"Good times never last."
He appears as the secondary antagonist of Hotline Miami and returns in Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number as the protagonist of Act 5: Intermission. He is also the penultimate playable character in the game.
Depiction and Role in Hotline Miami Edit
Richter is surrealistically introduced in Jacket's coma dreams, who mistakes him for a Russian hitman (the game files refer to him as Assassin), and imagines him killing several different versions of Beard. He first appears to the player in the second half of Jacket's story line, washing his face in the bathroom behind the counter of the convenience store, although he cannot be interacted with. He is later seen standing next to the corpses of the nearly-identical shop and bar owners. Richter responds to Jacket's presence with disdain, generally urging the player to leave the establishment.
Richter is later found in Jacket's apartment, sitting on the couch, having just killed Hooker. After a brief one-sided conversation ("Well, let's get this over with then..."), Richter shoots Jacket in the head. Later, Richter has been arrested for the hit, and on July 22nd Jacket confronts him in the jail cell during Chapter 13, Assault.
Richter reveals he does not understand the events at play and shooting Hooker was "nothing personal". He asks Jacket if he's been getting the same weird phone calls he has, revealing that he's in the same position Jacket's in. The player can shoot or punch him, then can either strangle him to death or leave him alive after injuring him. It is revealed in the second game that he is still alive, meaning that canonically Jacket spares him, likely due to Richter's revealing he's taking orders from the same people as Jacket, making Jacket think of him as a brother in arms.
During Richter's stay in Jacket's apartment he is wearing the Richter mask. This same mask can be found and picked up on the final floor of Chapter 13. If worn, the player starts the chapter with a silenced uzi, the same weapon Richter used to kill Hooker and to shoot Jacket in his apartment.
Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number Edit
On November 11th, 1991, Evan visits the mother of one of the recently escaped masked maniacs, pursuing a lead. She says she doesn't know anything about how he got involved, and Evan gives her his number if he decides to call. He heads upstairs to her son's room, which has a rack of athletic trophies, a well-made army green bed, a computer and several cassette tapes near a open book (possibly a journal), the first of which are dated March 10th and March 16th.
In December 1991, a newspaper indicates hugely violent protest rallies in Miami, and Evan receives a call from her worried son, who says he wants money for a plane ticket. Evan gives no promises but says if they story's good he'll see what he can do. Her son explains that he was called for about a month, being told to tag locations with the 50 Blessings symbol and to leave cryptic calls on answering machines, neither of which he did.
1989 Flashbacks Edit
A flashback to April 2nd, 1989 reveals the son was Richter, who finds his car torched and a phone message from "Susan" at the Miami Funeral Service confirming a scheduled funeral for Rosa Berg. Upstairs, Rosa has just woken up in her bed next to wilted roses. Richter offers to make her breakfast, which she refuses, saying she isn't hungry. She said she dreamed of Richter and his father on an island, staring out into the sea, and that something bad was about to happen, but it was peaceful anyway. Richter tells her he'll make her dinner when he gets back and heads out, taking the bus.
He arrives, already masked, in a bar freely flying USSR flags (a sign of the RAC and post-war environment). He panickedly clears it out very quickly and returns home to find his mother has gotten up and made herself a snack, saying she doesn't care what the doctor says, that she still has some "fight left in her."
On April 10th, 1989, Richter's mom is sitting in the living room, and asks Richter to give her a bath as she's getting cold. Richter says he has to leave and will give her one when he gets back, and she asks if it's another job interview and says she's sure he'll get it. Richter says finding work isn't easy and checks his messages. "Andrew" from Package Express Shipping tells him to make a delivery, and that the shipment is very fragile and he should handle the packages carefully. He's reminded to wear his uniform.
Arriving at an abandoned, falling-apart building, Richter finds it's used to store USSR imported weaponry for the Russian mob. He panickedly kills everyone inside and returns home. He finds that his mother tried to give herself a bath and collapsed on the bathroom floor. He carries her up to bed and asks her if he should call the doctor. She tells him not to and that she feels cold and tired and would like to get some sleep.
On April 23rd, Richter gets a call from "Dan" from Bush & Flower, saying he has some straightforward gardening work to do. Upstairs, he tells his mom he's going out, and his mom wonders if he's mixed up in something. He says he's just going to the bar to meet some friends, and she's relieved because she thought he was a bit of a loner like his father. Richter clears out a Russian hideout full of exercise equipment, computers, sports equipment, and purple floors (all warped signs of Richter's athletic trophies as well as a transition to gang-controlled areas seen in 1991 by the Fans; the name "House Call" could be a joke on how Richter is a "doctor" to his mom). He exits the building and the flashback temporarily ends for Evan to get a new notepad. Evan also reads a newspaper on the rapidly approaching Russian-American Conference.
Richter explains that in 1990 while he was waiting for his trial to start in prison, he was visited by two mysterious men who said they were going to tie up loose ends. Confused, Richter tries to enter the mess hall, but is denied by a guard and forced into the yard, where he is assaulted by a Prison boss with 50 Blessings tattoos. After that, a prison riot and attempted breakout causes a SWAT team to crack down and barricade the prison exit. Richter kills his way through guards and dresses up in one of their uniforms (referring to how 50 called his mask a uniform), then killing his way past the prisoners to the exit. Similar to Manny Pardo, his police badge allows him to be waved on by the surrounding cops.
After Interview Edit
Evan thanks Richter for the immense help he's been (either with his book or with his realizing the value of his family), and promises to get him the money to fly his mother to him in Hawaii. Evan's values are then put to the test when he has to choose between his family and his book.
On December 28th, 1991, Richter is watching TV with his mother in Hawaii, a money bag similar to the one Henchman had between them. He's wearing sunglasses and surfboards behind the house indicate he's taken up surfing. The scene visually looks like the intro to Stronghold with Beard's Unit. The news reveals that The Colonel has assassinated both presidents of the RAC, and that this will be viewed as an act of war. Rosa removes from the bag a Richard mask and they discuss how good times never last. Richter realizes that he's going to die, and that this "isn't as scary as it sounds." He and his mother are then obliterated by a nuke.
Despite donning his signature rat-mask for most of his levels, the ability to start a level with his weapon of choice is absent in Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number (this may be for canonical purposes hinting that the silenced submachine gun was a one-time use, or at least that he didn't have it in April 1989). Aside from this, Richter essentially functions near identically to Jacket's default playstyle (while he's wearing the Richard Mask). The only minor differences being his inability to take hostages while armed with certain weapons, a slower execution speed with melee weapons and an inability to rip out the throat of any standing enemy.
Though Richter's play-style doesn't characterize him, his levels force him to be absurdly quick and jumpy. Moreso than any other Hotline Miami protagonist, his levels give him little or absolutely no down time to waste. This requires him to perform fast maneuvers frequently involving quickly picking up and throwing weapons. This could foreshadow his murder of Hooker: she's completely riddled with bullet holes immediately on the inside of the bathroom door, indicating Richter might have been expecting a First Blood style situation.
"I'd ask you to spare my life, but...*cough*. You look like you've made up your mind..."
Richter is constantly occupied with massive stressors and worries which he generally meets with either rapid panicked action (in violent situations) or calm resignation (in situations he believes are hopeless). Richter is jobless "loner," with no friends or history of them. His behavior overall could be qualified as fatalist: while every action he does aims to preserve the well-being of his mother and himself, he doesn't try to go against forces he thinks are superior to him, such as 50 Blessings, and accepts his fate in situations where he thinks he won't be able to survive no matter what, such as when Jacket faces him in the police station, or when facing obliteration.
Richter possesses several athletic trophies and his absentee father has a darkened out room full of animal pelts and mounted heads, suggesting a history with firearms. His room's bed is an extremely slight adjustment of the Army bunks from Hawaii, he has an army green helmet or hat on his trophies shelf, and an army supplies box near his bed, all possibly indicating prior military experience. He may have kept his 50 Blessings phone tapes, possibly planning to use them in his court case before he was forced to escape prison. Notably the murders he commits are done because a perceived higher power threatened him or his mother, or his direct self-defense requires it, whereas operators like Jacket or Jake harbor a grudge against their Russian targets. This makes him one of the more sympathetic player characters in the series, but also leads him to commit some avoidable murders, which he later regrets.
Richter's mother refers to a "loner" father, and keeps roses on the other half of her bed, which are shown to regularly wilt and be replaced. A darkened, locked room full of animal pelts and open safe is adjacent to her and her husband's bedroom, suggesting a possible connection to 50 Blessings. This is the only connection Richter has to 50 Blessings, as he doesn't seem to have subscribed to their newsletter at any point. His acquisition of his Rat Mask is also never shown.
It's therefore been speculated many times that Richter's father is The Colonel, but this is never confirmed in-game. It's notable that both Richter and the Colonel's beds are identical Army bunks, the only difference being that Richter's bed has a tan frame instead of a gray frame and lacks a US flag. Both have an identical "Supplies" sprites next to their beds. Beard is also shown by one of these and a fifth empty bunk in the intro to Ambush.
List of killed victims Edit
This is a compiled list of how many kills Richter has performed in the series:
- Prison Boss
- At least 91 Russian Mobsters (including Thugs)
- 35 security guards
- 32 prisoners (including Thugs - not counting the Prison Boss)
- 5 dogs
- Implied hits on Russian Mafia between April 23rd and June 8th
Overall, Richter has killed 165.
- Richter is (at first optionally, later canonically) the second victim that Jacket has spared so far in the first game, the first being Hooker.
- He shares with Jacket and Biker the trait of being a 50 Blessings operator who survives the events of both Hotline Miami games through to the end of the series. Biker, however, is never actually shown to die and apparently fled to the desert, which -- barring military bases -- is an unlikely target in a nuclear war.
- His name may be a reference to the secondary antagonist from the 1990 science fiction movie Total Recall, as Jacket has to remember who he really is and is secretly affiliated with Richter, similar to the relationship between Quaid and Richter in the film. In the movie the transition to Mars is Richter shooting a rat with a submachine gun, and Quaid kills Richter's girlfriend with a submachine gun later in the film.
- Richter's first level, First Blood, is the first 50 Blessings operation depicted in the series chronologically (April 2nd, 1989). It may in fact be their first targeted hit in 1989 Miami, making Richter the "original" mask maniac.
- Ironically, people who are figuratively referred to as 'rats' tend to be shady, disloyal, treacherous and selfish, which is contrary to Richter's own personality, as he selflessly risks his life to protect his mother, and even apologizes to Richard (mistaking him for Jacket), for murdering Hooker. The Rat mask probably more accurately parallels how Richter sees himself.
- Killing someone in the bathroom with a silenced Uzi is a likely reference to John Travolta's character Vincent's death in Pulp Fiction, who is shot in an apartment bathroom with a silenced Uzi by Butch (Bruce Willis). Vincent and Hooker also both do heroin.
- Jacket knows what Richter looks like before ever seeing his face, as Jacket only first saw Richter's face after confronting him in jail. The outro to Hot & Heavy has Richter recognize Jacket. It's possible the two met before.
- As a result of fan injokes, some fan art depicts Richter as wearing blue mittens (supposedly sewn by his mother) as opposed to the blue tactical gloves he canonically wears.
- Richter, Manny Pardo and The Son are the only three characters in the game (excluding H.M. Hammarin, who is exclusive to the level editor) that encounter more enemy factions than any other character in the game, the three of them being able to fight three enemy factions.