"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.
During the years of World War II, Doctor Ludvig Maxis formed Group 935, a research team dedicated to improving the human condition. Major General Richtofen, at the time, was Maxis' assistant. They would work together on many projects, though Richtofen would soon find out that Maxis had agreed to create weapons to help the Nazis in the war, due to a lack of funding. Richtofen also carried out his own experiments in the field of teleportation, along with fellow Group 935 member Dr. Schuster. Though he was successful at teleporting a walnut, Maxis did not agree to fund his project, and told him to get back to his "real work".
After conducting more experiments, Richtofen eventually used himself as a test subject for teleportation, leading him to be teleported to a catacomb within the moon, where he came into contact with a mysterious pyramid device, causing him to become insane with schizophrenia. He was then teleported to an exotic jungle, where he spent three weeks learning of the Vril energy force. Afterwards, he traveled back to the weapon factory Der Riese, Group 935's base at Germany, where he started his plans to build a new base on the moon with Schuster and several other Group 935 scientists, all behind Maxis' back.
Using Element 115, Richtofen was able to create a deadly Wonder Weapon, codenamed Wunderwaffe DG-2. Maxis, though initially promised to mass-produce the Wunderwaffe DG-2, did not show any progress due to his infatuation with his assistant 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 skyscggrapeeers in former Providence 22, 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.Outcome 1:
f 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.Outcome 2:
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.
Despite either outcome, no one knew that Samantha traveled to an alternate timeline in 1917, her plan being to rewrite history. This was completed when the younger Edward Richtofen killed all his incarnations including his older self, thus significantly changing the course of the timeline. The Original Timeline Richtofen's soul now resides in the Summoning Key with his ultimate plan of controlling the zombies to have never transpired.