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|“|| Richard: You know what they say about good times, don't you?
Richter: Yeah...Good times never last.
|~ Richter to Richard.|
Richter Berg, also known as The Rat or The Assassin, is a major character in the top-down shooter videogame series, Hotline Miami. He serves as the secondary antagonist of Hotline Miami and returns as one of the playable protagonists in its sequel, Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number.
Richter is a man who lives with and takes care of his ailing mother Rosa. After an ultranationalist organization known as 50 Blessings starts sending threatening phone calls to Richter and giving him cryptic instructions, he is reluctantly forced to moonlight as a masked killer who targets criminal hideouts occupied by the Russian Mafia. During his work with 50 Blessings, he ends up crossing paths with Jacket.
In Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number, Richter is one of the two protagonists of the 1989 setting (alongside Jake), serving as the main protagonist of "Act 5: Intermission".
During initial encounters with Richter in the first game, Jacket seemed to perceive Richter as an impatient and rude individual who (unlike Nicke) offered Jacket nothing for free in each of the stores he showed up in. However, these meetings with Richter were likely meant to foreshadow the fact that Richter eventually kills the girl and attempts to murder Jacket, putting him in a coma and leading to Jacket perceiving him as a hostile force in his dreams. In reality, Richter is an unemployed loner who is simply looking after his mother Rosa, who suffers from an unknown illness which renders her unable to move around much and leaves her prone to fainting. Because of this, Richter is shown to deeply worry for his mother and once 50 Blessings threatens to kill Rosa, he reluctantly cooperates with their instructions, willing to do anything to keep her safe from their wrath. As such, he is no stranger to violence, carrying out his murders brutally and efficiently as requested by 50 Blessings.
Richter is mostly shown to be a calm and selfless individual, even in the face of potential death. Initially taken by surprise over Jacket surviving from Richter's attempted murder, he apologizes for killing his girlfriend and shows genuine remorse for doing so, showing very little resistance and accepting his fate due to knowing that Jacket came after him for revenge. Once Richard tells Richter to prepare for his death, he willingly accepts his fate once again, proclaiming that there is "no need to fight it then" once Richard tells him there is nothing he can do to stop the inevitable.
In addition to feeling remorseful for murdering Jacket's girlfriend, he seemingly takes responsibility for his actions against the Russian Mafia due to not only showing no clear disdain at all towards his Russian targets or not showing any interest in 50 Blessings' political motives, but also refusing to talk to his mother about the killings, telling her she is better off not knowing since the phone calls themselves threatened Rosa's life. Also unlike Jacket, Biker or Jake, he does not seem to show any bloodthirsty traits and is not shown to get enjoyment out of his killings, despite being a violent and dangerous murderer. Many of these factors present Richter as being one of the more sympathetic characters in the series.
Richter is a bald man in his thirties who appears to have a light skin tan, green eyes, and thick dark brown eyebrows. He dons a green jacket with cyan elbow pads, a pair of cyan tactical gloves and a pair of jeans. Similarly to the rest of 50 Blessings' animal mask-wearing operatives, Richter wears a rat mask during each of his missions.
Before following 50 Blessings' orders, not much is known about Richter's backstory beforehand. In his room, Richter is shown to own various athletic trophies and medals, a green hat resembling a military helmet, a green bed heavily resembling the military beds shown in Hawaii and a green supply box next to his bed. This could hint at Richter possibly having military experience prior to the events of the games. In addition to having a known mother, his "loner" father seems to be absent from their home, with some roses always placed on the opposite side of Rosa's bed, indicating that his father may have passed away at some point.
With the rise of Russian power within the United States after losing a war against the Soviet Union, Anti-Russian sentiments began to rise, leading to the foundation of a nationalist organization known as 50 Blessings, who send out strange, seemingly misplaced phone calls to people instructing them to kill members of the Russian Mafia by the dozen. Despite not owning 50 Blessings' newsletter, Richter starts receiving these phone calls, which instruct him to send cryptic phone calls to other people. The phone calls also instruct Richter to go around town and mark graffiti at certain buildings, specifically a red circle with three lines across. Richter pays no attention to the phone calls and their instructions initially, simply dismissing them as prank calls. However, the messages left on his phone gradually become more threatening. It is presumed that he had started recording the messages and keeping them on cassette tapes during March.
On April 2, Richter wakes up to find that his car had been torched by 50 Blessings in retaliation for not following their orders. Richter finds a new message on his answering machine: "Susan" from Miami funeral service has scheduled an appointment for the funeral of "Rosa Berg" at Northeast 139th Street. The message is a thinly veiled threat telling Richter that his mother will be killed if he does not carry out their orders. Fearful for his mother's life, Richter is forced to cooperate and heads upstairs to Rosa's room. He asks a bedridden Rosa if she wants any breakfast, to which Rosa declines. Rosa then tells Richter that she had a dream about Richter and his father peacefully staring out to the sea on the beach, but recalls there was a feeling in the air that something bad was about to happen. As they both shrug it off, Richter tells Rosa that he needs to head out for a while and promises to make her dinner once he gets back. Richter heads out to catch a bus to Northeast 139th Street.
Obtaining a rat mask through unknown means, Richter arrives at a cafe flying USSR flags outside, seeing that it is owned by a large group of armed Russian gangsters. Richter bursts into the cafe, knocking over and disarming a gangster on the way in, grabs the gangster's gun and opens fire on the Russians, killing all of them. After clearing out the ground floor, he heads upstairs and kills the rest of the mobsters occupying the building before leaving. Richter heads back home to find that Rosa has gotten out of bed to make her own dinner. Concerned, Richter tells his mother that the doctor told her not to move around too much, but Rosa assures him that she still has some fight left in her.
On April 10, Richter receives another call: "Andrew" from Package Express Shipping asks Richter to deliver some goods at Northeast 144th Street, asking Richter to not be late and tells him to wear his "uniform". Richter then tells Rosa that he is heading out for a while. Rosa was hoping for Richter to give her a bath, but he assures her he will once he gets back. Assuming Richter is going for a job interview, Rosa sends Richter on his way. Via another bus ride, Richter arrives at an abandoned building filled with Russian mobsters. During his mission, he discovers that the building is housing a large amount of crates containing military weaponry imported from the USSR underneath its floorboards. However, Richter kills all of the Russian mobsters in the building without delay and returns home. Once he gets back home, he finds that Rosa has fainted in the middle of the bathroom floor. Richter carries her upstairs to her bed and wakes her up. Worried, Richter asks if Rosa is okay and if he needs to call the doctor. Rosa tells him she tried to give herself a bath but passed out along the way, assuring Richter that she will be fine by next morning. Richter then lets her rest for the night.
On April 23, Richter receives another call: "Dan" from Bush and Flower arranges for Richter to work on some gardening for a house on Northwest 66th Street. Before telling her he'll be going out, Rosa asks Richter if he would tell her if he got into any kind of trouble. Knowing about 50 Blessings threatening to take her life, Richter tells Rosa a white-lie, saying that he is going out to meet with a friend at the bar. Rosa is happy to hear it, worrying that Richter was a bit of a loner like his father and asks if he could invite one of his friends over. Richter takes it into consideration before heading out. Richter arrives at a Russian Mafia-occupied house and begins his mission. He successfully kills all of the Russians in the building and flees the scene.
After April is over, it is assumed that Richter takes on more jobs over time. However, while Jacket is in his coma reliving the events of his killings, he starts to perceive Richter in his dreams during events prior to his coma. On May 27, after witnessing a bizarre hallucination of Biker's squirming corpse, Richter suddenly appears in the bathroom of Nicke's convenience store before Jacket leaves.
On May 31, Jacket visits Nicke's pizzeria after narrowly escaping from a SWAT raid. However, Richter is there instead, with blood on his face after killing Nicke. Richter offers Jacket nothing and impatiently orders him to hurry up, telling him that the pizzeria is closing soon.
On June 3, Richter is behind the counter in a VHS store armed with a hammer, with Nicke's dead body lying next to him once again. Once Jacket arrives, Richter asks what he wants before supposedly recognizing him and asks if they have met before. Richter offers Jacket nothing, prompting Jacket to leave.
On June 8, Jacket visits the bar to find Richter occupying it as with the previous buildings he has visited. There, Richter sharply orders Jacket to leave, as the bar is currently serving VIPs only for the night.
In reality however, after Jacket has finished clearing out an office complex full of mobsters, Richter seemingly receives a call from 50 Blessings, who order Richter to kill Jacket. Richter complies with the job, and bursts into Jacket's apartment only to find his girlfriend there, gunning her down in the bathroom with a suppressed Uzi and killing her. After the murder, Richter sits on Jacket's couch and patiently waits for his arrival. Once Jacket comes back home and finds his girlfriend dead, he finds Richter on the couch, who greets him. He tells Jacket he was wondering when he would get back before shooting him. After the crime, Richter is eventually apprehended by the police and taken into custody.
Despite Richter completing his task, Jacket had survived Richter's attack and has since been in a coma. While in hospital, Jacket overhears a conversation between a doctor and a police officer, who claims that Richter is in police custody, but refuses to speak about the murders. On July 21, Jacket wakes up from his coma and, intent on hunting down Richter for what he did, escapes from the hospital in his gowns and heads back to his apartment.
After changing himself into some normal clothes, Jacket attacks the police station holding Richter in custody and kills all of the police officers inside. Jacket finds the keys to Richter's cell and confronts him, taking Richter by surprise. Initially asking how Jacket survived, Richter cuts straight to the point. He apologizes for killing Jacket's girlfriend, assuring him that his motives for the attack were not personal due to him only following orders. Assuming that Jacket wants answers from him, Richter informs Jacket that he unfortunately does not have anything more to tell him. Jacket then attacks Richter either by hitting him across the face or non-fatally shooting him, prompting Richter to speak up more. Richter tells Jacket that the two of them may not actually be different from each other, and asks him if he has been receiving strange phone calls. Richter then informs him that there might be a case file somewhere in the station that could provide Jacket with more answers than him. Richter feels inclined to ask Jacket to spare him, but knowing full well that Jacket came after him for revenge, accepts his fate. Depending on the player's choice, Jacket can choose to spare Richter or kill him by strangling him to death. Since the sequel shows that Richter had survived the events of 1989, it is presumed that Jacket spares Richter regardless of player choice. Jacket then steals the police file on the case and flees the station, to which he single handedly brings down the Russian Mafia afterwards.
With the Russian Mafia left devastated due to Jacket's actions, 50 Blessings begin to cease their operations. Since 1989, Richter has since been transferred to the Miami federal correctional institution for his crimes. With Jacket also arrested, he has also been transferred to the same prison.
On July 20, while Richter is waiting for a trial in the visitation room of the prison, he receives an unexpected visit from two mysterious men: The Janitors, who, unbeknownst to Richter, were the ones responsible for the phone call operations within Miami. Bewildered, Richter asks who they are and why they are visiting him. Jonatan tells him that they are here to tie up some loose ends as a precaution. Still confused, Richter states that he does not understand. Dennis tells him that they did not expect him to and have come to say their goodbyes. The Janitors tell Richter that he served them well and snidely tell him to "take care" before departing. Richter gets up and leaves the visitation room, intending to head to the cafeteria.
On the way to the cafeteria however, Richter is suddenly blocked by three security guards, forcing Richter to head to head out to the prion's yard. He finds himself in the basketball court, where many of the inmates watch from outside cheering. In the middle of the court is a muscular inmate with 50 Blessings tattoos, who tells Richter to "say [his] prayers" before attacking him. After Richter evades several of the inmate's attacks, one of the inmates watching from outside throws a large pipe into the basketball court. Richter grabs the pipe and bludgeons the muscular inmate across the head, killing him. As Richter heads back inside, he finds the prison alarms blaring and witnesses three armed inmates getting gunned down by a SWAT team. With the prison experiencing a serious riot, Richter is forced to fight his way out. After fighting through and killing many of the security guards, he stumbles upon a locker room for the security guards. Seizing the opportunity, Richter steals a guard's outfit from a locker and disguises himself as a security guard. However, Richter is then forced to fight many of the inmates in the prison, who have armed themselves with sharpened toothbrushes, glass shards and some of the guards' firearms and batons. Since he heads through the solitary confinement block of the prison, Richter encounters who are mentally deranged, cannibalistic and extremely aggressive. In spite of the odds, Richter successfully manages to fight his way out of the prison and comes across the SWAT team, who mistake him for one of the security guards and prepare him for evacuation. Richter then hurries into the SWAT van and escapes from the prison.
During November, with 50 Blessings' operations within Miami gone, freelance writer Evan Wright arranges a meeting with Rosa Berg as part of his personal investigation for his book about the masked killings.
On November 11, Evan arrives at Richter's old home, with Rosa still living in it. Rosa apologizes to Evan about not getting the door for him, telling him that her legs are not what they used to be. Evan asks her if she could tell him about Richter, due to being one of the many masked killers from 1989. Rosa laments that Richter was a sweet child and has no idea how Richter got mixed up in the killings, with Evan assuring her that it must have come as a shock. She recalls that Richter had started behaving differently back then, frequently going out and claiming to meet friends despite knowing that he was a loner. Rosa states that she felt guilty about holding Richter back all the time due to him being her caretaker. Evan then asks Rosa if Richter ever told her about his activities, but Rosa tells him that Richter refused to talk about any of the killings between each visit to him in prison. Rosa then informs Evan that she is still in contact with him, but will not disclose his whereabouts due to the fact that he is a fugitive. Evan asks Rosa if he can talk to him, to which Rosa says that she will give Evan's phone number to Richter the next time he calls her. Evans thanks her and asks if he can look around the house. Rosa says he is welcome to do so, telling him that she has left Richter's room the way it was since he was arrested. Evan enters Richter's room upstairs and finds a pile of cassette tapes, two of which being dated "March 10th" and "March 16th". Satisfied with his findings, Evan departs Richter's old home and heads back home by bus.
Speaking to Evan
Several weeks later, while Evan is writing his book in the middle of a breakup with his wife, Sharon, who has taken their kids with her, he receives a phone call. Evan pauses from his writing and picks up the phone to find that Richter is on the other line. He tells Evan he has plenty of time to explain his story to him, but only in exchange for a plane ticket. Evan says he will accept the deal as long as Richter's story is substantial enough. Satisfied, Richter asks Evan where he wants him to begin with the story, to which Evan requests to take it from the beginning.
Richter then recounts everything that has happened to him since April 2, 1989, from the phone calls to the killings, to his arrest after killing Jacket's girlfriend and his escape from prison. As a result, Evan had wrote countless notes while listening to Richter's story. Once Richter has finished telling him everything, Evan asks where Richter has gone to after his escape. Richter reveals that he had fled the country to Hawaii. He tells Evan that he does not want a plain ticket for himself, but because he is worried for his mother instead due to her declining health, and wishes to reunite with Rosa and take care of her. Evan promises to get a plane ticket for Richter's mother, telling him that either way, it wouldn't feel right not to. Richter's story turns out to be exactly what Evan needed to finish his book: the first-hand experiences of a masked killer, as well as one who had directly encountered Jacket, the mask maniac himself. With the information gathered, Evan says his goodbyes to Richter by thanking him immensely.
As Evan goes back to write his book, he finds a note from Sharon before she left him. Depending on the player's choice, Evan can choose to either abandon the book and reconcile with his family, or continue writing the book at the cost of his family.
On December 28, Evan did indeed get a plane ticket for Rosa Berg, as it turns out that Richter has reunited with his mother in Hawaii. They are seen together watching television in a house in Hawaii. Depending on which choice the player made as Evan, either a posthumous interview with Martin Brown or an interview with Evan will be broadcast on the TV. However, whatever Richter and Rosa are watching on the TV is suddenly interrupted by an emergency broadcast. It is revealed that during a press conference, the president of the United States and the president of the Soviet Union have both been assassinated by a group of armed men lead by a US Army General as part of a "coup d'etat". The broadcast also reports that the Soviet Union has perceived this attack as an act of war.
As Richter turns off the TV, Rosa suddenly pulls a rooster mask out of a bag and puts it on. Richard, the man in the rooster mask who has visited many of the other playable characters in the series, then speaks to Richter, noting that Richter has gotten quite comfortable in Hawaii. He asks Richter if he knows of the saying about "good times". Richter simply replies that "Good times never last", with Richard stating that he is correct, informing him that everything will be over soon. Richard tells Richter that something bad is about to happen, in which there is nothing anyone can do about it and no one has much time left to escape it. With Richter realizing he cannot prevent what is about to happen to him, he calmly accepts his fate, stating that there is "no need to fight it". Richard is satisfied that Richter understands, and reassures him that leaving this world is not as scary as it sounds. At that moment, Richter and Rosa are suddenly killed by a nuclear explosion. A nuclear bomb had been dropped on Hawaii while simultaneously, a nuclear bomb is dropped on Miami, as a result of America and Russia engaging in a nuclear war, thus marking the culmination of 50 Blessings' plans.
The Table Sequence
The Table Sequence plays out each time the player starts a new game after already completing Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number. Richter is seen among the rest of the playable protagonists in the game, meeting with Richard in a dark room, who knows of each character's fates. Mistaking Richard for Jacket due to him wearing Jacket's overalls, he attempts to apologize to him for killing the girl. Richard interrupts him, saying that he appreciates the apology, but tells him he is not who Richter thinks he is. He tells Richter that remorse is unfortunately not going to get him anywhere, as his fate has already been sealed. A flash of light then turns Richter's body into a skeleton due to him being killed in a nuclear explosion.