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.