The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is the debut title from The Astronauts, and in case you weren’t sure what to expect from this Polish bunch of misfits, designer Adrian Chmielarz has done the hard work for you, throwing around words like “macabre” and “weird fiction horror”.
Chmielarz – and indeed, a large chunk of the team at The Astronauts – are veterans of Bulletstorm studio People Can Fly. The new project is a bit of a leap away from the shooter genre (People Can Fly has just finished work on Gears of War: Judgment), instead focussing on immersive storytelling and a bit of spooky weirdness.
It’s a game to be played “at night, alone and in headphones,” we’re told, as Adrian explains:
What we care about the most is that the players feel like they’re really there. Immersion is our number one priority. It’s a game about exploration and discovery. We’re not abandoning the gameplay – on the contrary: we’re trying to strip it down to the bone and make sure it’s always meaningful and truly makes the experience better.
A young boy has been kidnapped. You play as a supernaturally-enhanced detective, skilled at visualising scenes of lethal crimes. While, hopefully, the boy is still alive, one of his kidnappers is very dead, a severely mutilated body left in a beautiful mountain area. Your paranormal skill and modern detective tools are working overtime, as you investigate the mystery of the corpses in the valley and the fate of the kidnapped boy.