While the mystery buried within The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is certainly intriguing, from our perspective, it's the journey of its developer that is most fascinating. First released in 2014 on the PC, The Vanishing of Ethan Carter has undergone several surgeries on its way to this new release on Xbox One. In porting the game to PS4 years ago, its developer, Warsaw-based The Astronauts, completely overhauled the game by porting it from Unreal Engine 3 to Unreal 4.
In its updated state, the team worked hard to translate its gorgeous but static global illumination and photogrammetry-based assets and the results speak for themselves. Ethan Carter retains its stylizsd, pseudo-realistic appearance while introducing new Unreal 4 specific features to the mix. We were impressed with the revised version of the game back in 2015 and in 2018, it's surprising just how beautifully it holds up. With forests and structures stretching out as far as the eye can see, Ethan Carter remains as gorgeous as ever.
On Xbox One, the game offers a handful of new features designed to welcome new players to its world. Further refined visuals are combined with an impressive range of support for Xbox One X, along with a new free-roam mode. The Astronauts' support for the 4K console is impressive, offering a slew of options that we don't often see on consoles. Pop into the options menu and you're offered the choice between three resolutions, the ability to cap the frame-rate and the option to adjust the field of view. In comparison, on the regular Xbox One, you have the option to modify the FOV or cap the frame-rate but the resolution remains fixed at 1080p on the base system - still an impressive achievement considering that many other UE4 games on Xbox One opt for resolutions well below the full HD standard.