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This article contains multiple options that are determined by player choice.
- "Finally, I am in control! The Aether is mine to manipulate as I wish! The world is now my own, personal plaything! A-HAHA!"
- — Richtofen upon gaining full control of the Aether if the player choses Richtofen's side in TranZit, Die Rise and Buried.
Doctor Edward Richtofen is a megalomaniac, sociopath and a sadistic German scientist who is an antagonist in the Zombies storyline and also a playable character in Zombies. His player indicator color is normally green (shared with Fidel Castro and Michael Rooker), but is randomized in Moon and Origins. Richtofen's voice appears in Call of Duty: Black Ops II in all maps set in the future, whilst he makes a formal, retroactive appearance in Origins.
Biography"Beware The Doc". A message that was scrawled across walls of every town under Axis control. Starvation may cripple you, dysentery may wreck you, and gunfire may rip the flesh from your bones, but "Beware The Doc".
This is Dr. Richtofen, known affectionately as "The Butcher" to his victims as they scream in agony moments before he snuffs out their light. All through his career, Richtofen has been at the forefront of torture and information extraction research. Richtofen is an incurable sociopath and sees no moral distinction between natural death and murder; the victim is the victim, regardless of how their demise manifests itself.
Doctor Richtofen has a collection of stuffed animals, most of them posed in positions of terror at the instant of their death."
- — Richtofen's bio added with Map Pack 2 in World at War.
Major General Dr. Edward Richtofen studied at Heidelberg University, where Ludvig Maxis tried to be a father figure to him, as the death of his parents affected him greatly. Maxis believed he was intelligent and mature "way beyond his years", though he felt his choices were influenced by friends in Group 935, of which both men were members. In 1917, Group 935 located a site in Northern France with large amounts of element 115 and began excavation to unearth it. One year later, believing Maxis succumbed to the mental effects of element 115, Richtofen began surgery on him to recover his brain and place it in the Maxis Drone, but the excavation site became overrun with zombies. Amidst the chaos, three allied soldiers, Tank Dempsey, Nikolai Belinski and Takeo Masaki had orders to get Richtofen to their personal leaders. The three held Richtofen at gunpoint during the surgery, but faced with an overwhelming situation are forced to work together despite their differences.
Sometime after the battle at Northern France, Maxis' brain was put in a proper body and he became the leader of Group 935. Maxis' progress slowed due to his infatuation with Sophia, he decided it was time to act for the betterment of Group 935 and kill Dr. Maxis. During a teleporter test, Edward locked Maxis and his daughter, Samantha, in a room with Fluffy, the first Hellhound, in an attempt to kill them, but they both escaped. Samantha ended up teleporting to Griffin Station and entering the M.P.D., taking control of the zombies, which Richtofen had planned to do. In order to take control of the zombies, he enlisted the help of Tank Dempsey, Nikolai Belinski, and Takeo Masaki, who were experimented on by Group 935 and whose memories had been wiped by Element 115. They first travel to a Japanese swamp and then to A Factory, where the zombies were created. After overloading the teleporter with the Wunderwaffe DG-2, the group travels forward in time, ending up at a now-abandoned theater in Berlin, Germany, sometime in the 1960's. They then teleport to an abandoned Soviet Cosmodrome, where a scientist named Gersch needs to be freed.
The group then teleports to Siberia, where George Romero is filming a zombie movie with four well-known actors. Things go awry when zombies appear and turn George into one of them. The celebrities find the group trapped in a small room. Richtofen then asks them to retrieve the Vril Generator for him. After they do, Richtofen gives the celebrities the Wunderwaffe DG-2 before the group teleports. The four of them end up in Shangri-La, which, despite its namesake, is filled with zombies due to the locals mining Element 115. Richtofen took the group here in order to retrieve the Focusing Stone. The group ends up having to help an explorer and his assistant escape. Although the two end up stuck in a never-ending loop, Richtofen acquires the Focusing Stone.
Having everything necessary to complete his plan, he teleports the group to Hangar 18 in Area 51, which is overrun with zombies. The group quickly runs to the teleporter in the hangar, sending them to Griffin Station on the Moon. Zombies are also present here due to previous tests by Richtofen. The group eventually opens the M.P.D., revealing Samantha Maxis, who still possesses the looks of a young girl due to being cryogenically frozen in the machine. After fusing the Vril Generator and the Focusing Stone together, Richtofen finally assumes control of the zombies by console-swapping bodies with Samantha and entering the Aether. Maxis then contacts the group from the computers of Griffin Station and explains that there is a way to minimize the damage that Richtofen will cause. After following his instructions, the group watches as three rockets are launched towards Earth to sever the link with the Aether and the world, one of them landing in a destroyed nuclear test site, another landing in an Angolan mine. However, much to Richtofen's pleasure, the calculations were off and the rockets instead obliterated Earth. This allows the zombies, now in Richtofen's control, to overpopulate the survivors of the missile launch and give Edward even greater power.
Among the surviving humans still inhabiting Earth, Richtofen contacts survivor Samuel J. Stuhlinger, who had previously eaten the flesh of zombies under the commands of a survival group called the Flesh, by speaking to him as a voice within his head. Due to his insatiable hunger for power, Richtofen commands Stuhlinger to complete a series of tasks to reinforce the link with the Aether and the Earth, which would thereby allow him to manipulate all energies and lifeforms existing, and additionally mend the Rift to damn the soul of Samantha Maxis to Agartha.
To complete his plan, Richtofen instructs Stuhlinger to convince his allies, fellow survivors Abigail "Misty" Briarton, Marlton Johnson and Russman to activate a polarization device located in the ruins of a town in Washington by supplying it with energy. Meanwhile, Maxis contacts the survivors and asks for their help in polarizing the device as well, resulting in a power struggle between the two. Regardless of their choice, the four are teleported to a series of crumbling skyscrapers in former Shanghai, China, where the second device is located. There they are constantly resurrected by Richtofen until they successfully complete his demands, while Maxis also races to have the tower seized under his control. After the tower is polarized in either's favor, Russman leads the group to the mysterious Rift, located in Southwest Angola, hoping to find answers to the mysteries surrounding them all.
At the Rift, an African Western Town has been entombed within the catacombs, forcing the group to traverse beneath the surface to gain control of the third and final polarization device to complete the demands of either Maxis or Richtofen.
If the player decides to follow Richtofen's side of all three Easter Eggs, the Rift will be mended, eternally damning the soul of Samantha Maxis and the link with the Aether and the Earth will be reinforced. This allows Edward to gain full control of all energies and become omnipotent, granting his soul the ability to leave the Aether and enter the body of Stuhlinger, whom he uses as his physical host. Meanwhile, Maxis ceases his existence inside the Griffin Station computer systems.
If the player decides to follow Maxis' side of all three Easter Eggs, a gateway to the Aether will open, allowing him to escape his digital form and assume power over the Aether's energy and use it to open the gateway to Agartha and destroy the Earth in the process. Meanwhile, Richtofen's soul is transported into a zombie with blue eyes and doomed to forever walk the Earth as one of the undead.
- "September 22, 1917
When we began the site excavation, our group could not have predicted the dark path down which our work would lead us.
The Doctor remains both adamant and optomistic (sic) that the potential applications for the new found element are worth the associated risks. I concur with the sentiment, but feel increasingly anxious as to the changes I am seeing in my oldest friend..."
- — Edward Richtofen
- "May 13, 1918
The journal of Pablo Marinus has been a most valuable source of information... We now stand at the edge of a brave new world. Our survey of the site has led us to believe that this location may hold the largest single source of 115 yet discovered. We have been authorized to begin work immediately...
Maxis has become obsessed, he neglects the true focus of our mission and instead chases legends and myths. I fear that the girl's influence may have irrevocably poisoned his mind. It is with considerable regret that I must report his current mental instability to group 935's leaders..."
- — Edward Richtofen
- "Final entry
In just a few short months, Group 935's work with Element 115 has allowed the Wonder Weapon program to progress at a rate beyond our wildest expectation.
However, our work was not without consequence.
The ancient evil unleashed from the mound has carved a path of terror and destruction across the entirety of the camp. With Maxis too having succumbed to the sickness, I am forced to take drastic action to preserve what remains of his mind.
I now face an uncertain future, alone."
- — Edward Richtofen
Richtofen is a psychopath with a desire for violence, often laughing maniacally when killing. He loves blood and death and thoroughly enjoys killing zombies, and has a strange obsession for the spleen. Despite his insanity, he retains his knowledge of bodily organs, technology and Element 115. He despises Dempsey, likes Nikolai and has mutual feelings towards Takeo. He is a megalomaniac due to his plans on destroying the world with a zombie army which partly fails due to intervention from Ludvig Maxis. Post Moon he retains his insanity as the demonic announcer.
Due to him still being sane at this point, Richtofen's personality is completely different. He appears level-headed but paranoid. He appears more unskilled due to only being a field scientist and does not go into battle often, but attempts to keep focused nevertheless. He appears more fearful of the zombies and is more cautious for his own survival.
- Main article: Edward Richtofen/Trivia