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The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is a first-person perspective adventure game with a plot inspired by 20th century crime novels written by authors such as H. P. Lovecraft, Stefan Grabiński and Algernon Blackwood. You play as detective Paul Prospero who has supernatural powers. He generally handles the tasks the police and priests won't touch. He receives letters from a boy called Ethan Carter that start out as fan mail, but soon it turns out Ethan can see things as well, and for his last case he travels to Red Creek Valley to find out what has happened to him.

It is an open world type of game that can be explored freely. There is no tutorial, HUD, journal or equipment — the order in which Prospero visits the locations can be chosen freely and generally there are no puzzles that need to be completed in a fixed order to progress. That way it is possible to start an investigation until stuck and then return to it later. There are also many optional parts.

The game combines both exploring the world and solving environmental puzzles, which mainly involve examining or finding missing pieces and then determining what the order of events was and then recreating it. Whenever something of interest is discovered, a text description appears on the screen and Prospero can use his vision to view it in the past. This leads him to new clues. The larger investigations require him to find multiple items or locations that are connected. Progress is shown through the central character or item that triggers the investigation. When enabling vision, the size of the vision circle determines how much has been found. Once all vital elements have been discovered Prospero needs to use his vision to determine the chronology. He visits the different locations or items, determines the order through a sequence of increasing numbers and then lets the vision play out. If successful, the sequence is completed and the investigation is resolved. If not, the sequence suddenly halts and the order of the chronology needs to be altered.


The Vanishing of Ethan Carter PlayStation 4 Another victim found in the mine
The Vanishing of Ethan Carter PlayStation 4 Investigating the blood splatter on the rail car
The Vanishing of Ethan Carter PlayStation 4 Found me a path on the other side of the water, across the power plant
The Vanishing of Ethan Carter PlayStation 4 Moving a rail car to the scene of the crime

Promo Images

The Vanishing of Ethan Carter Screenshot
The Vanishing of Ethan Carter Screenshot
The Vanishing of Ethan Carter Render FAQ section.
The Vanishing of Ethan Carter Other

Alternate Titles

  • "Zaginięcie Ethana Cartera" -- Polish title
  • "The Vanishing of Ethan Carter: Redux" -- PC re-release title

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User Reviews

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Critic Reviews

GameSpot Windows Sep 29, 2014 9 out of 10 90
IGN Windows Oct 02, 2014 8.5 out of 10 85
ZTGameDomain PlayStation 4 Jul 21, 2015 8.5 out of 10 85 Windows Nov 03, 2014 8.5 out of 10 85
Gamegravy PlayStation 4 Jul 30, 2015 8.5 out of 10 85
PC Gamer Windows Sep 29, 2014 82 out of 100 82 PlayStation 4 Jul 28, 2015 80 out of 100 80
APGNation Windows Oct 11, 2014 8 out of 10 80
PC Games (Germany) Windows Oct 01, 2014 77 out of 100 77
The Escapist Windows Sep 28, 2014 3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars 70


Topic # Posts Last Post
redux 2 Freeman (46595)
Sep 18, 2015



  • The Game Awards
    • 2014 — Best Independent Game — Nominated

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Contributed to by mars_rulez (44158), Pottero (411) and Sciere (529378)