"The revelation. It freed me. It killed me."
This article contains spoilers and plot details from Prototype 2.
Read the article at your own risk.
- "My name is Alex Mercer. I'm the reason for all this. They call me a killer, a monster, a terrorist... I'm all of these things."
- ―Alex Mercer[src]
Alexander J. Mercer, also known as The Prototype or by his codename Zeus, was the former head researcher of the Blacklight project at Gentek. After learning that those affiliated with the project were being systematically murdered, Alex attempted to flee the city with sample of his research contained in a vial. Cornered at Penn Station, Alex smashed the vial and unleashed the deadly virus into the surroundings. This triggered a viral outbreak that eventually covered all of Manhattan Island.
After awaking at a Gentek facility with no recollection of his past, Alex Mercer escaped the building, and soon discovered his new powers and abilities, granted by the virus he unleashed. He begins to utilize his powers to learn more of his fragmented past, as he scoured all of New York for those responsible.
Born as Alexander J. Mercer, Alex experienced a brutal childhood spent in abject poverty; his first nine years were spent in foster care. When he turned 10, he was finally returned to his mother, who had spent the last nine years in prison, but for Alex it was better to be in foster care. He was the only parental figure for his sister, Dana.
However, his intellect and aptitude in science provided him an opportunity to leave behind his troubled past. He trusted no one, had no friends, couldn't care less about what others thought of him, and found solace only in his work. By the time he was hired by Gentek, Alex was a borderline sociopath. He knew this, and didn't care.
After earning a doctorate in genetics at Columbia University, Mercer was hired by Gentek and became the head of the Blacklight project at Gentek. Alex's team was tasked with engineering weaponized viruses from samples given to them by the government. The samples that were provided exhibited curious behavior, including mimicry and retention of genetic information from infected hosts. With Alex’s help, the team soon engineered a particularly virulent and potent virus codenamed "Blacklight". Alex’s skill in altering genes made him a valuable asset to Gentek; his work was years ahead of his nearest competitor.
Despite his successes, Alex Mercer was considered a potential liability by Blackwatch, an elite army created to combat exotic threats. Over time, Gentek became scrutinized by Congress and investigations were proposed. Fearing an information leak, Blackwatch decided to cover it all up. Alex, due to his paranoid nature, began to launch his own secret investigation on Gentek. With the assistance of his sister Dana, an investigative reporter, Alex realized that Gentek employees associated with the Blacklight project were being silenced by Blackwatch; usually with a bullet between the eyes in a dark alley.
When he learned that a general purge was about to be unleashed upon the Gentek scientists, Alex fled, fearing for his life. In the event he was caught, Alex had brought insurance—he had smuggled a vial of the Blacklight virus out of quarantine and taken it with him. He also mailed a laptop with classified documents to Dana. But Blackwatch was too quick for him. While attempting to escape the city by train, Alex was cornered in Penn Station by Blackwatch agents. In a fit of frustration and rage, he threw the vial to the floor, smashing it and unleashing a biological apocalypse. He was promptly shot by Blackwatch operatives. The virus began to spread to everyone in the station.
As he fell, he collapsed onto the viral sample, becoming infected as he died. His body was taken back to Gentek in a body bag. Little did they know, as he was transported, the virus was reconstructing Mercer's body, cell by cell; his biomass feeding the virus as it replicated the still-living matter it had infected.
- "What is happening to me!!!"
- ―Alex Mercer while regenerating from bullet wounds caused by Blackwatch Soldiers.[src]
Alex woke up in a morgue on a slab just as two scientists were about to cut open his torso with a scalpel for an autopsy. The two men panicked and fled, terrified of Mercer. Alex didn't understand why they were so frightened and had no recollection of his previous life. He ran after the scientists in an attempt to escape.
Though Alex was now an amnesiac, he was sufficiently aware to realize that the Blackwatch soldiers were certainly not friends when he saw them kill the two scientists as they tried to escape the facility. The soldiers noticed him, but his body regenerated the damage caused by their fire instantly. Surprising both the soldiers and himself, Mercer cleared the several stories high fence around the facility in a single leap.
After escaping, he found himself trapped in Manhattan, being pursued by the military. He soon discovered that he had the ability to consume others and take on their appearance and memories, along with their special skills.
With no recollection of his own past, Alex decided to track down those responsible for his situation and consume them in order to uncover the truth behind what has been done to him, caught between the Blackwatch Special Forces and an ever growing population of civilians infected by the virus he released.
On consuming Lt. Charles Perri he learned the whereabouts of his sister. Mercer hoped that his sister, Dana, would have some information regarding what happened to him, so he attempted to make contact with her. However, when he arrived at her apartment, he saw soldiers stationed around the building. He consumed a Blackwatch commander and, taking on his appearance, easily infiltrated their perimeter. When Alex entered he saw Dana being held by a Blackwatch soldier. Dana headbutted the Blackwatch soldier just as Alex impaled him with his fist. Dana was terrified having witnessed this, but Alex convinced her to help him.
Dana told Alex that she knew there was something wrong going on at Gentek. She did not know what had happened to Alex either, but was able to tell him what he had told her prior to his memory loss. She told Alex that he had her researching the Gentek organization for weeks. When she went looking for him to relay her findings, he had already disappeared. The conversation incited a flashback, in which Alex remembered seeing the ID card of Dr. McMullen. Dana then lead Alex to a new safe house, the home of Dana's friends, who were out of town for the year. Dana already had all of the files she could get on Gentek stored in the apartment
Dana wasn't able to tell Alex what it all meant, but insisted that the two of them work together to uncover whatever conspiracies were at work. Dana told Alex that since Blackwatch was waiting for her at her apartment, they must also be waiting at his. Alex arrived at his apartment and uncovered further hints of his past life. He saw a photo of himself and Dana with a graduate certificate from the University of New York. He also saw a photo of himself with a blonde woman. When he touched the photo he experienced a flashback in which he saw himself with the woman, his ex-girlfriend Karen Parker. When the flashback was over, it was apparent that the onset of these flashbacks was painful to him. As he was recovering, Blackwatch detonated a bomb that had been planted in the apartment, meant to kill him. He astonishingly survived without a scratch, despite having been thrown out of a window and down to the streets several stories below. Alex hunted down and consumed the man who gave the order to detonate the bomb.
The Truthhis laptop, stored on which are photographs of a girl.
Alex recognizes the girl. Dana tells him that the file has only two names in it: Alex Mercer and Elizabeth Greene, the girl in the photo. The file also says that she is being isolated in the Gentek building. When Alex went to free Greene, she cryptically told him that "The time for waiting is over" and threw him across the room. Greene then disintegrated a wall by touch and sent Hunters after him as he escaped. She then took charge of the infected. He also located his ex-girlfriend, Karen Parker.
Dana continued to assist Mercer in locating his targets, while Karen promised him a cure for his disease. She first claimed that he needed to find her different samples of the virus destroying Manhattan, but once he arrived inside a nearby Hive, Alex was ambushed by Blackwatch specialist Captain Robert Cross who used both the infected and his own soldiers as cannon fodder while he tried to take Alex down. Mercer ended up defeating him, but Cross turned the tables by distracting Alex by mentioning 'Penn Station' and triggering a painful flashback. He injected Alex with a biological weapon while he was distracted.
Due to the parasite Cross had injected him with, Alex couldn't use his special powers aside from his superhuman strength and speed. He still managed to escape from Blackwatch.
Alex returned to Dana who showed him that Blackwatch was keeping an eye on a doctor for McMullen, Dr. Bradley Ragland. Dana then told Alex that if he finds him, Ragland can help them get to McMullen. Before Alex left, she showed him what she found about Hope, Idaho and Greene but Alex said Hope was an experiment. She asked how he could know that, forcing Alex to admit that he had killed a great number of people and their minds and memories were now within him. Dana was shocked by what her brother has become.
However, with the help of Dr. Ragland, Mercer was cured, restoring his abilities and gaining him the armor and blade powers as a result. During all of this, Mercer was placed as the number one terrorist threat in the entire United States due to treasonous activities against the United States and her allies.
During one of Alex and Dana's meetings, Dana was kidnapped by a Leader Hunter, a larger and stronger version of the normal hunters. Alex pursued this Leader Hunter across the city, but was ultimately unable to rescue Dana. With the help of Dr. Ragland, Alex located and consumed the same Leader Hunter that kidnapped Dana, learning of her location in the core hive in the center of the city. Alex was eventually able to penetrate the hive, where he confronted Elizabeth Greene.
Elizabeth Greene told Alex that Dana was "with us now". During a struggle, Greene seemingly bests Alex, but he was able to inject Greene with a syringe containing the parasite as it had been extracted from him. Greene's body rejected the parasite immediately and she vomited up a large amount of biomass, from which the Supreme Hunter was born. Alex defeated the Supreme Hunter and saved Dana. As he left, a sinister clawed hand began to regenerate and rise from the remain of the hunter, showing the Supreme Hunter was far from done.
A New Beginning
- "One virus, three weeks, millions dead... and I was there. My name was Alex Mercer, and my work is almost done."
- ―Alex Mercer[src]
As the conspiracy unfolds, with the assistance of an unidentified contact, the origins of Mercer, the virus and Elizabeth Greene were uncovered.
In 1969, the government had tested a virus codenamed Redlight in Hope, Idaho. This virus was designed as a biological warfare agent, targeting those of a predetermined race. The virus unexpectedly mutated into something far deadlier, infecting the whole population of Hope. Elizabeth Greene was the sole survivor of the incident; her body welcomed the virus rather than dying from it and it had rewritten her genetic code, along with that of her son, who was taken from her by Blackwatch and codenamed Pariah. This inspired the government to continue research into the virus, cooperating with the Gentek corporation. Scientists at Gentek locked Greene in a cell which had been used to research Blacklight, the new virus present in Greene. They continued to study the different strains of the virus that formed throughout her system as a means of accelerating the biological weapons program.
When the chemical was deployed across the city, the infection went underground to escape it, and subsequently amassed beneath the surface. The anonymous contact told Mercer to aid the military in pumping the Bloodtox directly into the ground. They hoped that it would drive the virus to the surface, allowing Blackwatch to fight it directly. Elizabeth Greene, now embedded in Mother a new viral organism, came to the surface and engaged Mercer in combat. Alex killed Mother and consumed Greene.
He then attempted to confront McMullen, the Head of Research and founder of Gentek. After a grueling battle with Marines and Blackwatch between him and his target, Alex confronted Mcmullen and moved to consume him to find out what Mcmullen knew. McMullen committed suicide before Mercer had the chance. It became apparent that Randall planned to nuke Manhattan to destroy the virus. The mysterious contact, revealed to be Captain Cross, then guided Mercer to consume Colonel Taggart, who was attempting to flee the city. Cross had been ordered to capture Taggart and had Mercer impersonate him in order to get onto the USS Ronald Reagan where the bomb was being held.
Cross betrayed Mercer once on the ship, and was revealed to be the Supreme Hunter having consumed Cross at some point and taken his form. It battled Mercer on the deck of the Reagan and was subsequently decapitated by Mercer. Mercer boarded a helicopter and dropped the nuclear bomb into the Atlantic Ocean, allowing it to detonate at sea but leaving himself well within the blast radius. His remains washed up on the city shore as lumps of red tissue, but he was able to take human after consuming a crow that attempted to devour him.
Alex walked off thinking to himself "What have I become? Something less than human, but also something more..." Later, Manhattan is seen in a recovering state, with the virus almost completely destroyed.
- Main article: Prototype 2: The Anchor
- "If I'm still human...where do I fit in now? How do I rejoin the human race?"
- ―Alex ponders over his place in the world.[src]
After stopping the nuclear threat, Alex, having lost faith in humanity as a result of his own actions, went on a soul-searching trip around the world, hoping to find something to believe in. Unfortunately, throughout his travels, Alex only found more and more reasons to hate humanity rather than protect it.
During his travels, Alex killed a villainous African warlord and traveled to Moscow, where he came to realize that, even though humans treated one another with decency, it was all a façade and they only cared about themselves and their individual freedoms. On his way back to the U.S., Alex freed a small town from a drug cartel, though the citizens' celebrations only further convinced Alex that humans were selfish and not worth saving.
Making his way to a lumber mill in the north, Alex took on the alias of a writer named Jack and rented out a cabin from the mill owner Flint and his daughter Autumn, the latter of whom became attracted to him. However, Flint's former business partner, Zurich, wanted the lands around Flint's lumber mill, and when it became clear that Flint would not sell, Zurich sent two thugs to kill him and Autumn. However, Alex killed the thugs and decided to deal with Zurich himself.
Realizing that he had developed feelings for Autumn, Alex infiltrated Zurich's base and consumed him, discovering through his memories that Flint was once a criminal involved in many murders and extortions. Enraged and disappointed, Alex returned to Flint's cabin and, despite Flint's insistence that he had left his past behind, killed him.
Still in disguise as Jack, Alex returned to his cabin to find Autumn there and attempted to convince her to come with him, only to discover that Autumn had stolen his money. Autumn promptly shot Alex in the face and revealed that her father had taught her better and that she cared about herself above anything else. To her surprise, however, Alex regenerated and consumed her, finally deciding once and for all that humanity was worthless and that it was his duty to destroy them and usher in a new and better world.
Return to NYZ
Fourteen months after the original outbreak, Alex returned to New York City, now renamed New York Zero, and, in an ironic twist, started a second Blacklight outbreak within Penn Station. Taking up residence within the city's Red Zone, Alex proceeded to create several Evolved to infiltrate both Blackwatch and Gentek in order to destroy both, having one of them contaminate a newfound cure for the virus with his blood so as to transform even more people into infected.
There he met the man who would be his undoing, James Heller. Heller and his squad were inside an APC on patrol in the Red Zone when a car was hurled at the APC. The car struck it, flipped it violently out of control leaving Heller as the only survivor. Alex then lured Heller further into the Red Zone until a helicopter arrived to pick up Heller. Alex, hiding in a ruin, jumped out and destroyed the helicopter. Seeing Heller's potential, Alex infected Heller with his own virus. After this, Alex vanished and Heller was taken by Blackwatch.
After he broke out of the lab, Alex confronted Heller and tried to convince him to fight Blackwatch and Gentek while claiming that he wasn't responsible for Heller's family's death. Eventually Heller discovered Alex's plans and found the evidence that it was indeed Alex who released the virus once more.
Over time due to Heller ruining all of his plans, Alex confronted Heller and attempted to kill him, though ultimately failing, and fled the scene, distracting Heller by sending a Goliath to release the Whitelight while he went to Kill Heller's friend Luis Guerra. Dana Mercer joined James Heller on his quest and the two of them managed to discover that Maya, Heller's daughter, was alive but locked up. But when Heller arrived, Sabrina Galloway took his daughter to Alex Mercer. Alex than took Dana and Maya and locked them in a bank vault.
Before leaving, Dana told Alex, that her real brother was dead. Alex claimed he was now beyond Life and Death, as was Heller. Finally, Alex Mercer and James Heller faced off on top of a destroyed building with Mercer's Evolved present. Heller demanded that Alex give him his daughter, but Alex scoffed and spoke of his plans to make more Evolved and replace mankind.
- "Huh. Welcome to the top of the food chain."
- ―Alex's last words to Heller before being consumed.
Heller finally faced Alex after the latter consumed his Evolved, including Sabrina Galloway, to become stronger and faster. Alex used his blade, claws, whipfist and hammerfists against Heller. Alex was able to regenerate from the wounds caused by Heller, even mocking him. But after several repeated major injuries, Mercer was beginning to weaken.
Defeated, but unconcerned by his impending death, Alex welcomed Heller "to the top of the food chain" with a bemused tone immediately before Heller consumed him. Heller, having become extremely powerful as a result, used an expansive mass of tendrils to destroy all the infected citizens in the surrounding area, saving Manhattan from the "Mercer" virus in the process.
Powers & Abilities
Once reanimated by the Blacklight virus, every particle of Alex's form, including his clothing and equipment, becomes comprised entirely of viral biomass. This substance can be manipulated at will. He can absorb the organic matter of other living creatures, converting it into more biomass. This process sustains and regenerates Alex's health and is referred to as 'consuming'. In addition, Alex can consume individuals, absorbing their knowledge, skills, and even their physical form, which he can call upon at will. He can manipulate his physical form to create weapons to attack his enemies, generate armor to defend himself, and take on the appearance of another person to disguise himself. During his battle against James Heller, he displayed the ability to consume multiple of his Evolved soldiers at the same time in order to power up his abilities.
Alex's shapeshifting powers grant him superhuman physical abilities well beyond that of a normal Human.
- Shapeshifting: Alex's Blacklight infection has granted him the ability to both shapeshift and fashion his body into weapons. An example this would be his Blade resembling a giant sharp blade and his viral flesh possessing a yellow/reddish hue. His Whipfist has small razor-like blades across its spine-like form. Alex's evolved Hammerfists allow him to perform area attacks. He possesses consumption/assimilation abilities inherent in all infected creatures that allow him to take on the form and memories of any creature he consumes.
- Superhuman Strength: His incredible strength allows him to lift cars, trucks, the destroyed remains of tanks, APCs, and helicopters and throw them great distances. He is far stronger than any normal human or most basic Infected, able to kill a regular human with a single, glancing blow and manhandle the infectious residents of Manhattan. Alex is capable of punching holes through almost anything if necessary, including a two foot steel door.
- Superhuman Speed: Alex's speed is likewise enhanced. He can achieve running speeds surpassing vehicles.
- Superhuman Agility: He can perform amazing parkour feats such as flips and rolls and maneuvers over and around vehicles and debris with little trouble. His leg strength allows him to leap nearly ten stories into the air. Alex can run up sheer vertical surfaces and cling to walls for an indefinite period of time. Alex is also capable of gliding, by making his biomass lighter in the air and ejecting small amounts of mass for further propulsion.
- Superhuman Endurance: Mercer's endurance far exceeds that of a human's by leaps and bounds. His body no longer possesses weak bones or vital organs, rendering him immune to otherwise debilitating injury. This biological change allows him to survive falls from any height completely unharmed. Bullets of any caliber will pass through his body, causing very little damage that heals instantly. He can withstand direct hits from rockets, hellfire missiles and tank shells, which cause only moderate damage. The superhumanly strong blows of the various type of Hunters and super soldiers cause the most damage of any type of attack. His superhuman stamina allows him to be physically active at all times without tire.
- Healing Factor: Alex's body has vast powers of self-regeneration. So long as he is properly nourished, Alex can restore his health and heal any wounds within moments. He can heal a small amount of his health even without consuming any creature. Examples include regenerating bullet wounds instantly after being shot, regenerating a massive hole in his face after being shot point-blank by General Randall, and reconstructing his entire physical form from non-descript piles of biomass and the biomass of a crow within minutes of being blown apart by a nuclear explosion. Alex also seems to have a robust immune system. Though unable to counter a parasite which had been introduced into his body without outside help, he gained a growing immunity to bloodtox with repeat exposure.
- Superhuman Senses: Alex's vision and hearing is enhanced, allowing him to see beyond the visible spectrum and hear across great distances even with physical insulation. He has thermal vision which allows him to locate heat signatures, and infected vision which can detect large concentrations of the virus and tap into the hive mind itself.
- Main article: Offensive Powers
Alex can form his biomass into a variety of weapons, mostly slicing or crushing tools. In combat, he either uses biomass to augment his strength or create various blades and clubs.
- Main article: Defensive Powers
Alex can use two defensive powers, guarding him against enemy attacks and weapons. Alex has two forms of defense, the Armor, and the Shield.
- Main article: Disguise
Alex has the ability to assume the physical form of any human he's consumed, though for gameplay purposes the player is limited to the last human they consumed. In this manner, Alex can infiltrate the military as one of them, duck out of sight and emerge as someone else to evade pursuit, and in general avoid drawing attention by disguising himself as someone else.
Personality and characteristics
Perhaps as a result of his difficult childhood, Alex is a cold individual, both paranoid and sociopathic. Most notably, prior to his human death at Penn Station, he released the deadly Blacklight virus simply to spite those who denied him information. His motivations and plans are utterly personal, and he rarely takes human cost into account, being able to murder scores of humans without remorse or hesitation.
However, Alex is not completely heartless; he deeply trusts and cares for his younger sister Dana, having been the only real paternal figure for her, and had what can be assumed to be a loving relationship with Karen Parker.
Unfortunately, after repeated betrayals and mishaps during his time away from NYZ after the initial outbreak, Alex decided that stopping the outbreak was a mistake and started a new one himself to usher in a new race; he claimed he was making a better world by doing so. Despite his megalomaniacal ambitions, he appeared to retain some form of affection for Dana; when he discovered that she was plotting against him alongside James Heller, he chose to seal her in a bank vault rather than simply killing her.
While the virus itself can take anybody's form through consumption, in its typical form Zeus looks identical to the deceased Gentek scientist Alex Mercer due to the Blacklight Virus recreating Mercer's body down to the genetic level.
Alex has very pale skin, probably a result of being the Blacklight Virus since his skin appeared tanner in his picture with Karen Parker. His eyes constantly have a sickly gray tinting around them and he has light blue eyes.
While barely seen without his hood, he has curly brown hair that he supposedly kept slicked back, although it's not known exactly what his hair looked like post-reanimation since he never dropped his hood.
The "clothes" worn by Mercer aren't actually clothes, but biomass, mimicking the outfit Alex Mercer wore to Penn Station the night of his death. On his upper body he wears three layers of clothes: a button-up white shirt kept partially buttoned, a plain gray hoodie, and a black leather jacket with a red tribal design on the back. On his lower body he wears plain blue jeans and black shoes. It should be noted that Alex's clothing is physically a part of his anatomy and therefore he is unable to take them off without shapeshifting.
- In the beta of Prototype, Alex was depicted with a black bubble jacket and white hoodie. He was later changed so as to differ from Altaïr from Assassin's Creed.
- It is mentioned in a bio for Alex, located on the official Prototype website, that he has blue eyes and brown hair, although in game his eyes appear bluish-silver, and his hair is in fact black. His bio also states that he is five feet and ten inches (5'10"), weighs 190 pounds in completely human form, and is twenty-nine years old.
- His official bio also states his "personality traits" which are: distant, predatory, super-intelligent, terrifying, vengeful, blank, and searching.
- In an Web of Intrigue node, it is speculated by Blackwatch operatives that Alex is the first and only male Runner in the history of the evolution of Blacklight virus.
- When you activate a power, stand idle for a few minutes. Alex will do some action that resembles his current power. Ex. With the HammerFists, he beats his fists together.
- Alex's jacket colors are the colors of the two major factions in the game, Blackwatch and The Infected.
- Tim Bennison, the executive producer of Prototype, described Alex Mercer as one of the most powerful video game characters ever created.
- Dennis Detwiller, the senior designer of Prototype, said there is "no cute fuzzy bunny in Alex Mercer's future." This quote hinted Alex's eventual death at the hands of James Heller.
- NECA released an action figurine of Mercer with his Blade power active.
- Alex believed that humanity was dying and that human beings had no regards for anybody but themselves, so Alex created the "Evolved" to start a new race. During his and Heller's final confrontation, Alex consumed Sabrina Galloway and the remaining Evolved to make him strong enough to defeat Heller. By doing this, he was creating an act of selfishness (going against what he was trying to fight) because he was concerned for his own existence and not that of Sabrina or the remaining Evolved.
- All of Alex's offensive powers were used by him at some point in Prototype 2 except for the Musclemass power.
- As a reward for completing all 5 weeks of Radnet content, players will receive an Alex Mercer skin so you can appear to look like Mercer while playing Prototype 2.
Prototype Wiki has a collection of images related to Alex Mercer on it's Gallery page.
Notes and Reference