Earlier in the year it was revealed that The Astronauts would be rereleasing its popular first-person adventure title, The Vanishing of Ethan Carter, now integrated with Epic Games’ Unreal Engine 4. The new version hit PlayStation 4 a few months ago but the PC edition, titled The Vanishing of Ethan Carter Redux, arrived this past weekend. Support for the Oculus Rift virtual reality (VR) head-mounted display (HMD) had been promised for this new release and was indeed included at launch, but a more recent patch has now removed it.
Along with a host of fixes, the latest update disables the VR support once more after those with the Oculus Rift’s second development kit (DK2) had a chance to test it out. Fans may well be disappointed by this move but, writing on an official blog, The Astronauts reasoned that VR’s inclusion in this launch was simply a mistake. While official support is still in the works, the team noted that the videogame would have to ‘undergo a serious internal remake’ to bring it to a ‘proper VR framerate’. Oculus Rift creator Oculus VR notes that 90fps should be the bare minimum for VR titles.
“Third, any VR developer worth their salt will tell you that making a VR version is not as simple as clicking “enable VR” button,” the developer explained. “Even when a game technically runs flawlessly, with no visual bugs and with silky smooth framerate, VR is also about proper control systems and avoiding non-VR friendly solutions that all “normal” games feature without a second thought.”
In fact, the VR support will apparently be arriving as an entirely new release. “There will be a separate game or a DLC (have no [sic] decided yet but we will make sure the current owners are happy) called The Vanishing of Ethan Carter VR, but the reason to disable VR now was not because we want you to pay up first.”
Summing up, the team noted that VR support wouldn’t take as long to implement as it took to develop The Vanishing of Ethan Carter Redux. For now, it’s estimating a Q1 2016 release date, which means fans may well get to play it with the consumer version of the Oculus Rift, due to launch in the same window. “This will be Ethan you have not seen before,” The Astronauts concluded. “Our goal is the make Ethan the ultimate VR experience, one that proves that VR is no longer just something with a potential, but, well, a reality.”
The developer is yet to confirm if the title could also support PlayStation VR on its PlayStation 4 version or the HTC Vive on PC. VRFocus will continue to follow The Vanishing of Ethan Carter closely, reporting back with the latest updates on it.