- "Nothing is supernatural."
- ―Rudolf Wernicke
Doctor Rudolf Gustav Wernicke is one of the researchers who worked in the hidden research facility beneath Mount Massive Asylum and one of the more prominent figures behind Murkoff Psychiatric Systems. He was the main scientist behind the whole Walrider experiment.
Early life and work
Rudolf Gustav Wernicke was born on 20th October 1918 in Munich, Germany, and achieved fame in the mathematic and scientific communities for a paper written with early computing pioneer Alan Turing. After a cloudy history with the German war effort, he emigrated to the United States in 1949 with a visa from the State Department. Several decades of government research in Los Alamos led to New Mexico, where Dr. Wernicke retired to pursue landscape photography and care for his cats. He is single and has no children. He came to Colorado shortly after the turn of the millennia to pursue charitable work for the Murkoff Corporation.
Dr. Wernicke makes his first appearance near the end of the game. After Miles' last encounter with Walker, who was brutally killed by The Walrider, he opens the door to his office and asks him to come inside and let him explain the situation.
He explains to Miles how normally he should have already been dead, but somehow Billy keeps him alive out of sympathy and according to his own words - may even think that Wernicke is his father. Then he explains how the Murkoff Corporation contacted him to help them with human nanotechnology experiments, whom they wish to conduct on the asylum patients, with the only reason being profit. Eventually through his work, the scientists produced the precise molecules necessary. He also laments the fact that it was foolish from the very beginning to think they could master such powerful technology, but regardless continued due to the possible large profit. Then the patients escaped and caused the horrors within the asylum in the first place. After being done talking, he instructs Miles to stop Billy and turn off his life support system, so that he could effectively kill The Walrider, who slays anyone trying to escape from the asylum. Miles leaves the room and after much effort, stops Billy's life support and kills him.
He then again appears at the exit with armed security forces at the end of the game to confront Miles, who (unknowingly to Wernicke) has been possessed by The Walrider. The soldiers then shoot Miles (possibly by the orders of Wernicke, who doesn't wish the young journalist to reveal to the public the truth about the Murkoff's plans to profit from the experiments that were illegally conducted on the patients, as well as Wernicke's own involvement) in the chest several times. As Miles collapses to the floor, Wernicke is shocked to see that Miles has become the host. Gunfire and mauling sounds can be heard briefly before the credits roll.
Despite the preceding events, it is never made clear if Wernicke was targeted or killed by the Walrider. Although, given the creature's nature, it can be assumed that Rudolf met his end at the hands of the ghostly entity.
A number of unused audio logs from Outlast 2's demo suggest that Wernicke might have survived and was transferred to another facility.
Little is known about Wernicke's personality due to his short and rare appearances, but he stated it was foolish from the beginning to think they could master and control nanotechnology and with it the human mind and body. This implies that he is either very questioning, realistic or pessimistic. A statement from the company calls Dr. Wernicke a true humanitarian with a generous spirit. Murkoff implies that he was too distracted by Bill Hope's success to not notice the three "lucid dreamers" but his actions - killing Miles to remove any hosts for the Walrider - imply that he had noticed them and decided that Billy was dangerous enough and deliberately kept quiet.
Wernicke is an elderly man with fairly toned wrinkled skin, blue eyes and no hair, in his 90s. Due to his advanced age, he is wheelchair-bound and requires a ventilator to breathe. He also wears a blue hazmat suit and black dress shoes.
- Rudolf's name could possibly be a reference to the real life Carl Wernicke.
- The documents spell Rudolf's name as both "Rudolf" and "Rudolph".
- Rudolf has Theodoor Rombouts' Prometheus painting hanged on the wall of his office.