People Can Fly vets announce horror The Vanishing of Ethan Carter

By Alice O'Connor, Feb 06, 2013 4:15pm PST

When your last three games are Painkiller, Bulletstorm and Gears of War: Judgment, surely another crazy gory murderfest will follow? Not for The Astronauts. The small studio set up last year by People Can Fly founder Adrian Chmielarz and two fellow veterans today announced its first game, The Vanishing of Ethan Carter, a "weird fiction horror" game for PC meant "to be played at night, alone, and in headphones."

The Unreal Engine 3-powered game casts you as a detective with paranormal detecting powers, who happens across a series of brutal murders while tracking a kidnapped boy in the mountains. Something spooky is afoot, it seems. The announcement cites "the weird fiction stories and other tales of macabre of the early 20th century" as influences.

"What we care about the most is that the players feel like they're really there. Immersion is our number one priority," said Chmielarz, who's designer on this. "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."

Chmielarz and fellow People Can Fly founding members Andrzej Poznanski and Michal Kosieradzki left the studio after Epic bought it in August 2012. A note in the announcement reveals a little more of their motivations:

There are lots of great things about the big world of AAA games, but there's even more appeal to us in making games that feel and are personal, and where the only censors are the creators and the public. We want to make games which we are 100% responsible for. By starting The Astronauts we went back to the way we were ten years ago, when we were making Painkiller and were doing it completely our way. The game that we're making right now could not be more different, but the studio spirit seems to be exactly the same.

The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is coming to PC this year.

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