As a Sergeant in the U.S Marine Corps, James Heller was called overseas during the events of the original Prototype. After the virus returned again, however, his wife, Collette, and daughter, Amaya, were butchered by the Infected when they stormed the building. Learning from Blackwatch that this form of the contagion, labelled the "Mercer Strain", was supposedly unleashed by Alex Mercer himself, Heller vows revenge and rejoins the service in an attempt to take him down.
Mercer had since been spotted multiple times in the Red Zone of NYZ, so Heller voluntered in an last-ditch effort to take his revenge.
During one of the excursion into the Red Zone, Heller's APC was attacked by Mercer himself. After disabling the vehicle by throwing a car, Mercer began to inspect the bodies of the soldiers, not having noticed Heller was still alive. After a brief scuffle, with Heller unable to inflict any lasting damage to Mercer, the latter retreated farther into the Red Zone, not finding him worth the effort to kill him. However, Heller followed. Mercer observed Heller's rage-fuelled determination, which allowed him to survive unharmed for several minutes in the Red Zone, even evading a titanic monster and managing to kill a Brawler form with nothing but a combat knife. Seeing the potential in such a man, Mercer confronted him again, this time invading his body with tendrils and infecting him with the most highly evolved strain of the Virus.
After be evacuated from the Red Zone, and unconscious Heller is taken to an undisclosed Gentek facility. Wanting to learn how Heller could still be alive since his body is flooded with the virus, Dr. Koenig tries to convince Colonel Rooks to allow him to perform a few tests so as to find the answer, but the Colonel is too worried about Heller, who he refers to as "another Mercer", getting loose. So, he orders the doctor to burn him. Heller survives the inferno and escapes the facility, coming face-to-face, again, with Alex Mercer. Mercer tries to convince Heller that he wasn't the one that released the virus and it is in fact a bio-weapons test being conducted, jointly, by Gentek and Blackwatch. Heller agrees to help stop Blackwatch's operations around the city.
After escaping from both the Gentek facility and a swarm of Blackwatch soldiers in the Yellow Zone, Heller meets up with an old friend of the family, Father Guerra. After explaining to Guerra what he had been through, and asking if he could assist him in loosening Blackwatch's control in the zone. Father Guerra isn't convinced it can even be done, but changes his mind once Heller puts a brawler hunter down that Blackwatch had let loose in the Yellow Zone.
Guerra then aided Heller in his hunt for Colonel Rooks by helping him hack into Blacknet which allowed Heller to eventually track down Rooks, however Heller decides not to kill him because he realises that he can get information from Rooks without him knowing and use it to disrupt Blackwatch operations.
After consuming many scientists Heller eventually finds Dr Koenig, who convinces him that he wants to help and directs Heller to Project Orion which is used to create super soldiers, Heller successfully stopped Project Orion but after consuming the lead scientist he discovered Koenig was trying to get him killed so once again Heller turned his sights to Koenig.
Koeing contacted Blackwatch to evacuate him, but Heller managed to destroy the soldiers guarding the base where he was hiding. During the evacuation, Koenig boarded one of the gunships and ordered the pilot to attack Heller instead of evacuating. However, Heller destroyed the gunship and tried to consume Koenig, only to be attacked and discover he was one Mercer's Evolved.
Koenig stated that Alex Mercer required someone inside Gentek to get information. He then began to mock Heller, claiming that he wanted to prove to Mercer that he should be his second in command, and to do that, he had to kill Heller. The two then fought to the death. Eventually, however, Heller overpowered Koenig and consumed him, gaining the knowledge that Mercer had spies in both Gentek and Blackwatch. An irritated Alex Mercer then confronted Heller and confirmed that Mercer had people within Blackwatch and Gentek and planned for him and Heller to lead the attack on them in order to wipe them out, Heller asks if the Virus will be wiped out as well to which Mercer replies "of course" ;however, Heller instantly knew that Mercer had lied to him and went to find Father Guerra in the green Zone.
In the Green Zone Heller Went to meet with Father Guerra who showed him a devastating truth, footage of Alex Mercer entering Penn Station, the site of the first outbreak and releasing the virus a second time, an enraged Heller realised that Mercer was responsible for all of it, including the deaths of his wife and daughter, however he realises that they have a lead, using Kreonig's memories he discovered that Sabrina Galloway the CFO of Gentek was one of Mercer's Evolved so he set off to find her.
When Heller first confronts Galloway, she barters for her life with the locations of Mercer's other Evolved subordinates. Sabrina told Heller that despite her ability to detect other Evolved, only an Evolved named Roland and Heller himself could evade her senses. She assisted Heller on a mission to find Roland, notifying him that Roland is disguised a Gentek VIP in need an extraction and tracking him to a lair after his initial escape, however Roland manages to escape once Heller discovers which VIP it is, Galloway does eventually track down Roland again and Heller successfully consumes him.
Guerra discovers that Gentek is planning to release an apparent cure to the Virus and sends Heller to investigate, Heller goes to find that the leaders of the project are all Evolved and goes to hunt them down one by one. After consuming Dr Archer he realised that whitelight and been contaminated with Mercer's DNA in order to spread the virus once it is released.
Guerra then locates the whitelight facility and Heller's heads to it in order to prevent if from being released, Mercer confronts him there and attempted to kill him, though ultimately failing, and fled the scene, distracting Heller by sending a Goliath to release the Whitelight, after Heller stopped the Goliath he received a call from Guerra who told him that the infected were attacking him, Heller rushed to Guerra to try and save him but was too late.
Something To Live For
A grieving Heller then heard Guerra's contact Athena attempting to contact Guerra but when she sees Heller she realises that Guerra is dead and tells Heller to come to the Red Zone telling him her name is Dana Mercer and she has information about his daughter, Heller realises that his daughter is alive and goes to meet Dana.
When he meets Dana he immediately wants to find Amaya, however Dana manages to convince him to save NY from the plans of both her brother and Blackwatch while she looks for his daughter.
After disrupting both the plans of both sides Heller then went to track down his daughter but he eventually loses his lead and reaches a dead end, Rooks then contacts Heller and shows him that he has his daughter, ignoring Dana's warnings an enraged Heller attacks the Gentek building head on, however just when his daughter is within reach Sabrina Galloway kidnaps her and brings her to Alex Mercer.
Murder Your Maker
Tracking down Galloway, Heller is confronted by Mercer and the rest of the Evolved. Mercer gives Heller one last chance to join him, saying that he plans to use Maya, who has inherited the unique genetic sequence that makes Heller so powerful, to be the "mother" of a new, Evolved Human race. When Heller refuses, Mercer accepts this - and then murders and consumes all of the other Evolved, including Galloway, to make himself more powerful for the upcoming fight. Brutal combat follows, but in the end, Heller literally rips Mercer's powers out of him, and Mercer bitterly offers him his last words; "Welcome to the top of the food chain." - before Heller tears Mercer apart and consumes him. With the massive spike in his personal power level and his unique control over the tendrils ability, something Mercer never possessed, Heller sends his tendrils out to encompass the entire Red Zone, absorbing and consuming each and every one of the infected, so that in one fell swoop, New York is purged of the Blacklight virus.
Using Mercer's memories, Heller was able to locate and rescue Amaya and Dana from the bank vault they had been locked in, although seeing her father's mutated arms scared Maya, as she recognized what she saw from the Evolved. They then looked at New York from a rooftop where James began to walk away, feeling that he no longer has a place in Maya's life, however Maya stops him and they embrace. Dana, though, raises a very good question.
"What are we going to do now?"
Powers and abilities
Before being infected with the DX-1118 strain, aka the Mercer strain, of the Blacklight virus, Heller was a highly competent Marine with hundreds of kills attributed to him during his time patrolling the Red Zone. Proficient with a large number of armaments including sub-machine guns, assault rifles, explosives, and even hand-to-hand fighting techniques. Heller was skilled enough to kill a brawler hunter with nothing but a knife and was even able to injure Mercer slightly before being overpowered.
Heller's abilities granted by exposure to the "Mercer strain" is nearly identical to Mercer himself. They include, but are not limited to:
- Increased strength - After infection Heller is now capable of ably throwing cars and overpowering super-soldiers and Blacklight creatures.
- Increased speed and agility - Nearly identical to Mercer. Heller is able to sprint up buildings and jump and glide hundreds of feet through the air.
- Endurance and Healing Factor - Equal to Alex Mercer, Heller is able to heal nearly instantly from most injuries.
- "Hunting" sense - A ability apparently unique to Heller. A sort of point-radar sonar appearing, at first, as an outwardly growing sphere, then shrinks in on the target; Illuminates their nervous system and allows Heller to pinpoint the targets location.
- Shape-Shifting - The main ability of the Blacklight virus. Allows Heller to rapidly change his appearance to any previously consumed individual. Also allows weaponization of body parts when required, such as blades, increased muscle mass, tendrils, or armour-plating.
"Red Crown, be advised. I'm not in ****ing Blackwatch."
"My name is Sergeant James Heller, and I will destroy Alex Mercer."