(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."
— Ethan Winters
Ethan Winters (イーサン・ウィンターズ Īsan Wintāzu ) is an American systems engineer from Los Angeles[notes 1] who was a survivor of the Dulvey incident, a series of homicides committed by the Baker Family under the influence of their adopted daughter, Eveline. Ethan went to the ranch in search of his wife, Mia, who was believed dead in a hurricane three years earlier. During his imprisonment with the Bakers, Ethan discovered the nature of the killings and killed Eveline with the help of a Blue Umbrella special forces team.
Ethan married Mia Winters in 2011. Ethan worked as a system engineer while Mia kept her own job as a special agent for The Connections secretive despite Ethan's own suspicions. During one of Mia's missions in 2014, Ethan received a video message from her informing him that she would be coming home soon - however, she then sent him another message apologizing for lying to him about her job before telling him to "stay away". After this point she was never seen or heard from for the next three years, causing Ethan to believe her to be dead.
Investigating the Guest House
"It's Mia. She's not dead, she's alive. She's back."
— Ethan tells his friend over the phone about Mia's reappearance.
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 travelled to the "Dulvey Haunted House" in search of her, unaware that its owners, the Baker family, had also gone missing in 2014.
Unable to access the main house, Ethan took a side path leading to the abandoned guest house, encountering a number of disturbing sights along the way. Inside the house, he discovered a hidden underground passage leading to a bare cell containing Mia. Quickly freeing her, Ethan confronted Mia about the email - however, she claimed that she did not send it. She then guided Ethan through the basement as they both attempted to escape the house, but ran into a dead end which Mia vehemently believed was the way out. Seeing her obvious distress, Ethan let her rest on a nearby sofa as he looked around for an alternative exit, but while his back was turned, Jack Baker burst through the wall and kidnapped Mia.
Ethan followed through the exit and up the stairs, ending up back at the ground floor and another dead end - but he soon heard a knocking noise coming from back in the basement which he went to investigate. To his surprise, he found Mia once again, now demonic and violent, who threw him back up the stairs and relentlessly attacked him with a knife, at one point piercing straight through his left hand. Ethan managed to disarm Mia, who raved about someone else inside her mind as she bashed her head against a wall and lost consciousness. However, Ethan barely got a chance to recover, as Mia got straight back up and threw him through a wall into another room, where he picked up an axe and defended himself against her advances. After a brief duel, he managed to seemingly strike the killing blow on Mia's neck and made her collapse, but was barely able to consider his actions before a phone down the hall began to ring.
Ethan decided to answer the call, with a mysterious woman on the other end briefly introducing herself as Zoe and telling him to escape through an exit in the attic, but as Ethan went to search the house for a fuse to restore power to the attic stairs he noticed that the body of his wife had disappeared, and upon fixing the power was jumped by Mia who pinned him to the wall with a screwdriver. As Mia approached him with a chainsaw, he only just managed to free himself in time, but not before his left hand was cut off in his attempt at defense. Despite his horrific injury, Ethan pushed through up to the attic and almost made it to the exit, but was foiled by Mia once again as the ladder leading up to it was destroyed. Ethan successfully defeated Mia in combat, but was soon after knocked out from behind by Jack, who welcomed him to the family and dragged both him and Mia to the main house.
Escaping the Main House
"Where am I? What the hell? Who are all you people? Where's Mia?"
— Ethan wakes up bounded at the dinner table.
While unconscious, Zoe procured Ethan's severed hand and stapled it back onto him, additionally placing the Genome Codex on his wrist while telling him that he had "work to do". When Ethan finally awoke, he found himself around a dining table where he met the Baker family - Jack, his wife Marguerite, son Lucas, and an unnamed, silent elderly woman all enjoying a feast of human organs. Jack attempted to force-feed the offal to Ethan, but he immediately spat it out, causing Marguerite to become furious and storm out of the room. In retaliation, Jack picked up a knife and began to cut Ethan's face, only to be interrupted by the arrival of deputy sheriff David Anderson. While Jack and Lucas left to deal with the officer, Ethan escaped his bonds and tried to find a way out of the house - however, Ethan soon ran straight into Jack which forced him to evade through a trapdoor and under the floor. This led him to the laundry room where Zoe contacted him through phone once again, informing him that there may be a way out of the house through the main hall. After Ethan investigated the area some more, he caught the attention of Anderson who pounded on one of the boarded windows. Ethan was initially relieved and begged the officer to help him escape the house, but understandably Anderson instead treated Ethan as a possible suspect and instructed him to meet in the garage for an interrogation. Ethan agreed, but then asked Anderson for his gun, reasoning that he needed it to defend himself against the Bakers. Although Anderson refused, he reluctantly gave Ethan a pocket knife before commanding him to go to the garage.
Once the two finally united, Anderson accosted Ethan for answers, but was swiftly and brutally executed from behind by Jack, who split his head clean in two with a shovel right in front of Ethan. The two remaining men had a well fought duel, with Ethan picking up the dead officer's handgun and Jack eventually commandeering Ethan's car and using it as a weapon. Although Ethan was able to evade being killed by Jack's driving, with the car being damaged enough for it to start burning up, the patriarch did not stay down and continued to relentlessly pursue Ethan before the car violently exploded into flames. This allowed Ethan to make his exit via a ladder up to the rafters, but Jack was able to grab him one last time and, determined to make a point, inserted Ethan's handgun into his mouth and pulled the trigger, blowing his own face off.
Believing Jack to be dead, Ethan made it to the main hall where he was greeted by another phone call from Zoe, who revealed that she was in fact part of the Baker family and suggested to look around the house for keys in order to unlock the front door - which Ethan discovered were actually reliefs in the shape of dog heads. However, on his hunt for the reliefs, he was soon pursued by Jack again, demonstrating that his infection prevents him from dying. Ethan's search led him into the basement where he first encountered the Molded, and eventually arrived in the dissection room where one of the marble dog head reliefs was lying on a shelf. However, Jack grabbed it first and placed it on a hook in the drawing room to act as bait for Ethan, and once the relief was in Ethan's possession, Jack kicked him down into the area below, initiating a vicious close-quarters duel which ended in Ethan completely destroying Jack's entire upper body, killing him as far as Ethan could expect.
Creating a serum
"My family and I...our bodies are contaminated. I can't leave the property unless I get it out. Same goes for Mia. We need the serum. It should clear whatever this stuff is out of the body. As long as you're not too far gone."
— Zoe explains to Ethan that nobody can leave until a serum is created.
After acquiring all the dog heads and escaping the main house, Ethan made it to Zoe's trailer, once again being phoned by her. Impressed with his progress so far, Zoe explained her dire situation to him - her entire family, including herself and Mia, were 'contaminated' and needed some sort of serum to cure themselves. Believing that her mother Margeurite may have hidden some in the Old House, Zoe instructed Ethan to start the search there. While investigating the area, Ethan briefly reunited with Mia on the other side of a chainlink fence and started to question her about what she knew despite her amnesia, but Lucas appeared from behind Mia and kidnapped her. Once Ethan got the Crow Key and headed towards the second floor, Marguerite ambushed him and threw him down a flight of stairs. The impact of his fall caused the wooden floor beneath Ethan to break and send him plummeting down a hole in the ground, leaving him at the mercy of Marguerite and her mutant bugs. Ethan retaliated by shooting at Marguerite from the hole, eventually weakening her to the point where she stumbled and fell into the pit, allowing Ethan to climb back up from the hole.
On the second floor, Ethan discovered the mummified corpse of a "D-Series" child, the basis of the serum. However, he was unable to enter the area where the D-Series arm was stored, as it could only be accessed with Marguerite's lantern. Ethan returned to the pit where he fought Marguerite, only to find that she had escaped with the lantern through a hidden tunnel. Ethan followed the tunnel and arrived at an old greenhouse, where he was confronted by a grotesque, mutated Marguerite, but he defeated her causing her to calcify and crumble to pieces, revealing the lantern inside of her. Ethan picked up her lantern and used it to access and grab the D-Series arm from the old house.
After agreeing to meet Zoe back at her trailer, Ethan was instead contacted by Lucas, who had managed to capture her. He told Ethan that the D-Series head could be earned back if he agreed to participate in an "activity" he put together, and before hanging up, Lucas urged Ethan to look in the fridge which contained Anderson's now decapitated and partiallly mutated head along with a note saying, "The pig is waiting for you in the dissection room, bitch". Ethan backtracked to the dissection room in the basement of the Main House, and found the body of the beheaded Anderson with a sign saying "Prove you're a real man and stick your hand down this pig's throat!". He reluctantly did so, feeling sorry for the deputy, and pulled out the Snake Key which Lucas explained would help him find the two key cards he needed to join the "party" in the barn. After managing to get his hands on both keycards, Ethan was finally able to enter the barn.
Once inside, Ethan sat down in front of a TV and was greeted by Lucas who proved that he had the D-Series head and refused to give it up. As Ethan progressed further into the barn, he realised that it had been rigged full of traps by Lucas, who gloated over various speakers throughout the complex. After successfully evading several Molded assaults, Ethan made his way into a puzzle room which Lucas intended to be impossible to solve - however, he outsmarted Lucas and made him retreat, leaving behind the D-Series head but not before issuing one final threat to Ethan through the monitor system.
Once arriving at the Boathouse and finding Mia and Zoe, Ethan freed the two women and gave the serum ingredients to Zoe to make the final product, intending to use a docked boat as an escape. However, as Ethan grabbed the two serum samples Zoe had created, a heavily mutated Jack burst through the building and grabbed him, forcing a final showdown between the two. Ethan managed to take out the many eyes covering Jack's body, and even though this alone was not enough to keep him down, a quick suggestion from Zoe led Ethan to inject Jack with one of the serums in desperation, causing him to rapidly calcify. With one remaining serum left, Ethan made the difficult choice of curing his own wife Mia over Zoe.
Escaping with Mia
"I'll send help."
— Ethan promises Zoe to send help.
Despite telling Zoe that he would help her, she angrily ordered him to leave with Mia on the boat. As the two propelled their boat through the bayou, Ethan and Mia stumbled upon the wreckage of the tanker Annabelle, but were soon stopped and thrown from the boat by Eveline's mold, capsizing it to prevent Ethan and Mia from leaving the Baker family's residence. Once Mia awoke and started desperately searching for Ethan, she found him lying on the ground unconscious, but he was then quickly taken away by the mold further into the wreckage.
During his imprisonment within the mold, Ethan had a vision where he talked to a calm, sane Jack Baker sitting alongside his daughter Zoe. Jack explained to Ethan that none of the family were truly psychotic killers, but rather Eveline had taken control of their minds and mutated them into monsters, pleading to him to 'free' his family. Mia eventually rescued Ethan from the mold, quickly handing him a tissue sample from Eveline and shutting herself off from him before she was overtaken by the infection once again, telling him to "go kill that little bitch".
Ethan promptly exited the ship and ventured out to the Abercrombie Salt Mine, where he witnessed the arrival of Blue Umbrella forces and eventually came across a lab with the necessary equipment to craft the E-Necrotoxin required to kill Eveline. He then fought his way through the mines and found a passage that led him back inside the Bakers' Guest House, and as he wandered the home he suffered flashbacks of the events that had occurred there previously. Ethan finally confronted Eveline and injected her with the E-Necrotoxin despite her best efforts to force him back, stopping her hallucinations and 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 Ethan's feet. For a moment it seemed as if Ethan had finally put an end to Eveline, but she then 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 unloaded all the weaponry he had into Eveline, but to no avail, being thrown around constantly by her. Suddenly, the Blue Umbrella helicopters dropped him a crate containing the Albert-01 loaded with RAMRODs, urging him to use it via his codex. Ethan did so and after a few shots, finally calcified and killed Eveline once and for all. The Umbrella units then began to drop down and secure the area, with one of the soldiers removing his helmet and introducing himself as Redfield before helping Ethan up. On the helicopter out, Ethan happily reunited with Mia once more before leaving the Baker Estate for good.
End of Zoe
"I told you I'd send help. And I always keep my promises."
— Ethan fulfills his promise.
At some point after his escape, Ethan informed Chris and Blue Umbrella about Zoe. After Joe rescued her and the pair were both recovered by Blue Umbrella, Chris contacted Ethan and let him talk to Zoe, reaffirming to her that he kept his promise to send help.
Unlike most of the other protagonists of the Resident Evil series, Ethan is a completely average, if very headstrong and determined man, willing to go forward with searching for his wife even after encountering a dead body, missing persons posters and various other disturbing sights at the beginning of the game. He also seems to be able to restrain his emotions better than most people, as he does not break down after seemingly killing his wife at the beginning of the game, and is generally unperturbed by many of the things he sees and experiences throughout the game (at least less than most people would be). He also has an extremely high pain tolerance, being able to function after having his hand severed, being stabbed multiple times, and being thrown with great force through walls or onto the ground.
He is also shown to be incredibly optimistic almost to the point of naivety, as he happily went to go find his wife after receiving contact from her.
Ethan is shown to be very respectful and polite towards his allies. He also gains a sarcastic attitude towards his situation, consistently making snarky quips when encountering an enemy.
- Excerpt from Biohazard 7 KAITAISHINSHO, page 007:ロサンゼルス在住のシステムエンジニア。(A system engineer living in Los Angeles.)
- kaitaishinsho, p.007.