town of Red Creek Valley with the intention of investigating the disappearance of Ethan Carter, a boy who had sent him several letters warning him that things were not going well.


When arriving at the place, it will have to give with him, to deal with his family and at the same time to understand what happens in the place, that seems dominated by ghosts and creatures of the beyond. Before starting the game itself we are already warned, however, that this is a narrative game in which


“it does not take us by the hand” . Put another way, do not expect combat and great frantic moments because everything consists of moving through the world, find clues and solve a series of puzzlesuntil we reach the end of the story, something that will happen in approximately four hours, if we do not waste a lot of time going around and observing the scenarios (something difficult because they are spectacular, but we’ll talk about this).

The Vanishing of Ethan Carter (PC) screenshot

Thus, the gaming experience is more similar to that of products like Dear Esther or Gone Home , than conventional adventures.


Unlike the latter, however, the structure of The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is more like that of a video game in the sense that we have a series of puzzles that act as phases, while in the first we placed ourselves in a large house with a more gradual advance and information dispersed by the mapping . It is interesting to compare both titles because although the experience they offer is relatively similar (belonging to a subgenre derived from the graphic adventure,


of course both would be at the top of the list) it also differs in what is really important: the narrative. No intention of converting this analysisin a comparison and exclusive to make everything clear -if you have played Gone Home-, here the story is told by reading letters,


entering specific areas or completing the puzzles, but there is much less text than in the game Steve Gaynor. Here the advance of the plot is enhanced through the image rather than related to the material read.