Canny Valley: The Vanishing Of Ethan Carter

The Vanishing Of Ethan Carter is a weird horror game from The Astronauts, a team comprised of Bulletstorm veterans. Until now, very little of the game has been revealed and the latest trailer only moves the veil a couple of inches. We know that Ethan Carter is a boy and that he has vanished. We know that the player character is the preposterously named Paul Prospero, an occult detective, and we know that the story takes place in Red Creek Valley. The location, as you may remember, has been created using clever-clogs scanning techniques. We’ve seen gifs but the new video shows the scenery in action. Being scenery, it’s not doing anything particularly dynamic, it’s just sort of being there and looking pretty.


The scenery might not be particularly active but Old Man Chuckleshoe makes sure to add a spot of the old ultraviolence.

This is the first trailer for the game, with the focus on the mood of the story the players can experience, and the visuals one can expect from the game. The trailer is a real-time in-game capture (PC), just with the cameras set to tell a certain story.

Also, the release date for the PC version? Third quarter of 2014. Fingers crossed!

Lovely stuff. Except for the brain bludgeoning. That’s not lovely at all. And the old man would probably get away with it if it weren’t for that pesky Paul Prospero.


  1. J. Cosmo Cohen says:

    Look! They’ve recreated the ending of There Will Be Blood!

    “I vanish your milkshake”?

    • Jalan says:

      “I vanish it up!”

      His socket wrench didn’t reach across the road, but it got the job done.

  2. XhomeB says:

    The landscapes look extremely, EXTREMELY pretty. I thought the ones in Alan Wake were good, but these ones are so natural looking.
    What’s the gameplay like, though?

    • spacefrog says:

      They make heavy use of 3d scanned environments/props – thats the reason for the natural look
      link to

    • Jalan says:

      I love game worlds that seem like they’d almost be better places to live in than the actual world I’m living in. Except in this case the serenity is offset by the menace of murderous old men with socket wrenches so I don’t know how comfortable I’d be living in that one.

      That aside, the scenery only serves to contrast the awful character models.

      • Artiforg says:

        Was going to say something similar. It looks absolutely breathtaking right up until the low quality character models appear and ruin it.

        Though, if it’s an open-world investigate ’em up I could well be interested. If it’s a horribly linear Alan Wake-alike then I’ll be disappointed.

        • Darth Gangrel says:

          The character models and animations don’t look nearly as impressive as the environments. It said “graphic images of death” before the scenery was shown, but I never felt that. The animation of “Old Man Chuckleshoe” striking that other person looked so awkward and video game-y that it made me go “Oh it’s a videogame, it’s not real” so I wasn’t shocked at all, but that might just be me being callous and jaded from playing too many violent videogames, you know.

  3. jash says:

    If it weren’t for my daughter, I would never have watched Peppa Pig. If it weren’t for Peppa Pig, I would not know what a clever clogs is.

    But wow that’s pretty. I can’t remember the last time I was surprised by how realistically simple granite was drawn.

  4. amateurviking says:

    That was unpleasant.

  5. baozi says:

    It’s interesting how watching the unpleasant ending of this video makes you think about how glossed over killing in games normally is and how ultraviolence as a descriptor becomes more a matter of depiction instead of what would actually happen to real bodies, especially if you tried being efficient like that old chap.

  6. Lars Westergren says:

    I’m looking forward to this a lot. I like slow, contemplative books, films & games.

  7. Kefren says:

    “The Vanishing Of Ethan Carter”
    I found him! Near the river, killed by a pig farmer with a spannery-thing. Do I win?

  8. jimangi says:

    I can’t get over how vegetation looks, and has looked for a while, in nearly all 3D games. There are plenty of advances in lighting, water effects and ground textures but the still 2-dimensional and scratchy-edged leaves and grass that move to always be facing you still look so bad to me.

    • Illessa says:

      It’s a rendering/throughput problem. Your other examples are continuous things that can be manipulated with all manner of fancy tricks. But all the fancy tricks in the world can’t get you away from the fact that realistic foliage requires thousands if not millions of semi-independent objects at once. Hence you get flat polygons with billboarding and hideous popin.

      I do think Ethan Carter has the best foliage I’ve seen in a realistic 3D game. It’s still very obviously flat polygons (and we’ll see what it looks like on customer hardware rather than the devs’ machines), but they move really nicely and blend surprisingly well. The studio did an interesting blog post about their approach here

  9. Vodka, Crisps, Plutonium says:

    So, Dear Esther with an actual gameplay? Count me in.

    Bonus points to developers for an exceptional example of a good trailer, that silently shows bits of what they actually managed to pull off with the game, and not just the spazzing out videoset of marketing hype generators.

  10. Vodka, Crisps, Plutonium says:

    I wonder, what did the young chap do to deserve such horrible fate.

  11. int says:

    That guy is leaving his fat stupid fingerprints all over the murder weapon!

  12. Bishop says:

    The head smashed in sound effect is really lack luster. I think a sudden cut to black would have looked better, the difference in quality between the scenery and the murder is a bit stark.

  13. BLACKOUT-MK2 says:

    ‘And the old man would probably get away with it if it weren’t for that pesky Paul Prospero.’
    Here’s hoping we get a stupid talking dog as our trusty sidekick.

  14. tumbleworld says:

    Skyrim: Get Off Moi Land.

    Pretty. Hope it doesn’t devolve into another zombie/shadow/etc killathon.

  15. Urthman says:

    The ending is not unpleasant because of the violence, but because someone has defaced this amazingly gorgeous landscape with some poorly-animated Half-Life 1 models that someone thought would look OK if you slapped very-high res textures on them.