|It's on the house.|
|Position|| US Special Forces Lieutenant (formerly)|
|Age||Late 20s/early 30s|
|Status||Deceased (Atomic blast)|
|Hair||Red (long, with a beard)|
Beard, also known as The Soldier, is a character in Hotline Miami and a playable character in Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number. Though he refers to himself by numerous aliases in Wrong Number as part of a code language, his real name is unknown.
He is seen working at a movie rental store, a pizza place, a mini-mart, and at a bar. He reveals to Jacket that much of what he sees is not real and instead an illusion, indicating that he himself may not be real. He appears to be a friend of Jacket and gives him free items every time he visits without giving him a say, despite Jacket not showing any care for him (although this is presumably because Jacket has no spoken dialogue).
Events of Hotline MiamiEdit
SPOILER WARNING: PLOT DETAILS BELOW
He is later "killed" by Richter, and subsequently replaced at each establishment. However, this occurs when Jacket's hallucinations begin, so we can safely assume that this isn't an accurate depiction of the character.
Events of Hotline Miami 2Edit
SPOILER WARNING: PLOT DETAILS BELOW
In reality, Beard served as a soldier during the Hawaiian conflict alongside a band of soldiers called the "Ghost Wolves", with Jacket being one of its members. Between missions the Ghost Wolves discuss their plans after they return home, and Beard can be seen talking about how he wants to set up a convenience store.
During the intro of Ambush, Evan asks to take a Polaroid photograph of Beard and Jacket, and hands the photo to Beard. After the assault on the power station goes awry, Beard manages to help an injured Jacket escape, and gives him the photo as a reminder of who saved his life. This is most likely the photo held by Jacket on the final mission of Hotline Miami.
In 1986, after he and Jacket have left the military, Beard -now working in a convenience store in San Francisco- asks Jacket through the phone to send a copy of the Polaroid to him. The phone call is cut short by a commotion on the street and when Beard goes to investigate, he is vaporized by a nuclear explosion that levels San Francisco.
After starting a new game on hard mode, Beard is among the characters present with Richard in the projector room in the opening cinematic. Beard expresses that he knows Richard and they have met before. Richard says he wishes he could have seen Beard again under different circumstances. Before being reduced to a skeleton like the rest of the characters killed in atomic blasts, Beard agrees with Richard.
Connection to Jacket's Hallucinations in Hotline Miami Edit
At the end of the Casualties mission, Beard is seen talking over the phone in 1986 with Jacket in San Francisco. After this phone call, he dies in a nuclear bomb explosion, which reveals his later appearances in Hotline Miami to be Jacket's hallucinations.
This is supported by the first few levels when Jacket gets free items from Beard, and is told it's "on the house", which was something Beard tells him after helping him escape the reactor meltdown in Hawaii in 1986.
The phone conversation is presumably about Jacket's loss of his then-girlfriend, as Beard says "Sorry to hear about that, things like that are never easy" and "Time heals all wounds". When Jacket completes his first mission in Hotline Miami, Beard tells him he's "sorry to hear about his girlfriend's death", and combined with the "on the house" remark, it seems fairly clear that even after 3 years, Beard is still in his mind (this is also proof that Jacket cares for beard), their last conversation seared into his memory. He also tells Jacket about his bad feelings, that he hasn't "felt that bad since San Francisco", a direct reference to the San Francisco nuclear bombing of 1986 (back then this phrase was absolutely cryptic, but now with the sequel we know something more).
Unlike other characters, Beard is unable to pick up new weapons at all, armed with whatever weapon was chosen at the beginning of his levels in tandem with a knife. This, depending on the weapon chosen, makes him a very versatile character to play as since he can use his firearm to gun down foes from afar and also be able to slash enemies up close as well. He also has the unique trait of being able to replenish his current weapon's ammunition at an ammo crate should he run out of ammunition and with that, reload his current weapon if it's empty as well. Beard is able to equip up to five different weapons at the start of each level: Machine Gun, Shotgun, Heavy Machine Gun, Sniper Rifle and Flamethrower, in which the latter three are unlockable and powerful weapons that are entirely exclusive to Beard's levels.
- Beard's appearance is based on Niklas "El Huervo" Åkerblad, one of the game's composers and cover art designer. As such, the game files of Hotline Miami and Wrong Number refer to Beard as Nicklas and Nicke, respectively.
- If one looks at the cover art for Wrong Number, the name on his dog tags reads "Prillan Raketgatan". It also says that his blood type is B+.