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Leon was created by Hideki Kamiya as a contrast to the male protagonist of the original Resident Evil game, Chris Redfield, who Kamiya felt was the "blunt, tough-guy type". Though he admitted that while he was a fan of a character like Chris, as it had already been done, he opted to take Leon's development in a different direction. As a result he created Leon to have some degree of weakness, but "ultimately a man who was on the ball". He was surprised at how popular Leon had become, praising his evolution into a "cool looking guy" for Resident Evil 4, adding that he "fell in love all over again."[3] While he was originally designed as a veteran police officer, he was changed to a rookie after the original version of Resident Evil 2 was scrapped.
Leon is voiced by Paul Haddad in Resident Evil 2, and Paul Mercier in Resident Evil 4, the film Resident Evil: Degeneration, and Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles.

Kennedy first appears as one of two protagonists in Resident Evil 2. Leon is a recently-hired police officer for the Raccoon Police Department. He arrives late to Raccoon City on his first day on the job and finds the town already overrun by zombies. He works with Claire Redfield and attempts to escape the city alive. He is partnered with Ada Wong, a woman claiming to be looking for her missing boyfriend. His attempt to find an escape route leads him to Umbrella's underground laboratory, where he confronts several of Umbrella's mutant creatures.
The epilogues of Resident Evil 3 reveal that Leon joins a US government agency. In Resident Evil: Survivor, the game's protagonist, Ark Thompson, goes to Sheena Island at the request of Leon. In Resident Evil Code: Veronica, Claire gets in touch with Leon when she is trapped on Rockfort Island, and Leon relays her whereabouts to Chris Redfield. Leon also appears in Resident Evil: Gaiden.
Leon returns as the protagonist of Resident Evil 4. He is a special agent for the US government, and is assigned to rescue the newly-elected President's daughter, Ashley Graham, who is being held somewhere in Europe. Her kidnappers turn out to be part of a cult known as Los Illuminados, which has taken control of the local villagers with parasites known as Las Plagas. Leon teams up once again with Ada Wong, and Luis Sera, a former researcher for Osmund Saddler, and the merchant, a strange character who sells guns and remedies in different locations.
Leon also appeared in Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles.
In other media
Leon once again teams up with Claire Redfield in the film Resident Evil: Degeneration in order to stop another outbreak of the T-virus, as a special agent of the United States government. Leon will return in the sequel to Degeneration called Resident Evil: Damnation.
In an interview, Paul W. S. Anderson said if Resident Evil: Afterlife succeeds, he will do a fifth film and would like Leon to make an appearance.

Since his appearance in Resident Evil 2, Leon has received highly positive reception. Nintendo Power listed Leon as their 14th favourite hero, stating that he went from a "glorified meter maid with a bad haircut" to a tough guy. IGN has featured him in numerous articles, numerously calling him one of the two main characters of the series along with Chris Redfield,[11] also describing him in one article as the "straight-laced hero" of Resident Evil. Another article makes yet another comparison between the two characters, calling him the "determined guy clawing his way up the ladder."[13] They noted their preference for the character as a male protagonist over Chris, and twice named him as a character they wished to see in crossover titles, describing him as an "intimidating hero" and a "unique breed of ass kicker".[16] IGN editors Phil Pirrello and Richard George listed him as eighth in their Super Smash Bros. character wish list, calling him one of the best things to happen to the Resident Evil series. IGN editor Lucas M. Thomas included him in a list of Capcom characters who should be in, stating that there were more Resident Evil fans on Nintendo consoles than there were fans of Mega Man and Street Fighter. GameDaily predicted that Leon along with Claire Redfield would be the protagonists of the next main Resident Evil title, citing the pattern of alternating protagonists and because Leon hadn't been seen since Resident Evil 4.
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