|Birthdate||September 5, 1973|
|Status||Determined by player|
|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 Mars is the main protagonist and main character of Heavy Rain, and one of the four lead playable characters in it (the other three being Scott Shelby, Norman Jayden and Madison Paige). 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 killed. Heavy Rain, set two years later in 2011, focuses on Ethan during the kidnapping of his second son, Shaun Mars.
Ethan Mars is voiced by and modeled after Pascal Langdale.
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 post the accident, and he is shown to be fully immersed in self-guilt and remorse over Jason's death. In fact, if Jason was Ethan's only son, it is possible that Ethan would've committed suicide (this is evident over how Ethan commits suicide if Shaun also dies). Also, the events of the mall have given Ethan agoraphobia (intensive 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 a phone that has a hangman showing a bunch of underline symbols. These underlines are actually unknown letters; by completing Trials sent from the killer, Ethan will get an amount of letters. This is what shapes the game's central question, "How far are you prepared to go to save your son?" These trials become increasingly difficult and grievesome, 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.
Throughout the GameEdit
After Jason's death, Ethan's life turns into one of misery. His wife at some point separates and begins divorce procedures against him and his second son, Shaun, becomes cold and distant. In the chapter Father and Son, examples of this distance can be seen.
One day, while at The Park, Shaun Mars goes missing and Ethan turns to panic desperation when he can't find him. Soon enough, he reads a letter which was sent to him the day before, with a verse from "The Pied Piper," and a locker ticket inside it; in the locker, Ethan finds a box containing five origami figures, a cell phone, a memory card, and a gun. Ethan determines that each origami figure is a trial of pain and courage; and that each trial will unlock some of the letters on a hangman in the phone. The letters combined will spell out Shaun's location. He hides the box in a motel where he temporarily decides to stay. Ethan assumes that he is the killer, partly because of the origami figure he found in his hand several times, and partly because he blacks out and can only remember something about "drowning bodies." In Norman's chapter Welcome, Norman, Ethan has gone to the police station to report his son Shaun as a missing person. He is interrogated by Carter Blake and Ash about the events that led up to Shaun's disappearance. He will also meet Norman Jayden in the interrogation, depending on whether he took the Triptocaine or decided to go to the restroom; if so, he will also ask Ethan questions and Ethan has the option of lying or answering truthfully. Blake tells Ethan they will continue looking through the night. As he turns to walk away, Ethan quickly asks him if he thinks the Origami Killer could be responsible for his son's disappearance; Blake dismissively tells him Shaun has probably just run off, but when Ethan insists, Blake says they would only have four days to find Shaun alive. In Lexington Station, Ethan finds a box with five origami figures, with the five trials he must complete to save Shaun.
The first trial is The Bear, a trial in which Ethan must drive against traffic for five minutes and reach five miles. Ethan cannot reject this trial, but he can fail it. After he fails or succeed, Ethan will meet and develop a friendship with Madison Paige.
Soon enough, Ethan will do the second trial; The Butterfly. He can accept or decline the trial. Here, he must first crawl through a claustrophobic pipe filled with broken glass. Then he finds a room that is a maze of electrical condensers (it also has a door labelled coward which fails the challenge). With much tactic, courage, and skill, he can finish the maze slightly or heavily wounded. He will end the trial if he takes too much pain. Madison will then tend to his wounds as he opens up the next figure.
The third trial is the hardest in terms of pain, and it is is The Lizard - a trial in which Ethan must cut off the last section of one his fingers. He can accept or decline. Ethan's pinky, if cut off, will always appear cut-off for the rest of the game. If you refuse, the end of Ethan's pinky finger is shot off by a policeman trained on finding him in the Marble Street apartments. Afterwards, in the chapter Fugitive, Madison finds Ethan and helps him escapes from Carter Blake and Norman Jayden. Ethan can be arrested if Madison is not quick enough. If he is arrested, Norman Jayden will have to break him out in Under Arrest. Additionally, Ethan admits that he might, though schizophrenic, be the Origami Killer.
The fourth trial is The Shark, where Ethan must kill another man -- Brad Silver. Before breaking in or killing, Ethan will be given the option to decline the trial. If Ethan survives the QTE where Brad tries to fight back, Brad will beg for mercy and admit that he has two daughters which he would like to see again. Ethan's decision is to kill or not. If Ethan kills, then he will vomit and show visible signs of remorse.
In On the Loose, Ethan is siting alone crying alongside Madison Paige distressed over how he did or did not murder Brad (he will sit alone and have to work his way to his feet if Madison died in The Doc). If Madison is alive, she will attempt to kiss him and if successful, will make love with him. Ethan can refuse to kiss; this will cause Madison to leave. If Ethan makes love, he will discover that she has been taking photos and writing stories about Ethan as a possible killer behind his back. He is furious at her, and can either forgive or reject her. If he rejects her, she will choicelessly walk out. If he forgives her, he will show his sympathy, but he will demand that Madison leave so that he can complete the final trial alone. After Madison leaves (or shortly after Ethan gets up if he is alone), the police will arrive and try to arrest Ethan. If he is arrested for the second time, or if Norman Jayden is dead and this is the first time he is arrested, he will be imprisoned for the rest of the game. If he is arrested for the first time and Norman is still alive, Norman will break him out.
If not under arrest, Ethan will be able to go to the final trial -- The Rat. There is a cup of poison that will kill Ethan in a hour if he drinks it. He can either drink the poison and expect to die in an hour and get the last hour, or leave the room hoping there is another way to win. Ethan has many thoughts about this trial, going for ("I came too far") and against it ("Maybe he could be lying -- I'll die right away"). If Ethan completed under 3 trials, then he won't have enough letters and will feel contempt for himself. If he completed all five, he will be able to go immediately. If he completed 3-4, then he will have to pick which is the correct location (several of his thoughts will give him clues). If he chooses the wrong location, he will fail and blames himself for failing to find Shaun. If he fails, Madison Paige will have an opportunity to tell him the correct address.
Ethan will then appear at The Old Warehouse if he is not arrested and if he got the right address.
- Goes alone: He will save Shaun, kill or spare Scott Shelby, but will be shot by the police right as he exits.
- Goes with Madison: He will save Shaun, get shot by Scott and Madison will fight Scott. If Madison survives long enough, he will shoot Scott to death. If Madison is killed, Ethan walks out with Shaun in safety.
- Goes with Norman: He will save Shaun, and while saving him, Scott will try to shoot him. Norman saves Ethan and fights Scott. Either way, Ethan and Shaun live.
- Goes with Madison and Norman: Ethan saves Shaun whilst Norman fights Scott. After the fight, Madison will have to attempt to get into the warehouse to warn Ethan about the police force; if she fails, then Ethan will be shot to death; if she succeeds, Madison, Ethan and Shaun walk out safely.
Ethan has the most possible endings, with 7, of any character. These are, from worst to best, all his endings. The first three endings are all the result of Ethan killing himself over Shaun's death.
- Helpless - Ethan is imprisoned and accused to be the Origami Killer, and is completely devastated over Shaun's death. Filled with remorse and severely depressed, Ethan hangs himself in his cell.
- 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.
- 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 fades 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. 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).
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.
- Two years before Heavy Rain's release, Ethan's house was depicted as being much smaller.
- "Father And Son"'s loading screen is different from any others that Ethan appears in.
- Unlike Madison Paige, Scott Shelby, and Norman Jayden, Ethan barely fights. The only confrontation he has is with Brad Silver during The Shark.
- Out of the four main characters, Ethan has the least amount 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 where Ethan can die is The Old Warehouse.
- The Old Warehouse is the only death that does not involve Ethan committing suicide; instead, he gets killed 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 in The Old Warehouse, although the only time Ethan confronts Scott in person was in The Old Warehouse.
- Ethan is probably 5' 11".
- 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 Shepperd. These dreams were removed due to the lack of story progression.
- 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 3 characters. The only one of which he cannot be played as is Under Arrest. He is also partly playable in The Old Warehouse if he gets to the warehouse.
- 7 of the epilogues are based around him. He also appears in one of Madison's epilogues, Dead Heroine, which if he is alive he will be seen mourning near her grave. This gives him the largest amount of endings, even though three of them all 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 who played Heavy Rain cried at least once, and 10% of men.
- Unlike Norman and Madison, Ethan is the only playable character who can't be 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. Even though during one of Jayden's chapters, he resists his Triptocaine addiction by sitting in a running shower.
- Ethan only murders two people, both of which he may not murder; this makes him and Madison with the least murders of all four characters.
- Ethan's penis can be fully exposed through an unusual glitch during his shower scene.
- Ethan is given a stainless Taurus PT92 by the Origami Killer to use in The Shark trial.
- The Mall
- Father and Son
- The Shrink
- The Park
- Where's Shaun?
- Welcome, Norman
- Lexington Station
- The Motel
- The Bear
- First Encounter
- The Butterfly
- The Nurse
- The Lizard
- Fugitive (Can be arrested)
- Under Arrest (non-playable; only if arrested in Fugitive)
- The Shark
- On the Loose (Can be arrested either temporarily or permanently)
- The Rat
- The Old Warehouse (Can be killed)
- Epilogue - Ethan's Grave (Dead)
- Epilogue - A New Start
- Epilogue - A New Life
- Epilogue - Innocent
- Epilogue - Helpless (Commits suicide)
- Epilogue - Origami Blues (Commits suicide)
- Epilogue - Tears in the Rain (Commits suicide)
- Epilogue - Dead Heroine (If Ethan survives)
- Brad Silver (if Ethan decides to kill him in The Shark for the sake of saving Shaun Mars).
- Scott Shelby (if Ethan either: goes to the warehouse alone and chooses to shoot him, or: goes to the warehouse with Madison and shoots Scott if Madison survives long enough).
- "Everything I did, I did for love."
- "I'm a father too... But I'm no killer."
- "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 only thinking of writing a fucking book?
- "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."