"No need to thank me, kid. It's on the house. You would've done the same for me, right?"
Beard, also known as The Soldier or Lieutenant, is the tritagonist of 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 (James, Dan, Ben Smith), his real name is unknown.
Depiction in Hotline MiamiEdit
In the outros to the majority of Hotline Miami's levels he is seen manning the counter of every place Jacket visits to unwind. He cycles through appearances in a convenience store, a pizza place, a movie rental store, and at a bar (always in that order before looping back to the convenience store for the next Part), with each location giving him new apparel, hair style, and attitude. His convenient store iteration greets Jacket as an old friend he was worried about, his pizza iteration wears a uniform and relates everything back to his job (interpreting the empty unsafe Miami streets as people "losing their taste for pizza"), his VHS store iteration enjoys violence, hates Russians, and is excited about the masked killings (encouraging Jacket to "enjoy himself"), and his bartender iteration morosely remembers the past ("I haven't felt this way since San Francisco"). He always appears to be a friend of Jacket and gives him free items every time he visits, despite Jacket never directly doing him any favors.
As Jacket begins to wake up from his coma, Beard explicitly tells Jacket that he didn't actually kill Biker and that "none of this is happening." The next level he is "killed" by Richter, and subsequently replaced at each establishment, the stores refilled to serve the zombies of Russian mobsters Jacket's killed. Beard's appearance in Hotline Miami is therefore entirely Jacket's coma dream fantasy, representing how Jacket feels obligated to avenge Beard by killing Russians.
Events of Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number Edit
SPOILER WARNING: PLOT DETAILS BELOW
March 17th, 1985 Edit
In a Hawaiian bar serving US military troops, Beard, Jacket, Barnes, and Daniels are discussing how the heat seems to be making them get drunk faster. Beard says he's had enough and decides to head back to camp, but Daniels boasts that he can keep going and tells them to leave him there. Barnes takes offense to Daniels telling him what to do and is determined to outdrink him. Beard says not to go too hard because they have a job to do tonight. Jacket, already standing and smoking, follows Beard's advice and leaves with him.Outside, a war correspondent is interviewing a helmeted officer but quickly turns and asks to have his photographer take their picture. Beard wants a copy, and offers to give Evan his address, but the new Polaroid camera makes that exchange of personal information (and a chance of keeping in regular contact with Beard) unnecessary. Evan asks them to step into the sun for better light. Beard puts his arm around Jacket who gives a peace sign, and Beard takes the second copy of the picture.
That night, Jacket is still chain smoking to stay alert. Barnes has armed himself and Daniels is by the fireplace having just finished eating. A visibly drunk Colonel tells Beard it's time to move out, telling him to not get killed out there because he hates his boys dying on him, and referring to a new shipment of bourbon coming in later that he doesn't want to drink alone in "this goddamn place."
After raiding several Russian camps, Beard radios in as James and says he finished weeding out the garden. This gives an origin to 50 Blessings' future phone calls, fake names, and odd-job or generally societal euphemisms. Daniels, going as "Hank," explains they "ran out of fuel for the lawn mowers" and are "at the gas station," and asks Beard to share the "ride" back.
Beard arrives at a capture Russian intel fort to see Barnes and Jacket handling six Russian prisoners. Jacket holds a submachine gun sideways into the back of one prisoner's head and watches as a plastered Barnes beats and mutilates a fat Russian prisoner to death, saying to Beard that "this chubby asshole" looks "a bit like Daniels," and that "one day I'll show that fat pig who the real boss is." Barnes' hatred for Daniels' condescending attitude towards him and blowing up of Daniels' comments as bossing him around parallels several instances in both games of player characters killing people or wanting to kill people who appear to give orders. It also mirrors the Colonel's hatred of his superiors and 1991 Americans' hatred of the RAC. In the vast majority of cases the supposed aggressors aren't entirely responsible, and are more a target for projecting personal insecurities.
Beard goes inside to meet with Daniels, who is reviewing new intelligence next to the body of a Russian officer, who has either committed suicide or been executed with a single bullet to the head. Daniels wonders what to do with the prisoners and comments that letting Barnes kill them all would make the march back to camp easier, before sighing.
October 25th, 1985 Edit
At 08:50, Barnes and Daniels are playing cards next to a beer cooler, Jacket is wearing sunglasses sunbathing next to surfboards (similar to Richter in 1991), and Beard is standing up next to him. The group is discussing post-war plans, and Barnes mentions that he wants to open up a bar. Daniels jokes that Barnes does like drinking, and Barnes gets upset, saying he's being serious and that he used to work as a bartender. He asks Daniels what he'll do and Daniels, annoyed, reminds him he's a teacher. He jokes that Barnes would make a great bar owner, saying "who wouldn't want to have a sociopathic drunk as their boss?" Barnes refers to Beard as "Lieutenant" and asks what he's planning.
Beard says a bar sounds nice but that he's good with anything that doesn't involve carrying a gun and shooting people. He wonders about getting a convenience store and relaxing in it with a little TV by the register. Daniels comments he's really got it planned out, but Beard says he tries not to, as "things never turn out the way you expect them to," before pausing and smiling.
Beard notices it's been an hour since they were supposed to move out, and checks on Colonel, scaring away a beach crab as he heads toward the fort. The Colonel is again drunk, his several American flags are noticeably battle-worn, and he's made the 50 Blessings logo out of the bones of some small animal. He's less than thrilled at the prospect of being considered for Lieutenant General, saying they're going to lose the war. However, he's happy that their tour is coming to an end and that they'll all go home soon after one last mission, which he refers to as a "piece of shit" and laments that they don't have enough soldiers. He tells them to not get killed for nothing.
They assault a colorful, abandoned mansion, foreshadowing the indoor areas the rest of the series is fought in and the decadent affluence of the Russian mafia locations. Many of the toppled potted plants recall the first game's trashed animal room in Jacket's nightmares, and the emptied pool full of body bags of American corpses recalls the underground body dissolving in the Fans' mission Into the Pit, which noticeably off-put the Fans likely due to their D Company suffering heavy casualties trying to take the mansion.
After taking the mansion, Beard radios in as "Dan," that he's finished "cleaning out the suites" and asks if the "new guests" have arrived. Either Barnes or Daniels radios in as "Mike," and he says he's greeting the VIPs. Beard comes down to "collect their luggage" and finds the D Company Commander, who laments that his men are too poorly trained and suffered heavy casualties over the course of weeks (the pool full of body bags Beard encountered). The D Company Commander is glad that he can put all that behind him and thanks Beard, telling him to rest while he rounds up his men.
Beard and his friends discuss their supposedly going home after this, and decide to celebrate. Barnes says they should see what the "commies" have to drink and Beard says he'll wait for the Colonel to bring the alcohol. Daniels suggests they settle for water as the roads are dangerous to navigate, and says he'll feel much safer when D Company arrives, to which Barnes' replies they have a reputation of being pussies and that they don't need them. Beard reluctantly agrees to that, but comments "there's always safety in numbers," possibly an innuendo, before again pausing and smiling. He goes to bed as he nervously didn't get much sleep the night before.
October 30th, 1985 Edit
Around 2 AM, the Colonel's fort features a dead, head-skinned Panther with the 50 Blessings logo drawn onto the stripes of one of his American flags in its blood. The unit is too nervous to sleep and Beard says that tomorrow is their real last mission. Barnes comments that they'll just keep finding bullshit reasons to get them killed and Daniels agrees. Barnes wonders why they'd send four people to take a whole power plant, to which Beard replies there's probably booby traps and that it's too dangerous to send in a platoon, before yet again pausing and smiling, concluding they're "expendable."
The Colonel then enters their tent wearing the panther's face, the 50 Blessings logo carved into its forehead. He declares that it is his true face and that they are all animals, being anonymously sent to slaughter and be slaughtered without context and that they all enjoy it as its in their nature to. Beard asks if he's ok and the panther face bloodily slides off, causing him to awkwardly stammer that he's drunk.
The next morning, the Colonel confirms they're going home tomorrow, but "Lord knows whether their lying or not" and that they'll be going home in body bags. Notably, he's personally carrying a heavy machine gun, implying he actually does some fighting at some point.
Shockingly, they clear the plant without a hitch and the Russian General kills all his engineers and himself in the control room of the plant. It's then revealed that he put the plant into meltdown and that it's going to explode. Barnes and Jacket run for the elevators, one of which explodes, mortally wounding Barnes and critically wounding Jacket. Daniels drops his shotgun and rushes to Barnes' side as Beard drags Jacket into the elevator and carries him out of the collapsing plant.
Rendezvousing with other Americans, Beard urgently calls in a CASEVAC for a bleeding out Jacket, dropping the codename system to do so. He comforts Jacket who reaches out to him. Beard hands him the Picture and says "No need to thank me, kid, it's on the house. You would've done the same for me, right?" again pausing and smiling.
In 1986, after he and Jacket have left the military, Beard -- now working in a convenience store in San Francisco -- consoles Jacket on a recent breakup and asks him over 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 after beating it, Beard is among the characters present with Richard in the projector room in the opening cinematic. With Richard, Beard hazily recognizes his own connection to future events, and he wishes things could've gone differently.
Ominous Lines Edit
"I try not to think about it too much, things never turn out the way you expect them to."
"There's always safety in numbers."
"The place is likely booby trapped. Too risky for a whole platoon. ... I guess we're more... expendable."
"No need to thank me, kid. It's on the house. You would've done the same for me, right?"
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: M16, 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.
List of killed victims Edit
This is a compiled list of how many kills Beard has performed in the series. Kills in Bold are unclear and merely up to interpretation:
- At least 5 of the Russian Captives (presumably - shared with Jacket, Barnes and Daniels)
- Russian General (Caused - shared with Jacket, Barnes and Daniels)
- At least 154 Russian Soldiers (including Heavies)
Overall, Beard has killed 155 enemies (160 if you count 5 of the 7 Russian Captives)
- 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+.
- Much like the masks of masked characters, Beard's glasses fly off whenever he's killed.
- Beard is the very first playable character in the series to die chronologically.