Norman Jayden is autisticHe seems to have a large amount of trouble socializing/carrying on a proper conversation, reading verbal/physical cues, and can't seem to tell when he's bothering people. He also backs down from any kind of verbal confrontation as soon as possible. However, if you listen to his inner thoughts or his recordings on ARI, he speaks regularly and very intelligently. As well, he clearly is very focused on technology and crime solving, and an intense focus on a single task or interest is another indication of a spectrum disorder.
The Origami Killer is a group of peopleThey're all covering up for each other. That's why the OK's never been caught and why the player will confront various people all wanting to kill the protagonists. The Taxidermist from Madison's prologue DLC could have been one that ended up getting caught.
SPOILER: Scott Shelby's asthma is actually psychosomatic and caused by his memories of his brother's deathShelby's asthma attacks seem to be triggered by rain, but not by the actual PHYSICAL rain, as he's shown many times being exposed to the elements and not actually being affected by it this way, and when the game flashes back to his childhood, he is not shown being asthmatic at all. My theory is that his asthma attacks are actually psychosomatic, a physical reflection of his emotional trauma.
ARI is just a pair of ordinary sunglassesJayden is practicing mental memorization and organization techniques with the help of the trypto, hallucinating that he's using ARI. This would explain why he's the only person in the game to possess such advanced technology and why Blake makes comments about Jeyden "packing up" and "riding his files" back to Washington despite clearly not having any. This also explains why he never uses them to investigate around other police officers.
ARI is actually a miniature AnimusJayden is actually reviewing the case in the future, and any ending where he dies is actually just him desynchronizing. Which means that the hallucinations in his ending are caused by the bleeding effect.
If Norman dies, his consciousness lives on in ARI-space.When Blake puts on the ARI glasses in the end after Norman dies, he looks up to find Norman there to exact revenge on his amoral ass. Norman has become a particularly vengeful Virtual Ghost.
Everyone is in the Philadelphian version of the Reaper's Game.Massive end-game spoilers below this point. In the events of Heavy Rain, there are four contestants: Ethan, Jayden, Madison and Lauren. Each contestant's game is tailored to their faults, and in order to win and given life again they have to overcome it. Ethan's is fairly obvious. He died protecting Jason when he let him out of his grasp, and the Time Skip is completely intentional. For not protecting his son, Ethan has to save Shaun from the Origami Killer. Lauren is the same as Ethan, but she failed just in time and was picked up by Shelby as a Support Reaper, albeit an unknowing one. Jayden died overdosing on triptocaine. His game is to save Shaun Mars without succumbing to temptation. If he wins, then it's revealed that he has ANOTHER problem, the ARI (and hey, Reapers can get it wrong, right?) that's twisting his brain. If he continues to take the tripto in the UG, then he OD's in the Reaper's Game and is erased. Madison died as a selfish person in the RG, presumably the home invasion we see in her first chapter. For this, she is tasked in being forced to help others, such as Ethan. Shelby is the Conductor and the Game Master, most likely the Composer as well. In the RG, he really was a private detective, who hand-picked the contestants for his game. He was never supposed to be caught out as the Origami Killer, which explains why he tries to kill Ethan and Jayden when they meet; the game has been ruined, and his only option is to erase them. Sam is a Support Reaper, as is Blake and Manfred. Mad Jack, Paco, Adrian Baker, Leland White, Miroslav Kordy and Nathaniel are all Harriers, though Nathaniel's vehement belief coupled with the realisation of what he was in caused him to go insane and revert into his apartment in the UG, which is why Blake constantly wants Jayden to kill him. Lauren and Hassan are interesting cases: they are all failed players who Shelby keeps around, most likely as punishment. If Shelby dies and Lauren or Hassan lives, then they remain forever in the UG.
Madison's nightmares in Heavy Rain are because of her ordeal in The Taxidermist.Madison has nightmares about invincible burglars in her apartment because when Leeland chased her around his house nothing she could do short of chainsawing him in the testicles could stop him.
Norman Jayden is a time traveler.As suggested by Yahtzee in his review of the game, Norman Jayden is from the future, explaining his access to technology that seems startlingly advanced for the setting. His shakes and nosebleeds are not actually caused by his ARI/triptocaine abuse, but they're a consequence of him altering history.
SPOILER: Scott Shelby is aware of the player, and is willfully misleading you.
Shelby has dissociative disorderMaybe Ethan was closer to the truth than we thought.
If there's no mention of the Heavy Rain Chronicles at E3, there won't be any Chronicles.This means every WMG must be canon.
Ethan's blackouts involve him visiting Jason's graveJason happens to be in the same graveyard as John Sheppard, which is how Ethan ends up with the origami figures. The drowning bodies he thinks of are because the graveyard worker keeps telling him the story of how John died.
Ethan is possessed by John Sheppard.It explains the blackouts.
Ethan is the reincarnation of John SheppardIf we assume that Ethan was concieved when John died, the ages roughly matches. The trauma of loosing his son and / or the brain-damage made it possible for John to take over. John, still a child and unaware of what is going on, panics when he wakes up in a adult body, does the one thing that could always calm him down: He starts folding a origami figure. While he does this, he rushes back 'home', aka the construction site. Once he comes there he sees the fully constructed buildings, realizes what is going on and the shock makes him return to Ethans subconscious. Ethan then wakes up with a black out, at the same street corner every time, with a origami figure in his hand.
Nahman's ARI Shades aren't just high-tech, there's some sort of supernatural element to how it works and interacts with the user.That FBI technology stuff screwing with his head doesn't explain how Blake starts using the shades in one of the endings where Nahman dies and Nahman appears next to him in the virtual reality world. Nor does it explain the ending where Nahman is in the AVI world, without the glasses, talking to another Nahman (unless that's just some hallucination in the ending when he dies from a triptocaine OD and I'm remembering it wrong). Maybe the AVI world is some kind of weird magic-y pocket dimension thing that your soul/spirit/mind can get tied to, or something.
Blake and Perry are sent to jail.After being fired by the police commissioner, they were captured by the entire police force for murdering an innocent man, Ethan, and sent to jail for it.
Madison is a psychic.It explains of how she can tell the police are planning on arresting Ethan in "The Fugitive" without looking at them.
Captain Perry is behind everything.Think about it. He cares about the press more than catching the killer is a common clue. Not only that, but he is almost always in the police station doing work in his office or holding press conferences.
Blake is gonna be the Big Bad for Heavy Rain 2.Well, for starters, do you see his methods? It might be convincing for Captain Perry to retire and give the position to take over the police force to Blake. With this, he has rule the town with an iron fist, a dictatorship. Ethan, Madison, and Norman will have to team up to bring him to justice or kill him. They will confront him in the skyscraper in the end with different outcomes.
Ash and Charlene are the only cops at the police force who liked Norman.Well, these two didn't do anything bad to him, right?
Grace is entirely behind everything.Well, why do you think she gets Norman and Blake to think that Ethan is the Origami Killer?
Blake is Norman's Split Personality.He is created by Norman's suppressive emotions of being a Butt Monkey. This split personality is different from Norman that while he is a By-the-Book Cop, Blake is Cowboy Cop, not to mention Rabid Cop. As the two investigate together, Blake would even try to make Norman do bad things by killing Nathaniel and letting him to beat Ethan's psychiatrist and Ethan himself. As for the latter, he puts Norman at gunpoint in order to have him leave and as a result, takes control of him. Therefore, to the eyes of the police or Captain Perry, or whoever sees it, it is Norman beating Ethan up, not Blake.
The red balloon is behind everything.It hypnotized Jason, causing the infamous Too Dumb to Live scene. (Side effects may include Idiot Plot of epic proportions) As it was floating away, it spotted Shelby and hypnotized him into becoming the Origami Killer. When Ethan blacks out, it's the balloon fighting for control of his mind. Since it has control of the Origami Killer as well, it sometimes confuses the two, causing Ethan to make origami dogs when the Killer does. When Shaun disappears, Ethan breaks the balloon's control, but residual Too Dumb to Live prevents him from calling the police or asking for help. Why does the balloon cause such suffering? For the Evulz.
The story is All Just a Dream of Ethan.He is actually still lying in coma, trying to cope with his guilt about Jason's death. All the "new" characters in his dream (i.e. everyone except Shaun and Grace) are actually aspects of himself:
The story is a Dying Dream of Ethan.At the end of the second level, "The Mall", Ethan gets run over by a car while trying to save Jason. It is never shown if he dies or somehow recovers from the accident. From that point on, the entire story is a Dying Dream of what would be his life like without Jason. All the three playable characters are his subconscious; Scott Shelby is his urge to be independent without a wife and children. When he is revealed to be the Origami Killer, he becomes the urge to kill people. Norman Jayden is the affirmation of being treated like hell by his peers. He represents of what his life could have been if he didn't marry Grace and have Shaun. Madison Paige is the manifestation of his love for his wife, showing of what would his life would be if he didn't divorce with her and continues to love her after what happened to Jason. Other interesting notes includes Lt. Carter Blake is a manifestation of who Ethan, by this point, realizes Grace and Shaun see him after Jason died; a bad father and husband whose only concern is furthering his agenda. Furthermore, Ethan's blackouts have been a sign of the trouble. His own nature (Blake) eventually betrays him, a sign of Ethan accepting his own ruthlessness and what an awful family man he has been to his family.
Madison was the victim of a home invasion in the past.Traumatized by the fact that she could've been killed in her sleep by a burglar, she developed insomnia and nightmares. She tries to distract herself from it by getting involved in cases like that of the Origami Killer.
The protagonists are Death Seekers.
Shelbywas the one who led Jason way from Ethan in the opening. The Origami Killer first started his murders shortly after the time when Jason was killed. Perhaps Jason was his first intended victim, but he didn't count on Ethan finding him. After Jason got his balloon, he turned around to see Shelby, who got Jason to follow him. Sure, Jason is still Too Dumb to Live in this theory, but for a different reason.
Kramer has a secret organization of murderers and corrupt officials.According to the theory, "The Origami Killer is a group of people", he organizes these people:
Norman Jayden is placed on a protection program in the end of the game.The police's uselessness attracted the attention of the Witness Protection Program who sent a social worker to investigate. After Norman has told him about his partnership with Lt. Blake, Captain Perry has lost control of the police. That's why they don't get mentioned in the news or got suspended in the end when Ethan is killed by Blake.
ARI was created with alien technologyThe American government either salvaged it from a crashed alien ship, traded for it, or maybe even captured it. While humans have been able to modify it greatly, nobody really knows how it works or it's true capabilities. Like complete personality uploadings to a simulated world.
Norman Jayden is the protagonist all along.This is a crime drama, right? It should have started with an investigator going to the scene of the crime, and solving a crime where the police is useless for.
Later in the game, Norman will leave the police to investigate on his own.Getting tired of Blake's ruthless ways would be a motivation get him to quit working with the police and start working on his own.
The Origami Killer is related to the Raincoat Killer.Killing in the rain? Check. Leave a Calling Card? Check. A sympathetic killer? Check.
Norman Jayden is a Terminator.At first, he looks calm and collected. Not only he gets angry, but also rarely show other emotions. A Terminator has come from the present and kills the real Norman Jayden and took on his form. It is given the ARI, and how? It is placed inside the living tissues since the time portal will only transport living organs. Here's one thing to know: it can read the character's feelings such as when Blake puts it at gunpoint for punching him in the face, it reads his emotions that he will not do that because if he does, he'll lose his job if he shoots a cop.
Norman Jayden is working for Internal Affairs.It seems of how useless the Philadelphia police force really attracted the attention of Internal Affairs. They need a plan to expose of how useless they are. As a result, they hired Norman Jayden of the FBI to infiltrating the police as their helper in finding the Origami Killer. Why would IA need the FBI? Because they have high authority on the police and needed an agent who is disliked by cops to let the police slip up of what makes them useless. So far, the agency has learned from Norman via the wire they planted on him that Blake is out of his mind, accuses an innocent man of being the Origami Killer, and his boss, Captain Perry, has the gull to declare it to the press. It's enough proof to get them in trouble, but IA needs an evidence to show Blake has crossed the line. When Norman has found out the Origami Killer's location, he is ordered to act like he's in a hurry to get Blake to follow him, thus falling into their trap. If he shoots Ethan dead in front of Madison, Norman (if he survives), and Shaun, IA uses this evidence to convince the police commissioner to suspend Blake and Perry.
Blake is a lot more compassionate than Norman thinks.Despite his abrasive and aggressive attitude towards Norman, Blake didn't kill him when he warned him that killing him would get him off the case. Knowing the feeling Norman finds Ethan innocent, he gives him a chance this day to find the real Origami Killer before he tells him he's off the case by tomorrow night at 6:30 pm.
Blake had a partner or close friend die during the investigation.This is why he is acting like the Jerk Ass he is to Norman and wanted him to leave as soon as the Philadelphia police closes the investigation.
Norman Jayden is an Assassin.Given the fact of how much of a Badass he is than the other three, it is considerable. He has obtained all that badassery from the FBI, including the art of killing. The ARI is his version of the Eagle Eye. When he first met Blake, it would appear he is blue, as in he's an ally. They argue many times and Blake is still blue. However, when he puts him at gunpoint in "Under Arrest", Norman sees Blake red, as in he's an enemy. It turns out the Philadelphia police are Templars. When Norman tells Captain Perry about it, he lets Blake do what he wants instead of stopping him. This reveals Perry is red instead of blue.
Ethan's blackouts are psychosomatic.
Blake sees Scott more than just a friend.
Norman Jayden is a descendant of Cole Phelps.Both of them are cops who follow by the rules and really honest, working alongside corrupt/incompetent cops, and partner with a cop they don't like because of being corrupt/useless he really is. They don't have a love life, although Cole has a wife, there are no other scenes of them getting together before she kicks him out for his affair with Elsa. Lastly, both of them die saving people from drowning from rainwater, although for Norman's case, it depends on the player.
Jayden's boss has been keeping tabs on the police all along.
The ending "Uploaded" shows Blake will have a temporary personality takeover.Due to him seeing Norman's "ghost" in the ARI, Blake will briefly thinks he's Norman. It's gonna happen every time he puts on the ARI.
The ending "Uploaded" shows Blake will have a permanent personality takeover.That is, something happened while using the ARI after Norman's death, and Blake's psychopathic mind will be shattered and overwritten with Norman's memories. Therefore, Carter Blake is dead, and Norman Jayden is in complete control.
WMG that connects Ethan, Madison, Norman, and Scott.
Jayden will run afoul of useless police officers.Because Jayden is a By-the-Book Cop, he'll be off the case at some point. In other words, he'll be dumped once his usefulness with them is outlived. Most likely, it would start from looking at the body of Jeremy Bowles to Blake declaring that the investigation is over.
Madison's nightmares are psychosomatic.
Blake is spared as an act of Cruel Mercy.It would have appeared that out of the major characters, he doesn't die. What else is that neither of them would have the guts to kill him. Luckily, depending on your choices, he gets punished.
Shelby was adopted by a rich family as a child.This is the only explanation as to how Shelby can afford all the stuff used in the murders. There's no way he could have made that much money as a police officer. When he was adopted after John died, the family who took him in could have been pretty wealthy, and left him quite a bit of money after passing away.
The Origami Killer is based on the "smiley face killer"Targets young men (well, boys in the game)? Check. Has them drowned? Check. Named after ritualistic marks he leaves at the site of murder? Check.
The Shaun glitch is actually another alternate ending.In it, Ethan has completely lost his sanity, and started shouting his son's name at random intervals.
[[Every playable character has psychic powers, has had them in the past or has experience with the supernaturalThis is from the cut content that explains Ethan's black outs ( When Ethan had his accident, he made a mind-link with Scott so he blacks out every time Scott kills someone or does anything as the Origami Killer. That street he keeps going to is actually where Scott's brother died), but here's the basic idea of what I think is going on for each character, keeping this in context: