(Capcom's primary storyline)
"They say that when one door closes, another opens. Well, a door closed tonight. And what a long night it was --but not just for me. Mia and I weren't the only victims here. So were the Bakers. It was that...thing, Eveline, who made them that way. But now Eveline's dead. And these guys are here to clean up the mess. I had just come to terms with losing Mia. But now she's back and wants to start over--put all of this behind us. Maybe this is where the next door opens."
Outside of his marriage to Mia Winters, very little is known about Ethan's life prior to the events of the game, although it can be surmised from his appearance that he comes from a white collar background. According to Mia's driver's license, the couple reside in Texas. Ethan received a video message from Mia sometime in 2014, telling him that she would be coming home soon. However, she was never seen or heard from again after that, and for the next 3 years, Ethan believed her to be dead.
Investigating the Guest House
In July 2017, Ethan received an e-mail from Mia, asking him to come find her at the Baker ranch in Dulvey, Louisiana. An incredulous Ethan traveled to the "Dulvey Haunted House" in search of her, unaware that its owners had also gone missing in 2014.
Unable to access the main house, Ethan takes a side path leading to the abandoned guest house, encountering a number of disturbing sights along the way. Once inside, Ethan discovered and watched the "Derelict House Footage" (as seen in the Beginning Hour demo), where he witnessed the Sewer Gators team - cameraman Clancy Jarvis, producer Andre Strickland and anchorman Peter Walken - infiltrate the house for a rehearsal of their next episode, only for Clancy to find Andre's dead body in the basement and get kidnapped by the Baker family.
As the video ended, Ethan traveled through an underground shaft where he discovered Andre's maggot-ridden corpse floating in the water. Eventually, he found Mia asleep in a bare cell and freed her. When he confronted her about the email, however, a bewildered Mia claimed that she did not send it. From there, they both attempt to escape the house, bypassing even more disturbing sights. However, Mia discovers that the escape route she planned to use had been boarded over by the Bakers. Ethan tells a visibly distressed Mia that he would have a look around, discovering a pair of dolls in the other room: one resembling Mia, the other a young girl. Moments later, someone (presumably Jack) bursts through the wall and grabs Mia. Ethan follows them upstairs, only to receive a phone call from a mysterious woman named Zoe, who tells him that he can escape through the attic. However, the door to the attic is locked, and a possessed Mia attacks Ethan with a knife, forcing the latter to defend himself. Mia throws Ethan through a wall, where he picks up an axe and uses it to defeat Mia, seemingly killing her. But as Ethan attempts to escape the house, he is accosted and attacked by a revived Mia, who uses a chainsaw to sever his left hand. Before she is able to finish him off, Mia momentarily regains control and retreats. Following her upstairs, Ethan finds a gun and uses it to shoot her after she attacks him again, only to be knocked out from behind by Jack Baker, who welcomes him to the "family" and drags both him and Mia to the main house.
Escaping the Main House
While unconscious, Zoe appears and staples Ethan's left hand back on, telling him he has "work to do". She also places a codex on his wrist, showing him his health. Sometime later, Ethan awakens in a dining room where he meets the Baker family - Jack, his wife Marguerite, son Lucas, and an unnamed, silent elderly woman all enjoying a feast of human organs. Jack attempts to force-feed it to Ethan (as this was one of several methods the Bakers used to turn their victims into Molded), but he immediately spits it out, causing Marguerite to insult him and storm out of the room. In retaliation, Jack picks up a knife and begins stabbing Ethan, only to be interrupted by the arrival of a policeman. While Jack and Lucas leave to deal with the officer, Ethan escapes his bonds and tries to find a way out of the house. Eventually, Jack returns to the dining room only to find that Ethan is no longer there, and begins hunting for him. Depending on how the game is played, Jack may or may not catch Ethan in the pantry room and cut off the lower part of his leg, subsequently placing a first aid bottle on the other side of the room so he can gleefully watch Ethan squirm and crawl over to the bottle, using it to re-attach his leg. Ethan eventually finds a passageway under the floor and uses it to escape Jack, following it to the laundry room where he is once again contacted by Zoe. As Ethan leaves the laundry room, he sees a police officer pounding on the window at the other end of the hallway, ordering him to come over. A relieved Ethan begs the officer to help him escape the house, but is instead treated as a possible suspect and instructed to meet with him in the garage for an interrogation. Ethan agrees, but asks the officer for his gun, telling him that he needs it to defend himself against the Bakers. Although the officer refuses, he gives Ethan a pocket knife before telling him once more to meet him in the garage. Once there, Jack closes the garage door, trapping them both inside, and executes the policeman from behind with a shovel. Ethan picks up the slain officer's gun and tries to kill Jack, but is only able to stun him temporarily. Finding a pair of car keys on a nearby table, Ethan operates a parked car and runs Jack over multiple times, but this too fails to kill him. Jack rips the roof off of the car and hijacks it, driving it into a pile of loose metal scaffolding in the hopes of impaling Ethan, who survives by ducking his head under it and escaping the car, which then explodes. Although Jack himself collides with one of the protruding metal bars and is badly burnt in the explosion, he immediately recovers and continues to chase Ethan. Eventually, Ethan finds a ladder and attempts to escape, only for Jack to grab Ethan's gun, point it in his mouth, and blow a hole through his own head.
Believing Jack to be dead, Ethan searches the main hall for a way out of the house. Zoe contacts him once more, revealing that she, her family, and Mia have been contaminated by a mysterious pathogen, asking Ethan to retrieve the necessary items to develop a serum that would cure her and Mia and allow them to escape. She tells Ethan to meet her in her trailer outside of the house once all of the materials have been obtained.
While Ethan is searching the second floor of the house, he finds a video of Mia wherein she attempts to apologize for her actions, only to be interrupted, chased, and caught by Marguerite. Not long afterwards, Ethan is ambushed in the bathroom by Jack, forcing him to flee towards the basement, where he encounters large numbers of Molded. Finding the key to the dissection room, Ethan enters and tries to grab the last marble dog head he needs to escape the house. However, Jack gets to it first and brings it with him to the drawing room where he intends to finish Ethan off. Placing the dog head on a hook, Jack waits for Ethan to try and grab it before kicking him to the area below, initiating a vicious chainsaw duel wherein Jack's upper body is completely destroyed, presumably killing him for once and for all. Ethan tells Jack to "stay dead" and uses the dog head to escape the house.
Creating a serum
Escaping the main house, Ethan makes his way over to Zoe's trailer, where he is once again contacted by her. She instructs him to head for the old house, but warns him to stay away from her mother. When Ethan arrives at the house, he encounters and fends off a swarm of vicious mutant insects. He is also briefly reunited with Mia in a crawlspace, but Lucas appears from behind and kidnaps her. When he finds the key he needs to enter the second floor, Marguerite grabs Ethan and throws him down a flight of stairs. The impact of his fall causes the wooden floor beneath him to break, and Ethan plummets into a hole in the ground, leaving him at the mercy of Marguerite and her mutant bugs. Ethan shoots at Marguerite from the hole, eventually weakening her to the point where she stumbles into the pit and dissolves, allowing Ethan to escape. On the second floor, Ethan discovers the mummified corpse of a "D-Series" child, the basis of the serum. However, he is unable to enter the room where the D-Series arm is stored, as it can only be accessed with Marguerite's lantern. Ethan returns to the pit where he fought Marguerite, only to find that she has escaped with the lantern through a hidden tunnel. Ethan follows the tunnel and arrives at an old greenhouse, where he is confronted by a grotesque, mutated Marguerite. He defeats her by destroying the insect hive embedded in her stomach, causing her to calcify and crumble to pieces. Ethan picks up her lantern and uses it to grab the D-Series arm from the second floor of the old house. Back at the trailer, Ethan is contacted by Lucas Baker, who has now captured Zoe as well. He tells Ethan that he can have the D-Series head if he agrees to participate in an "activity" Lucas put together. Before hanging up, Lucas tells Ethan to look in the fridge, where he has placed the Deputy's head along with a note on the back saying, "The pig is waiting for you in the dissection room, bitch".
Ethan proceeded to the dissection room in the Bakers' House, and found the body of the beheaded Deputy with a wooden sign saying "Prove you're a real man and stick your hand down this pig's throat!". Ethan did so, feeling sorry for the deputy, and pulled out the Snake Key. Lucas then announced over an intercom that the Snake Key would help him find the two key cards he needed to join the "party" - one red and one blue. After managing to get his hands on both, Ethan went back outside and used them to enter the "party" - which turned out to be a series of traps set up by Lucas. One such trap involved the subject having to insert a lit candle on a birthday cake to escape the room, only for the subject to be killed by the cake exploding and setting the room on fire (from oil leaking in the room for the subject to obtain a crank and code to solve the "puzzle"). Fortunately, Ethan managed to evade immolation by solving the puzzle without spilling any oil in the room, having watched a previous tape of Clancy Jarvis' failed attempt, learning the code without having to use the crank.
After successfully evading Lucas' traps, Ethan made his way to the Pier Boathouse, where he found Mia and Zoe tied up. As he freed the two women, Zoe asked Ethan for the ingredients to the serum that would cure both of them, warning him that her father and Lucas were nearby. Zoe also told Ethan that after making two serums and using them to cure her and Mia, they would escape through the bayou in a boat parked outside the building. But as Ethan grabbed both serum samples, he is grabbed by a horrifically mutated Jack Baker and forced to fight him.
He manages to defeat Jack again by destroying all of his eyes. Moments later, Zoe arrives and tells Ethan to follow her out of the boathouse. Unfortunately, Jack grabbed him as he headed for the door, and on Zoe's urging, used one of the serum samples to kill Jack once and for all. Ethan then met Mia and Zoe on the pier outside the boathouse, and was forced to choose who to cure with the remaining serum.
Escaping with Mia
If the player chooses to cure Mia, then despite telling Zoe that he can find another way to save her Zoe just orders him to leave with Mia on the boat. Eventually, as the two propel their boat through the bayou, Ethan and Mia stumble upon the wrecked oil tanker where the Baker family found her and Eveline. But soon their boat gets stuck and consumed by mold, as Eveline capsizes it to prevent Ethan and Mia from leaving the Baker family's residence.
Later, Mia wakes up and looks around only to find Ethan lying on the ground, unconscious and being consumed by mold. Ethan is then taken to the oil tanker room by Eveline's mold. Imprisoned in a casing of mold, Ethan has a vision of Jack Baker talking to him about how his family found Eveline and then became infected from her, calling it a "gift". Jack then tells Ethan to stop Eveline for his family. Ethan wakes up to Mia ripping him out of the mold. Mia buys time for Ethan to escape the oil room before getting consumed by some mold, telling him to "kill that little bitch".
Ethan left the ship and ventured out to the Abercrombie Salt Mine in search of Eveline. After fighting off a couple of Molded in and outside of the mine, Ethan found a box containing the E-Necrotoxin, using the Eveline Tissue Samples that Mia had given him in order to craft it. After going through the mines, Ethan found himself back in the Bakers' Guest House. Along the way, however, he suffered flashbacks of the events that occurred inside the old house in the beginning of the game, with Eveline standing in the background. Ethan traversed the old house in search of Eveline, ultimately coming face-to-face with the girl hell-bent on subjugating his mind. However, Ethan pulled out the E-Necrotoxin, frightening Eveline and causing her to flee. Giving chase, Ethan was assaulted by a hallucinatory Mia wielding a chainsaw. Ultimately, however, he managed to corner Eveline again, and injected her with the E-Necrotoxin despite her power trying to force him back. The Necrotoxin injection disrupted Eveline's hallucinatory control, revealing her true form as the wheelchair-bound "grandma" of the Baker family. As the decrepit woman broke down in tears, her body rapidly followed suit, decaying in seconds until she was one with the Mold beneath their feet. For a moment, it seemed as if Ethan had finally put an end to Eveline... but then Eveline's consciousness commandeered all of the Mold in the Baker residence, returning as a gargantuan, eldritch and very enraged abomination bent on Ethan's destruction.
Forced to fight one last time for his life, Ethan fired again and again into Eveline's face, but to no avail. Suddenly, a crate containing a large pistol dropped out of the sky and caused Ethan's codex to respond. Ethan answered the codex to find an unknown person telling him to use the pistol, whose bullets also contained samples of the E-Necrotoxin. Ethan did so and after a few shots, finally calcified and killed Eveline once and for all. A man then dropped down from a helicopter and approached Ethan, removing his helmet and introducing himself as Redfield before helping Ethan onto the helicopter. On the helicopter, Ethan was finally reunited with Mia once more, before leaving the Bakers' residence for good, while Redfield's squad took care of the aftermath.
On the other hand, if Ethan chooses to cure Zoe Baker at the pier, then Zoe would get on the boat with him while Mia just tells them to go. However, when Eveline stops the boat and capsizes it, she calcifies Zoe and kills her as Ethan is knocked unconscious. In addition, when Mia later finds Ethan and frees him from the mold, rather than buying time for him to escape she is instead forced to fight him by Eveline. When Ethan manages to kill her however, Mia calcifies and dies on the spot, again telling him to "kill that little bitch". Later, after defeating Eveline and getting into the rescue helicopter, rather than reuniting with Mia, Ethan would watch a video of Mia on a cell phone, before saying his final goodbyes and throwing the phone off the helicopter as it leaves the Bakers' property and transports him to safety.
Ethan is the main playable character of Resident Evil 7: Biohazard. He begins the game with 12 inventory slots which can be expanded to 16 and 20. After the fight with Mia in the Guest House, Ethan will have the watch for the rest of the game which will display his health. The items Mia has after her section of the game will be transferred to Ethan's item box.
- It was stated by Masachika Kawata that Ethan is not the same person as the protagonist of the KITCHEN and Resident Evil 7 Teaser Demo: Beginning Hour demos.
- Ethan's face throughout the game is usually obscured from the player, the most the player can see is his lower face like his mouth and chin. However his full face can be seen briefly when Ethan has a hallucination of him being thrown through the wall by Mia in the guest house, however the hallucination ends before the player can get close enough to see his features completely.
- Regarding the Infection Report, it's heavily implied that Ethan is also infected by the bacterium, best known as Mold.
- According to the report, the initial infection of a person is recognized by the mold ingesting the nutrients of the victim's body, having as a side effect remarkable regenerative abilities. When Ethan's left hand is impaled by Mia's knife, it heals after a minute. After getting his left hand severed, Zoe simply staples Ethan's hand and he uses it as it has never been severed of its nerves, demonstrating remarkable regenerative abilities.
- Also, if Jack Baker severs Ethan's leg, only with the use of a First Aid Med he could join it to the rest of his body. According to the report, test subjects were submitted to the removal of arms and legs, being able to regrown them in a matter of minutes.
- Before having his hand severed, Ethan depicted scars on his hands when attacked, not healed even by the First Aid Med. After having it stapled and being asleep for unknown time under the Baker's submission, Ethan's hands could be fully restored if his health was also full.
- The report also mentions that the mid-stage of the infection by the Mold, when the bacterium reaches the brain, causes the infected to hear things and see hallucinations, due to be directly connected to the E-Series asset. After hours of his journey, Ethan hears Eveline, an E-Series subject, for the first time while recalling Mia's steps in the Old House, and then hears and sees her after getting the samples of the serum for the first time. Until the end, the visions become more distinctive.
- Another sign of Ethan's infection is the fact he could communicate with Jack Baker, known Mold infected, after his death, in a possible mutual connection with Eveline.
- If Ethan chooses to save Zoe instead of Mia, and for that receiving the bad ending for the game, it's possible to notice, in the helicopter, that Ethan's left arm, previously severed, is completely normal and not even stapled. It could be an oversight, or another example of his remarkable regenerative abilities.
- Unlike most previous Resident Evil protagonists Ethan does not have any real combat training. Despite this, Ethan displays proficiency in guns, as is evidenced when he shoots Jack Baker multiple times during any of his encounters with him. Ethan also appears to have an extremely high if not superhuman tolerance to pain, able to press on after being thrown through entire walls and doors, stabbed and slashed in the hand, arm and shoulder several times as well as having his own hand cut off as if nothing happened. He does however show a degree of pain if one of his limbs get cut off during his battles with the monsters and creatures and will bleed out if he does not retrieve his limb and heals himself via the medicine bottles that the Bakers produce.
- This is due to the fact that he may also be contaminated by the same mold/fungus as the Bakers and can regenerate wounds and lost limbs, as seen when Jack cuts off Ethan's leg with a shovel and then gives Ethan a medicine bottle to allow him to rettach his leg and then taunt him about this ability.