Ethan Mars
Ethan Mars 2
Debut Prologue
Gender Male
Age 36 (Prologue & The Mall)
38 (following chapters)
Birthdate September 5, 1973
Status Determinant
Hair color Brown
Eye color Blue
Occupation Architect
Model Pascal Langdale
Voice Pascal Langdale (English)

You are the best thing that's ever happened to me in my life. I want you to know that whatever happens, I love you more than anything in the world.
—Ethan to his son, Shaun

Ethan Mars is one of the main protagonists and four playable characters (the other three being Scott Shelby, Norman Jayden, and Madison Paige) in Heavy Rain, and the central character of the game overall. Up until 2009, Ethan lived an idyllic and happy life as a successful architect alongside his loving wife Grace Mars and his two sons, Jason and Shaun Mars. However, Ethan's life took the first of two tragic turns when his son Jason was hit by a car and killed. Heavy Rain, set two years later in 2011, focuses on Ethan during the kidnapping of his second son, Shaun.

Ethan Mars is voiced by and modeled after Pascal Langdale.


Leading Up to Events of Heavy RainEdit

The main narrative of Heavy Rain picks up two years after Jason's death in "The Mall." Ethan was in a coma for six months after the accident, and he is shown to be fully immersed in self-guilt and remorse over Jason's death. In fact, if Jason had been Ethan's only son, it is possible that Ethan would've committed suicide (as is evident when Ethan commits suicide if Shaun also dies). Also, the events of the mall have given Ethan agoraphobia (intense fear of crowds) and blackouts where he loses consciousness.

It is Shaun Mars's disappearance that causes Ethan's life to take a darker turn, and causes him to be sent into more worry. Fortunately, the kidnapper of Shaun -- the Origami Killer -- has not killed Shaun and is holding him captive. He is given Ethan a phone that has a hangman with various blank lines. These underlines are actually unknown letters; by completing Trials sent from the killer, Ethan will get a set number of letters. This is what shapes the game's central question, "How far are you prepared to go to save someone you love?" These trials become increasingly difficult and morally taxing, and Ethan logically reasons against all five of them in his thoughts.

Start of GameEdit

A normal day of Ethan's life is shown in "Prologue." Then, in "The Mall," he and his family go shopping at a very crowded mall. When Grace and Shaun go into a shoe store, Jason runs off to a clown -- when Ethan finds him, the clown sells him a balloon, but before Ethan can pay the $2 for it, Jason runs off. Wasting a considerable amount of time paying the clown, Ethan runs off incredibly worried about Jason. He and Jason eventually meet on opposite sides of the street; however, Jason runs off to Ethan without noticing the car coming up the street. Ethan rushes towards Jason and tries to push him out of the way; however, Ethan is too late, and Jason is seemingly hit by the car at full impact, whilst Ethan is also hit though unseen where, and is plunged into a 6-month coma.

Chapter AppearancesEdit


Ethan has the most possible endings, with 7, of any character. These are, from worst to best, all his endings.

  • Helpless - Ethan is imprisoned after he is accused of being the Origami Killer, and is completely devastated over Shaun's death. Filled with remorse and severely depressed, Ethan hangs himself in his cell. In his cell, there are dozens of origami figures; it is possible that he went mad with grief after losing Shaun and made the origami figures himself.
  • Origami Blues - Ethan sits alone in his motel room, with neither Madison or Shaun at his side. Filled with grief over Shaun's death, he shoots himself in the forehead with the pistol from the shoebox. As in "Helpless," there are dozens of origami figures in his room.
  • Tears in the Rain - Ethan and Madison visit Shaun's grave. Madison begs Ethan to move on and start a new family with her and he asks her for a moment to say goodbye. Madison complies and goes off to wait in the car, but turns around just in time to see Ethan draw a pistol out of his pocket and shoot himself in the head. Unable to stop him, Madison cries hysterically over his body as the scene zooms out.
  • Ethan's Grave - Shaun and Grace mourn over Ethan's grave. If Scott and/or Madison are alive, they'll be seen separately in the background, quietly observing them.
  • Innocent - Ethan is released from prison after his name is cleared. Shaun and Grace greet him at the police station and it is implied that Ethan and Grace will try to re-establish their relationship.
  • A New Start - Ethan and Shaun move into a new apartment together and both look genuinely happy for the first time in years.
  • A New Life - Ethan, Shaun and Madison move into their new apartment. It is implied that Madison and Ethan are married/dating. Madison tells Ethan that, with time, they'll learn to forget the horrible things that happened like they were just nightmares and that they've earned the right to be happy.

It should be noted that Ethan will always commit suicide if Shaun dies.


Main Article: Trials

During the game, Ethan must partake in five trials to obtain groups of letters of an address that will ultimately lead him to his son's location.

  • The Bear - Drive against traffic on the highway for five miles within five minutes.
  • The Butterfly - Crawl through a tunnel filled with broken glass, then go through a maze of electrical condensers.
  • The Lizard - Cut the last section of one of his fingers off in five minutes.
  • The Shark - Kill a man (who in Ethan's case, is Brad Silver).
  • The Rat - Drink a bottle of poison that will kill him in 60 minutes/one hour (the poison doesn't really kill him and is more a test of will from the Origami Killer to see if he is capable of making the sacrifice of himself to save Shaun).

People KilledEdit

  • Brad Silver (if he chooses, after avoiding Brad long enough for him to run out of ammo)
  • Scott Shelby (if he makes it to the old warehouse and Norman is not present; he must choose to kill Scott if he makes it to the warehouse alone)
  • Himself (if Shaun dies)


Ethan can develop an intimate relationship with Madison Paige, and the player later has the option of consummating their relationship. If (forgiven) Madison and Ethan survive and Shaun is saved, Ethan will be married to Madison in the "A New Life" ending and purchase a home, the three of them living happily ever after.


  • Ethan is similar to Lucas Kane from Indigo Prophecy/Fahrenheit: they both are survivors, have extraordinary experiences, and found an important woman in their life to love. (Madison Paige is optional, but Carla Valenti is fated.) In the game’s best ending, it is somewhat implied that Ethan knows Lucas.
    • Ethan also shares similarities with Jodie Holmes, the protagonist of Beyond: Two Souls. Both Ethan and Jodie attempt to or actually do commit suicide by shooting themselves, both go on the run, and both have secrets somewhat connected to their family that are revealed at the end of their games. (Jodie finds out that the entity linked to her since childhood, Aiden, is her twin brother in the chapter "Black Sun", while Ethan, should he make it to the warehouse alone, finds out that Scott Shelby witnessed Jason's death and Ethan's attempt to save him.)
  • Two years before the release of Heavy Rain, Ethan's house was depicted as being much smaller.
  • The loading screen for "Father and Son" is different from any others that Ethan appears in.
  • Ethan, being a family man, is not a trained fighter and gets involved in fewer fights than Madison Paige, Scott Shelby and Norman Jayden.
  • Out of the four main characters, Ethan has the lowest number of deaths in the game, although he has the highest number of epilogues ("Helpless," "Origami Blues," and "Tears in the Rain") in which he dies. The only chapter in which Ethan can die is "The Old Warehouse."
  • "The Old Warehouse" is the only death that does not involve Ethan committing suicide; instead, he gets shot by the police if he goes alone or if Madison fails to warn him when all three characters go. On a related note, there is an ambiguity error with how the police do not arrive if it is just Ethan + Madison, Ethan + Norman, or Madison + Norman.
  • He is one of only two main characters (the other being Scott) who cannot die before "The Old Warehouse." However, unlike Scott, he can end up skipping one chapter: "The Rat" (if he is imprisoned). This leaves Scott Shelby as the only main character who cannot skip a chapter (not counting "Goodbye Lauren").
  • Ethan crosses paths with Norman Jayden four times, Madison Paige numerous times, and Scott Shelby twice: once in "The Mall" (which is revealed in "The Old Warehouse") and once in "The Old Warehouse," although the latter chapter is the only time Ethan confronts Scott in person.
  • Ethan is 5' 10" (1.78 m) tall and weighs 164 lbs (74 kg).
  • The only chapter where Ethan appears as a non-playable character is "Under Arrest."
  • During the early stages of Heavy Rain, Ethan's blackouts were originally going to involve dreams, including him swimming underwater, trying to save Shaun, and seeing John Sheppard. These dreams were removed due to the lack of story progression.
    • Ethan’s blackouts were also going to have been caused by a psychic link formed between himself and Scott due to Scott having been present during the accident that killed Jason and put Ethan in a coma. This psychic link allowed Ethan to access Scott's mind whenever Scott killed a child; the blackouts were actually representative of Scott's memories. This was later taken out of the game due to being a paranormal element, which would have been an issue as director David Cage wanted it to remain centered in reality.
  • The only scenes from Chapter 1 where Ethan does not appear are "Sleazy Place," "Crime Scene," and "Hassan's Shop."
  • Ethan is the only main character to be playable in another character's chapter. He is playable during Norman's chapter, "Welcome, Norman," and Madison's chapter, "First Encounter," "The Nurse," and "Fugitive."
    • Scott is the only main character to not have Ethan either as playable or cameo.
  • Ethan was voted #11 on Game Informer's "30 Characters Who Defined A Decade."
  • Most of Ethan's deaths involve him getting shot; however, the only one where Ethan dies without being shot is "Helpless," where he hangs himself with a rope.
  • Even though Ethan suspects himself of being a schizophrenic, the symptoms he describes are actually more typical of Disassociative Identity Disorder -- often wrongly associated with schizophrenia.
  • He appears in 21 chapters, more than the other three characters. The only one in which he cannot be played is "Under Arrest." He is also partly playable in "The Old Warehouse" if he gets to the warehouse.
  • Seven of the epilogues are based around him. He also appears in one of Madison's epilogues, "Dead Heroine," in which he will be seen mourning near her grave if he is alive. This gives him the largest number of endings, even though three of them revolve around him committing suicide.
  • It is often believed that Ethan's storyline is the saddest, most depressing, and the most likely to induce crying. Some surveys have shown that 35% of women and 10% of men who played Heavy Rain cried at least once.
  • Ethan is the only playable character who cannot be (directly) killed by Scott Shelby.
  • Ethan shares his first name with a character from another game who loses a finger throughout the course of his game: Ethan Thomas from Condemned: Criminal Origins.
  • Ethan and Madison are the only playable characters who can take a shower in the game (though Norman Jayden, during one of his chapters, can resist his Triptocaine addiction by sitting in a running shower).
  • Ethan only murders two people, neither of whom he is required to kill. This makes him tied with Madison as the least murderous of all four characters.
  • Ethan's penis can be fully exposed through an unusual glitch during his shower scene.
  • Ethan is given a stainless steel Taurus PT92 by the Origami Killer to use in The Shark Trial.


  • "I'm nowhere and I'm out of time. Damn fucking shitty letters from this fucking, fucking address!!"
  • "Everything I did, I did for love."
  • "SHAAAUUN!!!"
  • (Choosing not to kill the dealer.) "I'm a father too... But I'm no killer."
  • (Choosing to kill the dealer.) "I'm a father too... But I have no choice."
  • "Where are you Shaun?"
  • "I gotta get out of here, I gotta save my son."
  • "I don't know what to say."
  • "I thought I meant something to you."
  • "You're a pretty good nurse for a fucking journalist!"
  • "You lied to me, Madison! All this time you fucking lied to me! I thought you wanted to help me, but you were only thinking of writing a fucking book?"
  • "You had a right to be angry, I wasn't nice to you either."
  • "To the last Origami figure, the last letters then I know where Shaun is."
  • "I'll find you Shaun, I'll figure out a way, and I'll come and get you."
  • "No one's gonna stop me from saving my son."
  • "All those murders, just to find a father capable of saving his son?"
  • "You got what you wanted. I finished your trials, now let us go."
  • "Shaun! Shaun, can you hear me? Daddy's here. I'm gonna get you out of there."
  • "I finished your damn trials, now give me back my son."
  • "Cut off a finger?! No way!"
  • "I kidnapped my son. But I can't remember what happened."
  • "You're mad! You're completely FUCKING MAD!"
  • "Jason, NOOOO!!"