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Whaddya buyin'? They've changed the voice of the merchant in Resident Evil 4 and I'm heartbroken

No Mercier.

Some things are eternally etched into your psyche. The last sunset of your favourite beach holiday. The wafting scent of your grandma's cooking. The gravelly drawl of Resident Evil 4's merchant asking "Whaddya buyin?"

OK, one of those things is not like the others, granted, but Paul Mercier's reprisal as the gun-slinging merchant from Resident Evil 4 - my favourite NPC from my favourite video game -will forever occupy a part of my brain.

For the uninitiated, Resident Evil 4 drops the franchise's zombies for the Ganados - a 'flock' of parasitically controlled religious zealots who will stop at nothing to either infect or vivisect you. Think Cordyceps, but before it was cool.

Aoife runs through new Resident Evil 4 Remake gameplay.Watch on YouTube

When I first picked up this game, I was a parasitology student with a floppy emo fringe and a healthy scepticism of religion, so naturally I was very much on Team Leon. However, we were vastly outnumbered by Team Ganados, all of whom were too happy to play the sacrificial lamb. In my moment of need, Leon and I needed an ally.

Enter the merchant.

This walking enigma was a seemingly unassuming traveller like you. Despite his glowing eyes, he was unaffected by the mind-controlling parasites and only too happy to sell you a slightly bigger gun. He was always there when you needed him, offering a gravelly chuckle and what you can only assume to be a grin under the signature purple scarf.

Meeting the merchant was like stepping out of the storm. Despite his timbre, and the simple way he referred to you as Stranger, he brought a unique warmth to this otherwise incredibly hostile place. His comments on the lethality of the weapons, knowing who you were going to point them at, was just a further sign of how on-your-side he was. This well-stocked ally also acted as the eye of the hurricane; because enemies avoided him, you knew you were genuinely, albeit briefly, safe.

Resident Evil 4 Merchant
Resident Evil 4 Merchant
Resident evil 4 merchant
The Merchant.

Much like the embracing smell of your grandmother's cooking (not my grandmother, mind you - nobody could boil cabbage quite like her), the sound of the merchant calling out to you, asking "Whadd'ya buyin'?" and triumphantly telling you he'll buy your treasures at a high price created a neural connection. That voice means not only safety, but a material advantage against the oncoming horde.

And so it was with abject horror that I realised that Mercier doesn't voice the merchant in the upcoming Resident Evil 4 remake. It makes sense that he didn't voice Leon, his other voice credit in the game, as Capcom was obviously going to use the person who voiced Leon in the Resident Evil 2 remake. Continuity is important and the guy voicing Leon is great; Nick Apostolides has voiced a lot of games I love and I don't begrudge him the role.

But the merchant has never been reprised elsewhere as he's only in Resident Evil 4. Given that Mercier is still an active voice actor, bringing him back would have not only brought continuity with the original, but been a really easy way to make fans worldwide happy. And given the easter egg referencing him in Resident Evil Village, I was convinced of his return. I was bitterly disappointed.

However, it's important to remember that for all of my feelings of ownership here, there was no obligation for the devs to use Mercier and there could be reasons for his absence that we're not aware of. Who knows, the new actor might etch themselves into the next generation of gamers' brains the same way Mercier did mine. I'll give him a fair shake when the game comes out, but a good part of me will be missing the merchant from my youth. It's like how everyone has their own Bond or Doctor Who, I suppose.

Mercier or not, one thing is for sure: when I meet the merchant, I'll do what I've always done. I'll return the grin that I just know is beneath the signature purple scarf and I'll ask him, in my gravelliest voice, "Whadd'ya sellin?"