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Resident Evil 7 Why is the character of Ethan so mysterious?

RedfieldFan

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First of all, I'm not a fan of the 1st person gameplay in RE7. If the remakes prove anything it's that RE games can still be scary with over the shoulder camera. But that's not the point of this post at all.

My question is who is Ethan Winters? After playing the game, I still don't know.
We never see his face. Not in cutscenes, pictures, promotional material or anywhere else.
We also learn next to nothing about him during the game. In the end, it makes it harder for the player to actually care about the character, which is a shame in there kinds of games.
All in all, Ethan comes of as not very memorable compared to other one-game-characters like Billy, Sheva etc.

My question is: Why was Ethan purposely made so mysterious? Does anyone know?

I understand why they would choose to use a brand new character as the protagonist (although I would have preferred a returning character). A new character makes it easier for people new to the series to get into the story.

Now rumor has it that Ethan will return as a main character in RE8. I just hope that we'll get some character development through dialogue and cutscenes and get to see his face.

I'm still crossing my fingers that RE8 will be in 3rd person but I doubt it. If it's in 1st person, hopefully the RE engine will be able to utilize reflective surfaces like mirrors in-game.
 

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First of all, I'm not a fan of the 1st person gameplay in RE7. If the remakes prove anything it's that RE games can still be scary with over the shoulder camera. But that's not the point of this post at all.

My question is who is Ethan Winters? After playing the game, I still don't know.
We never see his face. Not in cutscenes, pictures, promotional material or anywhere else.
We also learn next to nothing about him during the game. In the end, it makes it harder for the player to actually care about the character, which is a shame in there kinds of games.
All in all, Ethan comes of as not very memorable compared to other one-game-characters like Billy, Sheva etc.

My question is: Why was Ethan purposely made so mysterious? Does anyone know?

I understand why they would choose to use a brand new character as the protagonist (although I would have preferred a returning character). A new character makes it easier for people new to the series to get into the story.

Now rumor has it that Ethan will return as a main character in RE8. I just hope that we'll get some character development through dialogue and cutscenes and get to see his face.

I'm still crossing my fingers that RE8 will be in 3rd person but I doubt it. If it's in 1st person, hopefully the RE engine will be able to utilize reflective surfaces like mirrors in-game.
Because ethan is essentially you, the player, capcom wanted to immers the player completely into the game, that s why they also decided to use first person and give little back story to Ethan, because it's you in the game, you are seeing the game whit your own eyes... That's the case whit many first person game, like call of duty battlefield outlast fear ecc, where character are given zero to none personality or story... You are not playing whit Ethan you essentially are playing as ethan, you are Ethan
 

RedfieldFan

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Because ethan is essentially you, the player, capcom wanted to immers the player completely into the game, that s why they also decided to use first person and give little back story to Ethan, because it's you in the game, you are seeing the game whit your own eyes... That's the case whit many first person game, like call of duty battlefield outlast fear ecc, where character are given zero to none personality or story... You are not playing whit Ethan you essentially are playing as ethan, you are Ethan

Something like was already done in re 1 actually
Well that makes sense... in theory...
I get the idea but it just doesn't work for me. I just find it a bit frustrating. I usually don't play FPSs so I didn't know it was common.

I actually thought one of the main reasons they went with 1st person was because they wanted to make use of VR.

Anyway, now that Ethan is to be a main character again (at least according to rumors) I just hope that they'll flesh him out more.
 

Albertwesker959

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Well that makes sense... in theory...
I get the idea but it just doesn't work for me. I just find it a bit frustrating. I usually don't play FPSs so I didn't know it was common.

I actually thought one of the main reasons they went with 1st person was because they wanted to make use of VR.

Anyway, now that Ethan is to be a main character again (at least according to rumors) I just hope that they'll flesh him out more.
I think they went first person due to the popularity of game like alien isolation and outlast, and especially Because of how well received was the PT demo
And after re 6 the series needed a fresh air, anx personally i think first person also give a more horror claustrophobic direction to the game, and you really fell immersed into the game, you really feel the enemy and situation on your skin , something the third person can't do

The game was actually played in vr by a minority of player
I remember that only 1 milion of people played yhe game in vr, the total game count on ps4 was 8 milion, but I'm not sure so take this number carefully
 

RedfieldFan

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I think they went first person due to the popularity of game like alien isolation and outlast, and especially Because of how well received was the PT demo
And after re 6 the series needed a fresh air, anx personally i think first person also give a more horror claustrophobic direction to the game, and you really fell immersed into the game, you really feel the enemy and situation on your skin , something the third person can't do

The game was actually played in vr by a minority of player
I remember that only 1 milion of people played yhe game in vr, the total game count on ps4 was 8 milion, but I'm not sure so take this number carefully
Well, all people are different. I prefer 3rd person and developed characters but I love that they're willing to try new things. It keeps the formula fresh.
 

Albertwesker959

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Well, all people are different. I prefer 3rd person and developed characters but I love that they're willing to try new things. It keeps the formula fresh.
Yeah, i like third person too, I love that they used it for remake, but I'm also glad and excited they will most likely use first person for re 8 and 9, have some sort of first person trilogy... If you think about it Re game can be summed in different categories in a sense, i don't know how to call it, maybe different series or saga? the static camera series that have 1 2 3 code veronica... the outbreak series that have outbreak 1 and 2... The origins series whith re 0 and 1 remake... the chronicles series whit umbrella chronicles and darkside chronicles... the action horror series whith re 4 5 and 6... The revelations series whit revelations 1 and 2, cgi movie series whith degeneration, damnation and vendetta, the online game series whith re operation raccon city, umbrella corps and resident evil resistance... the remake series whit 2 and 3 remake, the first person series whith re 7 and probably 8 and 9
I love the fact that resident evil have always been different, some game are connected and similar both on story and gameplay, forming this sort of category, but in the end they are all part of the same videogame series, despite having different camera angle, gameplay, character ecc and the saga always evolve
This is the only way to not make the series die, if the series always stay the same it will inevitably destroy itself, that s why it always need to change and try new things, just like god of war, final fantasy, metal gear, yakuza ecc did


Who knows maybe they will go whit open world whit re 10, 11 and 12 changing the series even further

I really like how every
 

RedfieldFan

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Yeah, i like third person too, I love that they used it for remake, but I'm also glad and excited they will most likely use first person for re 8 and 9, have some sort of first person trilogy... If you think about it Re game can be summed in different categories in a sense, i don't know how to call it, maybe different series or saga? the static camera series that have 1 2 3 code veronica... the outbreak series that have outbreak 1 and 2... The origins series whith re 0 and 1 remake... the chronicles series whit umbrella chronicles and darkside chronicles... the action horror series whith re 4 5 and 6... The revelations series whit revelations 1 and 2, cgi movie series whith degeneration, damnation and vendetta, the online game series whith re operation raccon city, umbrella corps and resident evil resistance... the remake series whit 2 and 3 remake, the first person series whith re 7 and probably 8 and 9
I love the fact that resident evil have always been different, some game are connected and similar both on story and gameplay, forming this sort of category, but in the end they are all part of the same videogame series, despite having different camera angle, gameplay, character ecc and the saga always evolve
This is the only way to not make the series die, if the series always stay the same it will inevitably destroy itself, that s why it always need to change and try new things, just like god of war, final fantasy, metal gear, yakuza ecc did


Who knows maybe they will go whit open world whit re 10, 11 and 12 changing the series even further

I really like how every
Change is good but sometimes things change too much. If that happens the developers might as well make an entirely new game series which is exactly what happen when a RE4 draft was turned into Devil May Cry.

So far most RE games that completely changed mechanics have been spinoffs like Umbrella Corps, Survivor, Outbreak etc. I think it's important to keep at least some franchise resemblance in the core titles. (Ofcause RE4 also changed the gameplay drastically.)

RE7 is kinda like a spinoff. The gameplay, plot and characters had almost nothing to do with anything from previous main titles. The only big tie to the overall RE lore comes from Chris (who became almost unrecognizable with his bad new redesign) and Blue Umbrella.
The story of RE4 many of the same problems but at least it had Leon, Ada and Wesker to tie it to the other games.

RE7 isn't a bad game by any means (it's a great game in itself imo) but one could argue that it wasn't a ''real'' RE game.
Hopefully RE8 will be tied more closely with the other RE titles while still continuing RE7's story.

Imo RE2make really perfected the new gameplay formula by combining elements from RE7 with gameplay from RE4-6 and classic RE survival horror. That's why I think it's a shame they apparently won't continue to use it in RE8. But maybe we get lucky and get a Revelation 3 or even better a Code Veronica remake in the future.
 

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Change is good but sometimes things change too much. If that happens the developers might as well make an entirely new game series which is exactly what happen when a RE4 draft was turned into Devil May Cry.

So far most RE games that completely changed mechanics have been spinoffs like Umbrella Corps, Survivor, Outbreak etc. I think it's important to keep at least some franchise resemblance in the core titles. (Ofcause RE4 also changed the gameplay drastically.)

RE7 is kinda like a spinoff. The gameplay, plot and characters had almost nothing to do with anything from previous main titles. The only big tie to the overall RE lore comes from Chris (who became almost unrecognizable with his bad new redesign) and Blue Umbrella.
The story of RE4 many of the same problems but at least it had Leon, Ada and Wesker to tie it to the other games.

RE7 isn't a bad game by any means (it's a great game in itself imo) but one could argue that it wasn't a ''real'' RE game.
Hopefully RE8 will be tied more closely with the other RE titles while still continuing RE7's story.

Imo RE2make really perfected the new gameplay formula by combining elements from RE7 with gameplay from RE4-6 and classic RE survival horror. That's why I think it's a shame they apparently won't continue to use it in RE8. But maybe we get lucky and get a Revelation 3 or even better a Code Veronica remake in the future.
Yeah but besides ada leon and wesker, re 4 story isn't that much connected to the other game, same goes whit re 2, re 2 it's just a game set in the re universe if you think about it, it have actually zero to no connection whit re 1, leon is a new character in the game and have nothing to do whit re 1 character and story, claire is the same only that she is Chris sisters, but that aspect isn't actually that developed. ..

For example Chris and jill in re 1, they are just two stars offices called Chris and Jill, that's all, Barry and wesker have more Backstory than them in re 1, as well as Sherry, ada and irons, they have more Backstory than leon and Claire in re 2...
Leon, Claire, Chris and jill were just like Ethan when they first made they re debut

So re 7 isn't actually the first game that have new character and story connected whit little detail, and actually to be fair umbrella and chirs aren't the only connection to the series, we also have wesker and HCF, the organization, o Brian book, the outbreak reporter and other little detail...

Not because I want to defend re 7 but we must be fair, re 7 wasn't the only game where this think you mentioned happened, and re 7 gameplay is actually more connected to the previous re game of than any other re game after code veronica, you have puzzle, backtracking, limited ammo around , limited movements, the box, typewriter and ink ribbon on madhouse difficulty, inventory management, you are in a single infested house whit an immortal stalking enemies ecc

Also probably nobody remember that re 1 should have been in first person but the ps1 hardware limitation made shinji mikami change his mind
 
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RedfieldFan

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Yeah but besides ada leon and wesker, re 4 story isn't that much connected to the other game, same goes whit re 2, re 2 it's just a game set in the re universe if you think about it, it have actually zero to no connection whit re 1, leon is a new character in the game and have nothing to do whit re 1 character and story, claire is the same only that she is Chris sisters, but that aspect isn't actually that developed. ..

For example Chris and jill in re 1, they are just two stars offices called Chris and Jill, that's all, Barry and wesker have more Backstory than them in re 1, as well as Sherry, ada and irons, they have more Backstory than leon and Claire in re 2...
Leon, Claire, Chris and jill were just like Ethan when they first made they re debut

So re 7 isn't actually the first game that have new character and story connected whit little detail, and actually to be fair umbrella and chirs aren't the only connection to the series, we also have wesker and HCF, the organization, o Brian book, the outbreak reporter and other little detail...

Not because I want to defend re 7 but we must be fair, re 7 wasn't the only game where this think you mentioned happened

Also probably nobody remember that re 1 should have been in first person but the ps1 hardware limitation made shinji mikami change his mind
RE4's story was always the worst one in the main games imo. Not only was it completely different from everything that came before, it was also kinda bland. An agent is sent to rescue the president's daughter from an evil cult. That's it. But at least Leon and the others tied it a bit to the previous games.
RE7 has the opposite problem. The story is actually very interesting and creepy. It just lacks something to bind it to the other games. A familiar character could have done that even in a supporting role. The 'Not a Hero' helped do that but it was a dlc and released long after the main game (I know it was delayed but still). Sadly, the bad redesign of Chris didn't help to tie the games. I mean, many fans were convinced it wasn't even him.

Back in the day, RE2 built on all the stuff introduced in RE1: Umbrella, Raccoon City, the T-virus, zombies etc.
True, it featured two new characters but all universes has to start somewhere. Tying Claire to Chris and having you visit the STARS office did a lot to bridge the stories. It also even featured Brad (a minor character from RE1) as a zombie.

All main RE games (except RE7) and animated movies has featured at least one of the four main characters from RE1 and RE2 (Chris, Jill, Claire, Leon) as a protagonist. Those two first games lay the foundation for every later main title.

I agree that Leon, Claire and especially Chris and Jill were very underdeveloped in the first two games but it was a different time for games back then. Not many games had deep characters back then. And if they did, most info on them came from the game manuals. Even a big time character like Lara Croft had next to no character in the actual games back then.

Today it's different, at least if the developers want it to be.

Just because they're introducing a brand new character, it doesn't mean they have to be underdeveloped especially not when it's a protagonist. But if Ethan was meant to ''be the player'' I guess that explains it. I still don't really like it but I understand what they were trying to do.
 

Albertwesker959

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RE4's story was always the worst one in the main games imo. Not only was it completely different from everything that came before, it was also kinda bland. An agent is sent to rescue the president's daughter from an evil cult. That's it. But at least Leon and the others tied it a bit to the previous games.
RE7 has the opposite problem. The story is actually very interesting and creepy. It just lacks something to bind it to the other games. A familiar character could have done that even in a supporting role. The 'Not a Hero' helped do that but it was a dlc and released long after the main game (I know it was delayed but still). Sadly, the bad redesign of Chris didn't help to tie the games. I mean, many fans were convinced it wasn't even him.

Back in the day, RE2 built on all the stuff introduced in RE1: Umbrella, Raccoon City, the T-virus, zombies etc.
True, it featured two new characters but all universes has to start somewhere. Tying Claire to Chris and having you visit the STARS office did a lot to bridge the stories. It also even featured Brad (a minor character from RE1) as a zombie.

All main RE games (except RE7) and animated movies has featured at least one of the four main characters from RE1 and RE2 (Chris, Jill, Claire, Leon) as a protagonist. Those two first games lay the foundation for every later main title.

I agree that Leon, Claire and especially Chris and Jill were very underdeveloped in the first two games but it was a different time for games back then. Not many games had deep characters back then. And if they did, most info on them came from the game manuals. Even a big time character like Lara Croft had next to no character in the actual games back then.

Today it's different, at least if the developers want it to be.

Just because they're introducing a brand new character, it doesn't mean they have to be underdeveloped especially not when it's a protagonist. But if Ethan was meant to ''be the player'' I guess that explains it. I still don't really like it but I understand what they were trying to do.
Just give time to the the story to be developed, i see re 7 as a prologue to a new story arc that will be developed in next entry, probably re 8 will have many more connection and more character of the series not just Chris and Ethan
 

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Just give time to the the story to be developed, i see re 7 as a prologue to a new story arc that will be developed in next entry, probably re 8 will have many more connection and more character of the series not just Chris and Ethan
After all the RE8 rumors, I'm pretty hyped right now. Even if it's in 1st person it still sounds very interesting. Hopefully the game will be revealed soon despite E3 being canceled.

I definitely wouldn't mind if they officially brought back Alex Wesker after what happened in REV2. That's one of the most compelling loose ends the franchise has right now.
 

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regardless whether he is suppose to be an insert or not, i am not feeling Ethan at all. I did't care about him in RE7, so why should I care if they put him in the next one? They'll have to work some kind to magic to make him likable.
 

Albertwesker959

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regardless whether he is suppose to be an insert or not, i am not feeling Ethan at all. I did't care about him in RE7, so why should I care if they put him in the next one? They'll have to work some kind to magic to make him likable.
But that's the purpose, you must not like Him you must be him... Did you care about any of the protagonist in call of duty, in outlast, in fear, in battlefield, in doom, in crysis? Nope, because they re purpose is just to make you play the game and immerse you in it, and feel the game yourself

Probably they will make him more nteresting and fleshed out like they did whit some protagonist in call of duty and crysis series... Ethan is actually the more developed character of all the game i quoted above
 

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I always thought this concept of "be the character" to be really meh. I feel more connected to a character when I know who he\she is. What drives him\her. What the character makes of the ****ty situations concerning him or her. Ethan looks at a monster and say in the most BORING monotone possible "that's special". Ethan is lazy. Characters in Outbreak has almost zero background and from their ad-libs alone they feel more human than Ethan, who's actually worse than Ark freaking Thompson. You want people to "feel" like the character? Make him relatable. Make him fear the Bakers like any of us would. Make him confused and scared seeing the monstrosities in front of him like any of us would. Make him react after he AXED his wife (and then shoot her a few times) like any of us would. He's not relatable. He's not a "blank slate". Ethan is lazy. Is Capcom being lazy, just like the whole of RE7, who only feels like an actual good game for 45% of its short duration.

Oh, in my opinion, some of the Call of Duty protagonists have more personality than Ethan, Price and Soap from the Modern Warfare titles comes to mind. And honestly. Ethan's concept, as it was executed, was just bad. Artyom, from the Metro series has more personality than our Resident Evil robot, and he only talks during load screens. You can relate more to Artyom and he doesn't even speak during gameplay, because on the loading screens, you can hear his thoughts on what happened on the stages and it mirrors a "real" person way more than Ethan.

Again, I undestand their intentions, but they were lazy about it and only helped to alienate a lot of the people from a game that has very little to do with the Resident Evil lore and series in general. An Outbreak character would not only serve the same purpose as Ethan (being a non-combatent character) and would at least give a nod to the fans. I could imagine George (the doctor) or Alyssa (the reporter) being a better protagonist in RE7, if they didn't wanted to use any of our super competent protagonists. Actually, Alyssa investigating the Bakers and getting involved into the mess would be a nice plot...
 

Albertwesker959

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I always thought this concept of "be the character" to be really meh. I feel more connected to a character when I know who he\she is. What drives him\her. What the character makes of the ****ty situations concerning him or her. Ethan looks at a monster and say in the most BORING monotone possible "that's special". Ethan is lazy. Characters in Outbreak has almost zero background and from their ad-libs alone they feel more human than Ethan, who's actually worse than Ark freaking Thompson. You want people to "feel" like the character? Make him relatable. Make him fear the Bakers like any of us would. Make him confused and scared seeing the monstrosities in front of him like any of us would. Make him react after he AXED his wife (and then shoot her a few times) like any of us would. He's not relatable. He's not a "blank slate". Ethan is lazy. Is Capcom being lazy, just like the whole of RE7, who only feels like an actual good game for 45% of its short duration.

Oh, in my opinion, some of the Call of Duty protagonists have more personality than Ethan, Price and Soap from the Modern Warfare titles comes to mind. And honestly. Ethan's concept, as it was executed, was just bad. Artyom, from the Metro series has more personality than our Resident Evil robot, and he only talks during load screens. You can relate more to Artyom and he doesn't even speak during gameplay, because on the loading screens, you can hear his thoughts on what happened on the stages and it mirrors a "real" person way more than Ethan.

Again, I undestand their intentions, but they were lazy about it and only helped to alienate a lot of the people from a game that has very little to do with the Resident Evil lore and series in general. An Outbreak character would not only serve the same purpose as Ethan (being a non-combatent character) and would at least give a nod to the fans. I could imagine George (the doctor) or Alyssa (the reporter) being a better protagonist in RE7, if they didn't wanted to use any of our super competent protagonists. Actually, Alyssa investigating the Bakers and getting involved into the mess would be a nice plot...
Soap had actually zero personality in call of duty 4 modern warfare before he was introduced as you're captain in modern warfare 2, price had more personality because is not the protagonist, he is introduced as a character you see and later you play as him, but when you play as him in the chernobyl section he actually have zero personality, he don't talk, he is just a gun moving...
Because the purpose is for the player to enter the game completely

There is no need for reaction or else, it's just your reaction that made the game, it's not lazyness, it's made on purpose, unless other game like fear, outlast, doom ecc would be lazy too

Maybe the only mistake capcom made was Ethan reaction, if they wanted the player to immerse more they should have cut his stupid reaction, and make him almost completely silent

Outbreak character are just stereotype of 90s characters, but they have also zero personality too
 

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Because ethan is essentially you, the player, capcom wanted to immers the player completely into the game, that s why they also decided to use first person and give little back story to Ethan, because it's you in the game, you are seeing the game whit your own eyes...

They tried their hand at this ancient FPS trope and failed spectacularly, not only at providing said immersion, but also at delivering a good RE game. Even Survivor's Vincent had a more distinct personality and that dude was the classic amnesia protagonist.
 

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They tried their hand at this ancient FPS trope and failed spectacularly, not only at providing said immersion, but also at delivering a good RE game. Even Survivor's Vincent had a more distinct personality and that dude was the classic amnesia protagonist.
Maybe this sort of immersion dosent work well anymore whit modern game, like mgs V proved, where venom snake was mostly silent because Kojima want the player to be the character, but didn't actually worked perfectly...

But the purpose was that, like when you create the character in skyrim or other game, they are just puppet for you to play and immerse in it

I actually have no problem whit Ethan because I really feel immersed in the game, it would have been better if he was completely silent, like Clancy in the re 7 demo, i admit that Ethan reaction could be annoying and stupid
 

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There is no need for reaction or else, it's just your reaction that made the game, it's not lazyness, it's made on purpose, unless other game like fear, outlast, doom ecc would be lazy too

Maybe the only mistake capcom made was Ethan reaction, if they wanted the player to immerse more they should have cut his stupid reaction, and make him almost completely silent

You need to decide, because those two paragraphs contradicts each other. If there's no need for reaction, you shouldn't complain about Ethan's pathetic reaction to everything. But taking your second statement, then its just proves my point that Capcom failed. If you said Ethan's reaction was stupid, you agree that it breaks the immersion that they were supposedly trying to impose. If it's better if he was silent, like Artyom, or in my opinion, act like a normal person, but Ethan did neither, standing in the middle in his half assed robot reactions. That means...it was lazy. They didn't do this right, and it came out as half assed, like RE7 on a nutshell.

Anyway, I'm not pushing this forward, because I don't care enough about Ethan to go on a multi reply essay about it. If you're okay with what Capcom was trying to do there and the game concept, then you just enjoyed RE7 more than me, and this is totally fine.

Cheers!
 
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UniqTeas

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I might be the only Ethan fan on this website. I get that he is less desirable of a character because of the lack of personality and tying us in to the game, but I found my quest to save Mia very personally afterwards. When I thought Mia had died at the end of the first act, I was devastated. But that game has a lot of twists and turns. I just hope they can add more to his story and background and personality to give him the upgrade that he deserves.
 

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Making the game 1st person gives them an opportunity to make Ethan into ''the-player'' but I agree with others - it doesn't work here.
I didn't care about Ethan or his relationship with Mia. For this reason I cured Zoe on my first playthrough, at least she had helped a lot through the game.
Maybe I would have chosen differently if Ethan had acted more 'normal' during his encounters with Mia.

I liked the game and the story but I can't help but think how much better it could have been if Ethan was a fully developed character. Hopefully he'll be better in RE8.
 
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