The Re-Vanishing Of Ethan Carter: Redux Is Out

I think this is from the Redux?

John was jolly pleased with The Vanishing of Ethan Carter [official site], enjoying its pretty puzzle-solving but damning its backtracking and lack of saves. Well, many wonky bits are now better and some already-nice parts too, as developers The Astronauts have released a big free remaster update.

The Vanishing of Ethan Redux is technically a separate game, not an update, bumped up from Unreal Engine 3 and remade in Unreal Engine 4. The new version brings a new save system, faster loading of the world, visual tweaks, and more. It’s out now free for everyone who owns the game on Steam and GOG.

You should find the new version sitting in your Steam or GOG library as a separate game. The new Unreal Engine 4 remaster has the game loading the world (almost) seamlessly as you move around, rather than hanging every now and then. However, this makes it more demanding on systems, and it’ll want a 64-bit version of Windows on a PC with 6GB of RAM. If you can’t play that, hey, don’t worry – you still have the old version. You’ll miss out on some other tweaks too though.

While the original used infrequent checkpoint saves – much to John’s frustration – The Astronauts explain that the Redux “simply saves the state of the whole world right after most player actions”. The backtracking players could face at the end of the game is gone too, with the devs saying “Let’s just say that we believe the problem was fully eliminated in the Redux version.” I could not tell you quite how they’ve done that, and don’t especially want to look into it as I still haven’t got around to playing Ethan. Also tweaked is a section they say some players found “too scary and/or too exhausting”.

What motivated this? Well, this is built on work put into the PlayStation 4 version, as Unreal Engine 3 does not play nice with PS4s. So they rebuilt it. They’ve said that they’ll look into “how much work” Mac and Linux ports would be once the PC Redux was out, so maybe we’ll soon find out whether those will happen or not.

They also note the Redux has “literally hundreds of smaller tweaks and updates to the visuals”, which are “probably not something a lot of people will notice” but nice to have. Here, watch this trailer and see if you can spot them – though if you haven’t played it, do be warned that it appears to show quite a few story bits:

60 Comments

  1. VelvetFistIronGlove says:

    Also tweaked is a section they say some players found “too scary and/or too exhausting”

    Ah, that would be the bit that’s stealth in a maze. Poor stealth design combined with poor level design combined with jump scares: it was the single worst bit of the game. I think I’ll check out the steam forums to see if anyone’s described how they’ve tweaked it.

    • VelvetFistIronGlove says:

      And indeed the devs have described in a little more detail (SPOILERS obviously) what this change (and the backtracking fix) entailed: link to steamcommunity.com

    • Philomelle says:

      That section and its jumpscares weren’t even scary – the zombie hunting you looked like an underpaid actor wearing a cheap Halloween suit who half-heartedly flopped on you in a poor effort to share his misery. The problem is that it spawned so randomly and had such a huge “attack range” that completing the puzzle the proper way – by exploring the entire space and collecting the clues in various notes – became a mind-numbing and exhausting chore.

      I guess the development team realized that most people handled the section not by playing it the proper way, but by simply looking up the solution to the glyph puzzle and bolting into the room with it, where they would peacefully enter it and thus bypass the zombie entirely.

      • MrBehemoth says:

        I both agree and disagree – it was scary at first but quickly lost its scariness because it was mechanical and predictable. Once I figured out the pattern, it was too easy. Loved the game overall though!

      • jrodman says:

        Speaking for only myself, it was scary enough to severely mar the game experience for me. I’m sure the formula breaks down if you play games like that, but I don’t.

    • Synesthesia says:

      Oh! I abandoned it because of that bloody FUCKING JUMPSCARE. I’m too old for that shit. I’ll be going in again, if it’s fixed.

      • Premium User Badge

        jythanatos says:

        I abandoned that part too! But then had to go back and I looked up the solution for it and just ran to the spots.
        The game had such a great atmosphere that I thought I should finish the other areas first, as everything was warning you away from that area, and said things like “There’s no turning back once you go in” that I though I should save it for last in-case it was the end of the game. Then cursed it when I realized I had to go back at the end!

        Other then that I loved the game and can’t wait to play it with my newly built system and 34 inch monitor. I have a gamecrush on “The Vanishing of Ethan Carter”, and I’m not afraid to admit it!

      • jrodman says:

        Apparently the jumpscare reduces in its aggression/frequency as you encounter it repeated times, giving the option of deliberately triggering it many times to basically turn off the mechanic.

        It was a design mistake, and it’s not a complete solution, but it should make it more reasonable to trudge through to see the rest of the game.

  2. Thirith says:

    Apparently it also supports Oculus Rift now. I haven’t got one of the Developer Kits, but from what I’ve heard and read this would seem to be the kind of game that works quite well in VR.

    • Synesthesia says:

      That’s pretty big. I wonder what kind of monster pc you would need for that.

      • jkostans says:

        My R9 290 wasn’t enough even on low, I’ve heard the GTX 980 can manage….. but it’s not perfect. I imagine the VR port will address that problem.

  3. MajorManiac says:

    Thanks very much. :)

  4. Premium User Badge

    gritz says:

    I don’t think I want to be giving Adrian Chmielarz any money.

    He’s like the game developer version of those youtube channels that only exist to call Anita Sarkeesian a charlatan.

    • Distec says:

      Except he actually makes games as well and has been for some time.

    • tsff22 says:

      I personally believe that in regards to a game, what should matter is that whether or not you actually enjoy the game, not whatever political/social/etc opinions and views someone on the dev team holds.

      If games were judged solely on the views of certain members of their dev team, the game industry would be considerably bleaker and unfun.

      • trashmyego says:

        But this isn’t an issue based solely on the views and beliefs of one of its developers, but how he has used them publicly. It deals with the knowledge of his intent, intent that will only be bolstered by any success within the industry itself. It’s okay to never give this man money no matter the quality of the games he produces.

        • Distec says:

          What’s his intent? To put food on his table and disagree with Anita when he feels like it? You write as if giving the man six-something bucks (last sale price I saw on Steam) is akin to funding an arms dealer.

          The pretense of some principled stand isn’t necessary. You don’t want to give him money because you didn’t like some things he said. Okay.

          • trashmyego says:

            The intent to use his place in the industry as a soapbox. An intent that all those other developers with similar or otherwise troubling views choose not to use. This isn’t just someone saying these things, it’s him pushing them to the forefront. It’s being vocal vs. having opinions.

          • Geebs says:

            So, it’s okay if somebody holds an opinion you disagree with as long as they never express it in a public way that might inadvertently come to your attention? Well thank you Captain Tolerance. Will you be issuing guidelines, or do the bloggers of the world just have to play it by ear and see what you think?

            (Chmielarz isn’t as clever as he thinks he is, but he’s also not Literally Hitler and labelling his every utterance pas “problematic” is tiresomely pointless)

          • All is Well says:

            Geebs, that’s disingenuous and unfair. Nobody’s saying that Adrien should be made to shut up, nobody’s saying that he is literally Hitler, and nobody is labeling his every word as problematic, except you. The discussion is about whether or not it is reasonable not to buy a game based on certain actions by the developer – gritz said that he or she didn’t want to give Adrien Chmielarz any money on account of some things he had said, to which the reply was that that sort of thing is irrelevant and should not be taken into account. trashmyego is simply clarifying that the question isn’t about whether or not to give a developer money because of beliefs or opinions they might hold, but rather that they think it’s reasonable to not want to give a developer money if that developer has used what limited recognition and visibility they have to spread certain political beliefs and it could be assumed that, given even greater recognition and visibility via commercial success, the developer would continue this practice. In short, that it’s reasonable to not want to economically support someone who actively pursues an agenda you consider to be wrong.

          • Cator says:

            @trashmyego

            What troubling views? No seriously, what views exactly. Anita isn’t beyond criticism. There are plenty progressives that don’t agree with many of her arguments or way of presenting them. Chmielarz never once said or done anything to lump him in, with the crowd of anti-progress psychos, that some of You seem to lump him in, just becouse he isn’t critical of all that is GG (there are people out there who lable themselves Republicans, and yet don’t believe that gay marriage is evil, or that Obama is the antichrist)

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          Harlander says:

          Will you be issuing similar guidelines about the circumstances under which it is appropriate to choose not to patronise a given artist?

          • Geebs says:

            Not buying a game for personal reasons is absolutely fine by me.

            Proposing that the manufacturer of said game should somehow be prevented from expressing an opinion about games in general because this apparently represents a conflict of interest is crazy.

      • Merus says:

        Sure, but I can do both at the same time. It’s a negative, in my book, but that’s weighed up against the positives just like any other game. I think The Binding of Isaac is an astonishingly clever piece of game design, but I hate the theme.

        Problem is, there are so, so many great games out there that, while I’m not boycotting The Vanishing of Ethan Carver, exactly, there’s about 50 games I’d gladly put ahead of it. Realistically, that means I’m probably not going to play it.

    • Synesthesia says:

      Damn, I did not know this. If you want to get depressed, here you go:

      link to medium.com

      • tsff22 says:

        Like I said already, developers are free to believe whatever they want as long as the game itself is good.

        • jrodman says:

          That’s certainly one reasonable value-system, as is the one where you choose to avoid giving money to people who you feel take actions that are unpalatable.

          • Cator says:

            What’s “unpalatable” about his views? You do realise that he isn’t some kind of anti-liberal, anti-women bigot, and his views on Anita Sarkeesian have to do with her specific arguments and absolutely nothing with him wanting to stifle progress in video games or the presence of women in the industry. In fact he said many times that if there’s one good thing that started becouse of Anita, it’s the discussion that this industry should have had long ago. She is not beyond criticism and there are plenty of progressives that share his opinion of her.

            Talking about not giving him money becouse of his “views”, make it sound like he is spouting some bigoted shit about gay marriage or the falshoods of global warming. This is the most ridiculous, childish twitter-era type of categorising people and lumping them in with close-minded assoles only for the crime of disagreeing with a woman.

    • jonahcutter says:

      He’s not like that whatsoever.

      Feminist Frequency is not above critical response.

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        gritz says:

        Critical response is one thing.

        Saying that Sarkeesian deliberately courted harassment to bolster her influence (see article linked above), on the other hand, is ridiculous and insulting. Or that feminist critique is somehow stifling game design. Especially when it’s couched as REASON AND TRUTH.

        • MD says:

          “Saying that Sarkeesian deliberately courted harassment to bolster her influence (see article linked above)”

          Where did he say that? That’s only a semi-rhetorical question, because I did some skimming and may well have missed the relevant passage, but I’m wondering if you are referring to this part:
          with the help of the aggressive idiots and harassers — who Feminist Frequency expertly aikidoed into boosting their recognition and influence — the series gained incredible level of popularity
          The implication there is not that FF deliberately courted harassment, but only that when it came they turned it to their own advantage. (Aikido isn’t about mind control, it’s about redirecting attacks, using the attacker’s force against them, etc.)

          • jrodman says:

            Given the overall context, the repeated talking points of the anti-Anita hordes, it comes unpleasantly close to parroting one of them. That doesn’t mean the agenda is shared, but it’s certainly clumsy.

            However, reading through the Medium link, the amount projected into the work (eg condescending tone), considering that I’ve viewed them myself, is kind of hard to believe. The loaded terms dripped like “alternate reality”, “ten-dimensional universe” are childish, not to mention bizarre attacks like over-literalizing the title of the series.

            While some of the links in this summary may be insightful (I certainly haven’t read them all), the overall approach is typical of Anita detractors. It’s the kitchen sink approach. The worst form is of course, she’s wrong AND she’s corrupt AND she is deliberately courting harassment AND the harassment is fake AND she’s actually attacking the games industry just like Jack Thompson. That’s not what’s on display here, but we do get some expletive fueled nonsense videos mixed in with the supposed critique, as well as the juvenile jabs above. It doesn’t *smell* like an attempt at critique to me.

    • Bladderfish says:

      How did I know there’d be a thread in here attacking Adrian C. for *daring* to criticize Anita Sarkeesian? I mean, a gaming developer criticizing a critic who is criticizing game development … that’s horrendous!

      Let’s instead all blindly agree with a feminist with no industry experience and no real insight into game development. That is the true way of wisdom.

      • UncleLou says:

        Probably through the same magic that I knew someone would build a massive strawman and claim people who don’t like Chmielarz must be blind defenders of feminism.

        Works both ways, doesn’t it.

        Still can’t stand the guy. What’s worse though is that I thought the game is a bit pants. But at least they have a working save mechanism now that isn’t totally infuriating. Only took them a year.

    • Foolish Wizard says:

      link to medium.com
      Before you attack Chmielarz, read this.

      Food for thought: have Anita Sarkeesian and Jonathan McIntosh engaged in any sort of conversation or debate? How? Or do they just shitpost and tweet & drive?

      • Synesthesia says:

        So, basically, a long winded “actually, it’s about ethics in gaming journalism”. Give me a break.

        • Foolish Wizard says:

          Interesting. What do you think about the part with Alex Lifschitz in it?

          • Synesthesia says:

            The part where posting spoilers to twitter negates his ability to help harassment victims? Hilarious, transparent and ultimately pathetic.

          • Foolish Wizard says:

            No. The part where a guy who is supposed to help harrassment victims tries to sabotage the work of others because he doesn’t agree with one person’s views.

        • Cator says:

          “The part where posting spoilers to twitter negates his ability to help harassment victims? ”

          He didn’t say that it negates his ability. He said that it’s absurd for an anti-harrasment company that clearly states in it’s manifesto that it’s completely beyond using agressive tactics themselves, to be led partly by a man actively engaging in such assolish, childish and sometimes harmful antics. And by the way this isn’t the first time Lifschitz acted like a douche online.

  5. tsff22 says:

    These kinds of games aren’t my thing, but I’m still tempted to get it simply because I’ve read about how personable, professional and unbiased the dev team is, and I want to support them even if I’m not a fan of this genre.

    • Llewyn says:

      These kinds of games aren’t my thing, but I’m still tempted to get it simply because I’ve read about how personable, professional and unbiased the dev team is, and I want to support them even if I’m not a fan of this genre.

      I personally believe that in regards to a game, what should matter is that whether or not you actually enjoy the game, not whatever political/social/etc opinions and views someone on the dev team holds.

      • tsff22 says:

        Hey, I’ve been wrong about thinking I wouldn’t enjoy a game until I played it before. >.>

        • Llewyn says:

          Oh, sure. I’ve done the same, and I’ve also bought games that I’m not directly interested in because I want to encourage the people making them to continue making games. However, the disconnect between you buying it to support Chmielarz and you criticising those who specifically don’t want to support him was worth highlighting.

          There’s also a second possible reading of your two comments, made only a couple of minutes apart, when taken together. However that could easily be the sort of miscommunication that text-only gives rise to, of course.

      • Premium User Badge

        gritz says:

        M-M-M-MONSTER KILL

        • tsff22 says:

          How about you let the people who enjoy the game enjoy it instead of ganging up on them?

          • pepperfez says:

            How about you let people who criticize the game criticize it instead of being a sniveling reactionary twit?

          • Distec says:

            It’s not a criticism of the game, it’s a criticism of a developer’s opinions.

            Go with one or the other (or both), but let’s be clear about it.

      • Distec says:

        I don’t think these positions are as contradictory as you seem to think they are.

        • Llewyn says:

          Out of context I would agree with you. However I didn’t feel it necessary to also quote the comment to which the second quote was a response.

          • Distec says:

            Fair enough. I’ll let him elaborate further on his own views, if he wants. :)

            This is an ever-shifting line for me, personally. I generally think products should be evaluated on their own merits regardless of the creator’s views. But I do grant exceptions to that if A) I think there’s some seriously noxious thinking bleeding into the work itself, or B) The creator is a moral monster. But even with the latter, I think my unwillingness to support the creator excludes me from having an informed opinion on the product at all.

            But, y’know. No hard rules with any of that. I’ve turned my nose up at other things for less.

            I will say that Vanishing is a title I wouldn’t have given a second look to if I wasn’t aware of Chmielarz’ involvement, but that’s more out of curiosity from his Painkiller/Bulletstorm pedigree than anything else.

          • Llewyn says:

            Personally, even noxious content might not be enough to put me off experiencing and perhaps even enjoying content, though it’s more likely to make me reluctant to economically support the creator. But as you say, no hard and fast rules, and for what it’s worth I’d find your position very sensible.

            That said, it’s an area where I wouldn’t criticise any position really, other than the perhaps unintentional hypocrisy that prompted me to get involved here :-)

  6. JohnGreenArt says:

    The Redux version also seems to take up considerably less HD space than the original, according to the disk usage in the Steam properties (5.6 gigs for Redux versus 9.7 gigs for the original.)

  7. Big Murray says:

    That guy sure vanishes a lot.

  8. Gryz says:

    Anybody been able to download, install and play this game via Steam yet ?

    I avoid Steam as often as I can, but I do have some games on it. Ethan Carter was one of them. I currently have no Steam games installed on my machine, so I’m not sure Steam works. But when I try to download Ethan Carter, Steam downloads 2MB worth of data (whatever data), and then stops downloading. Very weird. Is it just me ?

    • JohnGreenArt says:

      I was able to download it just fine earlier today, just after finding out about it from this article. But Steam every now and then has hiccups, so you might need to restart the download.

  9. Initialised says:

    If it adds ants to the undergrowth and fixes the joints I’ll play it again in extra pretty.

  10. RQH says:

    This game takes place in the uncanny valley of forests. I spent a lot of time walking in the woods when I was growing up, and there are these lovely details in Ethan Carter–the way the ground slopes into little pits where brush and old branches accumulate, for example. The illusion is so convincing at parts that you walk into those same branches and you expect the hundreds of tiny twigs to catch on your pants or your shoelaces and drag the branch behind you, only they don’t move at all. They don’t even block you. I guess in the end the story justifies this a bit, but I’m guessing that’s more a happy coincidence of narrative and technological limitation than a deliberate design decision.

  11. CookPassBabtridge says:

    Refunded this due to the constant *snic snic snic snic* microstutter that it had. Didn’t want to but none of the recommended fixes or even the special menu option designed to reduce it worked. Hopefully the redux will have fixed it and I might take another look.

    • Pizzacheeks McFroogleburgher says:

      I managed to sort the stuttering, but both times I’ve tried playing I was met with game stopping bugs. The first time I played none of the story stuff triggered, I was just running around with nothing to do.. The second time my save spawn point was underneath the scenery, thankfully after a few attempts I was able to glitch in to the mine, but this meant I skipped a couple of sections… I have the steam version.. I’ve never owned such a buggy game.. It is Lush tho..