Matthew Mercer Gives Life to Leon Kennedy in "Resident Evil 6"

In 1996, horror video games were forever changed when Capcom's "Resident Evil" first chewed its way into the nightmares of Playstation gamers. 16 years later, the survival horror franchise has sold more than 50 million copies with the newest entry, "Resident Evil 6," on sale now for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 consoles. Last weekend, Capcom's "Resident Evil 6" launch party at Lure Nightclub in Los Angeles, CA sported an impressive set up for fans of the franchise to experience the game early on more than a dozen Xbox 360s, listen to live music and mingle with fellow gaming fans.

The spacious club was divided into three separate areas, the first of which played host to musical guests Nas and Miles Mosley. This room led to a corridor, with a spray paint artist decorating faces in the undead style, connecting to a third room containing the Xbox consoles and plenty of delighted "Resident Evil" fans. Both rooms featured platforms populated with dancing undead girls amidst apocalyptic wreckage and a well-stocked bar.

During the event, CBR News spoke with actor Matthew Mercer, who voices Leon Kennedy, leading man and one of three playable characters in "Resident Evil 6." Mercer previously voiced Kennedy in the CG animated film, "Resident Evil: Damnation," and spoke about the experience of recording Kennedy for the game, the title's unique gameplay elements and his favorite ways to die -- at least within the safe confines of the video game.

CBR News: How much time did you spend recording for "Resident Evil 6?"

Matthew Mercer: We started production, recording at least, in February 2011 and finished the final session May of this year. So it's been well over a year in production from the voice over standpoint.

How many times did you have to kill yourself in the recording studio?

Oh man! As long as you work on video games you learn different and unique ways to die, but this game brought it up to a whole new level. I checked off and wrote in boxes deaths I didn't know were possible, like drowning while being strangled by barbed wire and mutating or falling off a cliff on fire and impacting something while caught by tentacles, squeezed in two and then drowned. So it's like -- wait, what?

Can you die for us right now?

Sure, this is "on fire jumping off a cliff, being shot on the way down, bleeding out then impacting and being dragged off by a tentacle and drowned." [Acts out the sound effect]

[Laughs] The game features instances of close combat fighting where you don't need to use a weapon -- what did you pull from for inspiration of your combat vocalizations?

I've worked on a lot of fighting games so I was very used to the idea of combat sounds. For "Resident Evil 6" in particular it was a combination of trying to not go too over the top but also imaging the fact you're kicking the shit out of a zombie. So you want to have a little fun with it. I tried not to go too kung-fu and tried to go more guttural, maybe SEAL-style combat, but also remind myself I'm in a zombie horror survival game where I can be a little [grunts], you know, ridiculous.

What was your favorite line to record in "Resident Evil 6?"

Without any spoilers, there is a point in the game where Leon looks down, shakes his head and says, "Women." Even in the zombie apocalypse... "Women." If every man doesn't feel that moment then I haven't done my job.

As a gamer yourself, what's your favorite "Resident Evil" game besides this one?

Aside from this I'm going to have to go with "Resident Evil 4." Leon was the lead character and he's my favorite character, but also because I enjoyed the over-the-shoulder shooting system -- it was one of the pioneers of that form of gameplay. I'm also kind of partial to the shopkeeper in games. You know, "What you buyin'? What you sellin'? Stranger, stranger -- now that's a weapon!" type of characters.

Are there any unique game mechanic found in "Resident Evil 6" absent from the previous installments?

You can run and shoot at the same time. In previous "Resident Evils," in order to shoot, you had to stop and aim but in this one you can keep moving. Plus you can do dual fire, having a weapon in each hand to fire alternatively. You can jump and roll onto your back and move around -- if something comes at you, you can leap out of the way, land and shoot "John Woo" style. Those are a few things.

Besides "Resident Evil," what are some of your other favorite survival horror games throughout all the platforms you've played?

"Silent Hill" -- "Silent Hill" 2 in particular. To this day whenever I hear a crackling radio I still get nervous. It made me scared while playing and freaked me out. Whenever I'm driving through an area of a town and it gets really foggy my brain immediately starts having anxiety because of "Silent Hill." I'm waiting for some sort of torso with arms to come barreling at me from under a car, it's really messed up. "Fatal Frame" was a great series for the Wii which had four games.

In the coming zombie apocalypse, what's your weapon of choice and your most valuable resource?

Katana. Katana's don't run out of fuel. As for resource... water? A wizard's tower? Zombie's can't do shit against magic, I'd like to think. There hasn't been a zombie apocalypse fantasy game -- that needs to happen pronto. But seriously, a house boat because zombies are not good at swimming.

What else do gamers have to look forward to when they get their hands on "Resident Evil 6?"

It's really, really awesome. It's 40 hours of gameplay between 4 different campaigns. It's the biggest survival horror game I've ever played and I'm excited to be a part of it.

"Resident Evil 6" is available now for XBox 360 & PlayStation 3.

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