The Vanishing of Ethan Carter Redux appears on Steam

Vanishing of Ethan Carter - Pixel Boost - 20

As a thoughtful supernatural adventure created by the founders of the studio that gave the gaming world "dicktits," The Vanishing of Ethan Carter was something of a surprise. And now, a year after its launch, it's time for another surprise: It's been completely rebuilt in Unreal Engine 4 and re-released as The Vanishing of Ethan Carter Redux.

The updated version came, as far as I can tell, entirely without fanfare. The Ethan Carter Steam page simply notes that anyone who buys the game will get both the original and the Redux versions, and provides a link to The Astronauts blog, which explains the situation in greater detail.

The two games are identical in terms of story, and the "Redux" moniker isn't even entirely official, but a number of improvements have been made. The save system has been modified to save the world state at any point, rather than only areas that have been fully solved, and transitioning between areas will happen almost seamlessly. The Redux version also deals with complaints about excessive backtracking, although for fear of dropping spoilers the post doesn't explain how, and equally cryptically, a section of the game that some players apparently found "too scary and/or too exhausting" has been tweaked to ensure it "flows better."

A number of visual enhancements have been made as well. The studio said most of them are too small to really notice, but the new version now properly supports multiple monitors and non-standard resolutions, and it also features a new option called "Resolution Scale," which can be adjusted based on the capabilities of your PC.

"The game will render internally at twice the current resolution and nicely scale down the image to display it at the current resolution," The Astronauts co-founder Adrian Chmielarz explained. "Such technique produces an image of higher quality than most anti-aliasing solutions. Or, as our graphics programmer insists, 'As an alternative to anti-aliasing, such technique produces the extra pixels to help reduce jagged edges.'"

There is one downside: The original, Unreal Engine 3-powered release of the game plays nicely with low-end rigs, but the Redux edition is more demanding. If you're not running a 64-bit version of Windows and at least 6GB of RAM, you're going to want to stick with the old one.

The Vanishing of Ethan Carter Redux is a free update for anyone who already owns the game. It's also on sale, for the next couple of days, for $12/£9.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.