The Astronauts and Ethan Carter steer away from 'mammoth-sized' games

Former People Can Fly devs not interested in AAA games

The Astronauts are working on an eerie, macabre, non-combat game called The Vanishing of Ethan Carter, and while we're still not sure exactly what it is, one thing is certain – it's not AAA. After founding People Can Fly, working on Bulletstorm and Gears of War, and leaving to start an indie studio, designer Adrian Chmielarz says AAA games have lost their appeal.

"We're no longer excited by mammoth-sized games," Chmielarz tells Games Industry International. "We're still very interested in high quality, but now and in the future we want to focus on smaller projects."

The Vanishing of Ethan Carter will involve death and murder, but won't feature any shooting. It's a game of discovery, similar to Dear Esther, but with more corpses, as Chmielarz describes. Horror is thriving on the indie scene, he says, and he hopes Ethan Carter shows that video games can offer a broader range of experiences. But if no one understands this approach and the game bombs, The Astronauts may need to come back to Earth.

"If we don't slip, we'll have just enough money for this first project, and then it's sink or float," Chmielarz says. "Kickstarter was tempting, sure, whether we like it or not it's a great marketing tool and gives your project that extra visibility boost. But we think that Kickstarter should only be used by those studios for which there's just no other way without losing their freedom. We're just old-fashioned this way."

The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is due out on PC this year.