In an open-world game where exploration is a major aspect of gameplay, the importance of the game’s various audio elements cannot be overstated. In such a game, the music needs to be carefully and consciously crafted to enhance the environment created by the visual aspects of the game, while the sound effects must be realistic but not distracting. The Vanishing of Ethan Carter delivers all this and more, with a high standard of voice acting performances and an atmospheric soundtrack.
The driving force throughout The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is the player’s immersion in the story as it unfolds. To progress through the game, the player must piece together a series of mysterious events through clues and puzzle solving. The motivation to keep playing is greatly assisted by the high quality of the voice acting, which lends believability and dimension to the characters. Most of the voice actors are relatively low profile, such as Jake Amigo as the titular character and Marty Allen as supernatural detective Paul Prospero, both of whom deliver emotive and sincere performances. The cast also includes Hollywood actress Ashley Laurence as Missy Carter and voice acting veteran Michael Sinterniklaas as Dale Carter. Sinterniklaas has voiced many characters throughout his career, most notably that of Leonardo in the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles TV series. In Ethan Carter, he lives up to his legendary status with a strong performance supported solidly by Laurence.
The music is stirring, eerie and often filled with tension, setting the mood for keeping the player in suspense and on edge throughout the game. Mikolai Stroinski is the composer responsible for the soundtrack, and his compositions do an excellent job at enhancing the game in terms of both atmosphere and enjoyability. This music, together with the impressive voice performances and sound effects of the game, are an essential part of what makes The Vanishing of Ethan Carter so memorable and so haunting.