Alex was born to Lillian and Adam Shepherd. Due to his father's history as a soldier, Adam taught Alex various combat skills throughout his childhood. Since the Holloway family worked with the Shepherds on occasion, Alex would often play with Elle Holloway, though they eventually stopped spending time with each other as time went on.
When Alex was eight years old, he was involved in an accident which left him trapped in a schoolbus on the Toluca River during a freak thunderstorm. Alex nearly died of hypothermia but was saved by Dr. Martin Fitch who kept him warm. Details on this can be found in a newspaper article.
When Alex was about nine or ten years old, Joshua was born. Alex's parents' affection for him gradually stopped until they began to show no love towards him at all, displaying sibling favoritism. Despite his younger brother receiving all the attention from his parents, Alex would still often look after Joshua. During every summer, Alex and Joshua went to Toluca Lake together.
When high school began, Alex initially ignored Elle, but the two eventually resumed seeing one another once again. Alex had a strong desire to leave Shepherd's Glen, having become tired of all the pressure to live up to his family's name, but had a hard time discussing this with Elle. He admired Elle for not allowing family pressure to affect her, despite her mother's position as a judge. During his high school days, Alex worked at the docks, filling gas in order to make some money. It is also implied that Alex once did a paper route in order to buy a bike for himself.
After graduating, Alex often visited the Holloway house mainly to see Elle since Adam was often busy, and Lillian remained indifferent. After the summer ended, Shepherd's Glen hosted a large party in 2003 to celebrate its 150th anniversary. Alex worked at the petting zoo to ensure the animals didn't attack the children.
About a week after the anniversary, a certain incident occurred at Toluca Lake in which Alex was responsible and Alex suddenly disappeared without saying goodbye to Elle, leaving her extremely disappointed and somewhat angry. Elle visited Adam and Lillian for information, but Adam simply told her that Alex had left and never said anything further. Alex's status as the "black sheep" of the family was worsened.
Alex has disheveled medium-length brown hair similar to a fauxhawk, pale brown eyes, and some very faint facial hair on the sides of his face.
While the player can change Alex's clothes prior to starting the game, his default attire is composed of what appears to be an M-1965 field jacket, bearing a camouflage pattern similar to M81 Woodland but using a tan colorway; on the left shoulder it carries an American flag with stars forward (a wartime standard symbolizing the stars going forward into battle) and on the right arm it bears the US Army Special Forces tab and sleeve insignia. Beneath his coat he wears a black shirt, as well as gray pants, leather shoes and rubber-lined dog tags later revealed to belong to his father.
During the events of Homecoming, Alex appears rather sullen and grim, focusing mainly on finding his missing brother, Joshua. Similar to James Sunderland, the player can choose Alex's choices, thus his personality can be viewed differently depending on the perspective. He can be seen as compassionate and merciful, or heartless and apathetic. Elle mentions Alex is "one of the calmest people I know", implying he has a natural relaxed and laid-back attitude. However, in-game, he can be very stern and direct to people who frustrate him, especially when they refuse to give him answers or try to lie to him. She also says Alex has "perspective" and he could talk about anything with her for hours.
Alex appears to be somewhat of a loner. Asides from Elle, no mention is made of any other friends. Alex says he hasn't "really been in touch with anyone." Based on a cassette tape, he seemed to enjoy playing "pretend make-believe", and also enjoys comics and watching TV. He also enjoyed playing baseball as a child, and collecting and trading baseball cards.
Perhaps due to Elle seemingly being his only friend, they appear to be very close, with both of them being able to comment on each other's personalities and behaviors. This is evident in the good ending especially, where Alex and Elle hug each other for a relatively long period of time, and walk away leaning on each other. However, all throughout the game, they act rather familiar and caring towards each other.
Alex wants to make a positive difference in the world, some of his quotes include, "I just want to do something that matters" and "I left because I wanted to make a difference and the people around me were too blind to see that I could." He feels as if most people underestimate his true potential. The dialog between Alex and his father hints at two reasons why he chose to believe he was a soldier. His whole life, he believed that his father hated him and thought that enlisting would make his father proud of him. He also wanted to become someone strong and capable of protecting/saving people, most prominently his brother Joshua.
Despite Alex teasing and being jealous of his younger brother, it is known that Alex truly loved Joshua, and Joshua's death was an extremely traumatic event for him. As such, Alex may be suffering from repressed post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), unable to bear the responsibility and burden of Joshua's death.
Silent Hill: Homecoming
Alex is first introduced in a nightmare sequence that takes place in a hospital, where he starts his search for his younger brother, Joshua. Every time he reaches out to his brother and gets closer to him however, Joshua runs away. Further progressing through the hospital, Alex follows Joshua's trail into an elevator. During its descent, Alex hears the screeching of metal, and the elevator car shakes violently before a huge blade is thrust through the door towards him. He jerks awake after being impaled by the Bogeyman in his nightmare, now sitting in the passenger seat of a truck being driven by Travis Grady, who is giving Alex a ride to Shepherd's Glen, Alex's hometown. When Alex makes it to Shepherd's Glen, he realizes the town is covered in a foggy atmosphere, and parts of the roads are missing and have fallen apart. On the way home, he runs into Margaret Holloway, the mother of Elle Holloway, in front of the Town Hall. She acts surprised to see Alex, and tells Alex he should go visit his mother. When he makes it home, his mother, Lillian, is in a near-catatonic state, and tells him that his father, Adam, has gone to look for Joshua. Alex promises his mother to bring Joshua back. While doing this, he takes a gun from his mother's lap. He then hears a sound coming from the basement, where he soon discovers that the monsters from his nightmares are, in fact, real. Alex comes to his father's hunting room and has a flashback of his father stopping him from coming in, shouting at him to never enter that room again. Alex then proceeds to leave the house, finding a hidden way that leads to Rose Heights Cemetery. Eventually, Alex runs into his old childhood friend, Elle Holloway, outside of the police department. She informs him that many other people in the town have started to go missing, and is seen putting up missing posters. When he tells her he is going to go look for his brother, she hands him the radio Deputy Wheeler gave to her, so they can keep in contact. While searching in a graveyard near Alex's house, Alex goes to a repair/junk shop owned by Curtis Ackers, and asks if he could fix the gun he took from his mother. He eventually trades in his gun for a newer gun, and learns that all of the clocks stopped at 2:06 everywhere in the town, and cannot be fixed. Having no choice but to leave Curtis, and more monsters approaching him, Alex made his way again through the cemetery.When Alex unlocks the Bartlett Mausoleum, he discovered a suspicious watch. Alex suddenly fell to the floor, and when he wakes up, he's already in Silent Hill. As Alex goes to the Grand Hotel, he once again runs into Joshua. Navigating through the monster-infested hotel, Alex comes to find a mysterious lady named Carol Doyle who asks him to retrieve "three memories", in exchange of a strange key. As he catches up to Josh, Alex attempts to reach him by jumping through a hole, in which he fails to do so, despite him pleading to Josh to help him up.Alex fell into the hotel's greenhouse and runs into Mayor Sam Bartlett, whom he saw earlier at the cemetery (but did not know it at the time), partly drunk. Bartlett's son, Joey, used to be friends with Joshua. Alex attempts to gain information from Bartlett, but a monster, Sepulcher, comes out and attacks Bartlett, crushing and killing him. When Alex fights and defeats Sepulcher, a hole appears in the floor, and he collapses into it. He awakens later in a prison cell and meets Deputy Wheeler. He tells Wheeler that he is looking for Joshua and tells him what happened to Bartlett. Deputy Wheeler eventually agrees to help Alex escape and find Joshua after learning that Alex too has seen the monsters. Wheeler becomes separated from Alex as a Siam drops through the ceiling. When Alex escapes the jail, he sees Elle being attacked by yet another Siam. After rescuing her, they realize more creatures are coming and both decide to go into the sewers. Alex learns that Elle's sister, Nora Holloway, is also missing. Eventually, they both end up separated, and Alex makes it out of the sewers. Alex receives a radio transmission from Wheeler, telling him to find and meet up with Dr. Martin Fitch. Alex ends up running into Dr. Fitch, who is covered in cuts and blood. Alex follows him into the clinic and enters the room of Scarlet Fitch, Dr. Fitch's daughter. When Alex picks up Scarlet's doll, it begins to deteriorate, losing its hair and eye, and then the room transitions to the Otherworld. Here, he sees Joshua a few times and eventually runs into Dr. Fitch again. Dr. Fitch is seen cutting himself to "repent for his sins." Alex hands Dr. Fitch Scarlet's doll. Dr. Fitch looks at it and starts to ask Alex where he found his daughter's doll, when suddenly the doll looks at Dr. Fitch, causing all of his cuts and scars to bleed profusely. Dr. Fitch drops Scarlet's doll into his pool of blood creating a monster in the likeness of Scarlet. It appears and attacks Dr. Fitch, biting his head off. Alex eventually kills it, and reawakens in the normal clinic, to find that a key was hidden in the doll he found in Scarlet's room. Alex then heads to the Town Hall, and unlocks a secret passageway. While sneaking through the passage and avoiding the Nurses who are guarding the area, Alex finds a ceremonial dagger. The dagger looks like the door handle from Adam's hunting room. When he enters the hunting room back in his house, he finds a key to the attic. Alex goes up to the attic, and has a flashback of his father giving Joshua the family ring. The ring was passed down generation from generation, and was supposedly very important. Joshua was told not to show anyone, not even his brother Alex. After the flashback, Alex finds a note written by his father, saying that he was told he had to choose just one of his sons for something unknown. It also mentions the town of Silent Hill. Alex intends to confront his mother about the note and of Silent Hill. Before his mother can answer his questions, a group of masked people, soldiers of the Order, come and attack Alex and kidnap his mother. As the Order members are in the process of escaping, the door locks itself, and it transforms into the Otherworld. At this point, Alex comes to, and realizes this. In order to escape, Alex has to complete four different puzzles, all of which involve his family's past and the personal guilt of all his family members. After the puzzle, the house returns to normal, and Alex escapes, only to run into Elle, and eventually Wheeler. They agree to go to Silent Hill to find everyone. On the way there, via boat on Toluca Lake, Alex mentions how his and Elle's parents told them to never go to Silent Hill. Elle tells Alex she was wearing a locket she took from her mother's room since her sister vanished. She hands it to Alex, and the boat gets ambushed by the Order. The Order kidnaps Elle and Wheeler and sends them to the penitentiary, while Alex gets knocked unconscious again, and washes ashore near Silent Hill after he slips into the water. After this, Alex attempts to save both Elle and Deputy Wheeler, running into Wheeler along the way. Still looking for Elle, he eventually discovers his mother strapped to a stretching rack, in the process of being tortured. Depending on whether Alex kills Lillian or not, out of mercy, will affect the ending. If he chooses to kill her, Alex will shoot her before the machine rips her in half; if he does not, she will be alive as the machine rips her in half. Alex meets back up with Wheeler and they enter the Otherworld. They eventually find Judge Holloway, strapped to a chair. They try to save her, with Alex unstrapping her as Wheeler goes to shut off gas valves. However, Wheeler gets attacked by a monster, Asphyxia. While Alex proceeds to help Wheeler, it is shown that Judge Holloway was not really scared, but had a devious intent. After Alex defeats Asphyxia, he sees Joshua, who runs outside to the church. Alex followed his brother into the church and enters a confessional booth, where he's told a confession from a man, most likely Adam Shepherd, Alex's father. He tells how they (Alex's parents) feel sorry for always mistreating Alex, and that they really did love him, but they could never show him that love. Alex tries to tell Adam he is sorry, but Adam explains to Alex that he was never a soldier, and that the dog tags and jacket Alex wears are from Adam's own previous duty. He further adds that Alex's delusion of himself as a soldier began after an accident of some kind, and Alex has been in an unspecified mental hospital for years. Alex then sees the Bogeyman of Silent Hill slice Adam in half. Passing through the church, Alex enters a mine shaft and disguises himself in an abandoned Order uniform. He enters an elevator, where he is surprised to see Curtis is also there. They take the elevator down as Curtis chats nonchalantly with him. As the elevator stops, Curtis allows him to go first and clobbers him over the head, knocking him out. Alex reawakens in a room, where he is locked to a chair. Judge Holloway appears, and informs him as to the intent of the Order, and that the true reason the children were missing was because of a ritualistic sacrifice. She then tells Alex that the founding fathers, from the four families: Fitch, Bartlett, Holloway, and Shepherd, were all from the town of Silent Hill. They were allowed to leave the town under one condition: they had to sacrifice one child from each family every fifty years. In doing so, they would protect Shepherd's Glen from the terrors that Silent Hill suffers from, due to the wrath of their god through an appeasement of blood. Though the other sacrifices were made from three families, one family, Shepherd, did not sacrifice their child. Adam never sacrificed either of his sons, thus throwing off the Order. The only thing left was to go back to their original views and back to Silent Hill. Holloway said they needed to kill the townspeople who opposed the change, specifically Alex, Elle and Wheeler. She then attempts to kill Alex using a power drill, and succeeds in causing mild damage to his left thigh, only to die when Alex's restraints fail, and he forces the drill through her jaw. Alex later admits to being glad she died after all that she did. Alex rescues Elle from the facility and kills her intended murderer, Curtis. They work their way through the Order's Lair to find Wheeler severely injured, having had several knives stuck in his chest. Saving him is another option that will affect the ending, requiring the use of a medical kit if chosen to save him. Alex proceeds to find Joshua, leaving Elle behind, and enters a room with the four family tombs with the list of the children who were to be sacrificed. According to the list of children that were supposed to have been sacrificed for the 150th anniversary of Shepherd's Glen, the children were Scarlet Fitch, Joey Bartlett, and Nora Holloway, Elle's missing sister. Alex then realizes his name is also listed as well, and experiences a flashback about Joshua. Alex was never really a soldier in the army as believed. For about four years, he has been in a mental institution, instead of a hospital for war injuries. He then learns what really happened to Joshua: one night, Alex decided to sneak out with Joshua on a boat on Toluca Lake, disobeying his father's orders. Alex teased Joshua, and in retaliation his little brother eventually shows him the ring in hopes of appearing "more special". Alex attempted to take the ring from Joshua, but in doing so, Joshua hit his head on the side of the boat and fell unconscious into the lake. Alex was shocked and screamed for Joshua to no avail. Adam retrieved Joshua's body from the lake, and Alex went into mental shock, leading him to believe he could fix the problem. Adam told Alex there is nothing he can do since Alex was the one who was chosen for sacrifice, and Alex ruined everything for Shepherd's Glen with the pact being broken. Alex's parents sent him to a mental institution and lied to everyone, telling them that Alex instead joined the army. After a flashback, Alex realizes why his parents were always cold towards him, and he is thrown again into the Otherworld. He is confronted by the final boss, Amnion. After defeating the monster, Alex cuts Amnion open and finds the corpse of his brother, Joshua. Alex finally has the chance to apologize to Joshua, and does so, leaving the family ring and his flashlight on Joshua's chest. He walks away, leaving Joshua's body. What happens to him after this point depends on what ending the player receives.
- Alex has some of the most brutal death scenes in the series for a Silent Hill protagonist such as getting his arm sliced off, his throat mauled by a Feral, being sliced in half by a Schism, being decapitated by Scarlet, a drill to the eye, and being drowned alive.
- Alex's original design included his hair being shorter, lighter-colored, and having a slick appearance that is similar to that of Harry Mason. Early screenshots of the game depicted Alex's original hairstyle, even showing him with blonde hair. In the final version, Alex's hair is longer, shaped into a crew-cut, darker, and has more of a disheveled look. In the loading screens, Alex retains his original look; this is a minor mistake by the developers of the game.
- The military M-65 nyco jacket and the "G.I" style flashlight used by Alex are both traditional military equipment issued by the U.S army from 60's well into the 80's, after it was replaced by compact flashlights and gore-tex fatigues. Considering that the game is set in 2007, it is likely that the gear is from Adam's military service days or was acquired by Alex in an attempt to emulate his father and the gear he used when he was a soldier. The tan camouflage indicates service in desert environments such as North Africa or the Middle-East, which could also mean that Alex imagined himself to have served in the recent and ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan which began in 2003, the same year in Shepherd's Glen in which the children were sacrificed and Alex was sent away.
- Isaac Shepherd is Alex's great great great great great grandfather.
- The meaning of the name Alex is "defender of mankind". This is likely a nod to his belief that he is a soldier who protects people. Ironically, Alex wasn't able to save Joshua and his parents; however, near the end of the game, he is given the opportunity to save Wheeler and Elle, thus fulfilling the meaning of his name.
- Unlike Josh and Joey, whose full names are Joshua and Joseph, Alex's full name is not Alexander. Alex is his full name, as evidenced by the Shepherd family sacrificial altar.
- Alex is the only protagonist of the series to have training in combat due to his talent with melee weapons and his physical abilities such as jumping on to his feet immediately after being knocked down and dodging attacks without much trouble. Even though Alex was in a mental hospital for years, he still retained combat skills, even though he is not a soldier at all. Tomm Hulett said in an interview that Alex was trained by his father, Adam.
- As of the events of Homecoming, Alex may be the only living member of the Shepherd family.
- The flag on Alex's jacket is backwards, to note, depending on how old his uniform is, as today's military flag is patched on or put on like this to symbolize the soldier running into combat, with the flag facing the way it is because of the direction the soldier is running. In simpler terms, the flag is flapping in the wind of victory and not retreat.
- Alex appears to have a "love/hate relationship" with water, which could easily be connected to how it was him who was meant to be sacrificed via water instead of his brother. This contradictory emotion towards it can be first noted by Alex examining the gate that would normally lead to the Toluca Lake docks, but is locked. His silent commentary is that he used to spend all his summer days by the lake or on it with the family's canoe, hinting that he loved the water. However, if the player makes Alex investigate the tub in his parent's bathroom, he then claims that it was chaos to try to get him to take a bath, seeing as he vehemently hated doing so. This perplexing outlook on water could very well allude to the Shepherd oath of aquatic sacrifice, even though at the time Alex was oblivious to the pact.
- If the player examines a picture in the Shepherd House of Alex and his family at Toluca Lake, it can be noticed Alex, who is standing in the water, is completely shadowed, unlike the other individuals.
- Alex can read the two inscriptions on the Janus statue in Dargento Cemetery, which implies that he must have some knowledge of the Latin language as there are no English subtitles. These two inscriptions are "I Novus" ("One New") and "XII Vetus" ("Twelve the Old").
- Considering how he was drilled in his thigh repeatedly, it could be surprising that Alex can even walk without limping throughout the Lair level. His pants don't have any blood either.
- Alex appears in the Joke ending of Silent Hill: Book of Memories. He is seen trying to teach Joshua how to swim.