Reinhardt was created for the first-person shooter multiplayer game Overwatch by Blizzard Entertainment. The game was released in May 2016 and has since seen multiple updates and patches that improved the gameplay, added new content, and changed certain characters' abilities. Reinhardt was one of the heroes first released with the game. He is voiced by Darin De Paul.
"So, that's it? You're leaving us?"
"I have been called. I must answer. It is a great honor."
"Uggh. To disappear into some secret organization, give up the glory of being a Crusader? [laughs] I don't think so."
-- A younger Reinhardt and Balderich talk about being summoned to join Overwatch.
Not much is known about Reinhardt when he was young but we know he joined up with the German military when he was old enough to enlist. He joined the military looking for glory and was able to do so, becoming a highly decorated and very skilled soldier. It was his achievement record and expertise that drew him toward the Crusaders, defenders of Germany who wore massive J08 suits of armor and wielded large hammers as their weapons. As a member of the Crusaders, Reinhardt was taken under the wing of their leader Balderich von Adler as they defended Germany and its neighbors from Omnic attacks during the Omnic Crisis, rising to the rank of Lieutenant.
Reinhardt was with Balderich and some fellow soldiers in Eichenwalde when the Overwatch strike team was being assembled. Balderich had been given a coin and thus had been summoned to join the team to stop the Omnic crisis once and for all. Reinhardt laughed at the idea that joining was a great honor and told his mentor that there was nothing more honorable than being a Crusader and one of the legendary defenders of Germany.
Their conversation was interrupted by a solider telling them news that Omnics were spotted and making their way through Eichenwalde. Forgoing any sense of teamwork, Reinhardt charged on ahead to battle the scores of bastion units and left his teammates behind, angering Balderich and leaving his soldiers feeling helpless. Soon afterwards, a new version of Omnic, the OR-14, landed. Reinhardt saw this as a worthy challenge and charged ahead only to be stopped flat by the Omnic's strength. Confused, Reinhardt was pushed back and then slashed across the eye with the Omnic's forearm blade, losing his left eye. Reinhardt was only saved thanks to the intervention of Balderich, who received a fatal stab to his side before dispatching the machine. The two Crusaders got their bearings and retreated inside the nearby castle, barring the door although they knew that it wouldn't hold the bastion units for very long.
Balderich instructed Reinhardt to get back to the unit to cover their escape but Reinhardt only laughed at this, believing that his teacher was attempting to hog all the glory. It wasn't until this point and with Balderich telling him that he couldn't go on that Reinhardt noticed the wound he had received. Overcome by a sense of hopelessness, Reinhardt couldn't face the idea of leaving his friend to die. Balderich eventually convinced Reinhardt that to do what was right was to help his team and be their shield before giving his Overwatch coin to him, officially appointing him to Overwatch's strike team in his place. The two said their goodbyes and Reinhardt gave Balderich his hammer for a better fighting chance before leaving to find his team. He charged through the streets of Eichenwalde until he found two of his teammates trying to escape from a group of Bastion units, where he crashed through a building to land between them and the machines in order to defend against them. His shield would be overwhelmed by the sheer amount of gunfire but after it failed, he used his body to defend the two men. Luckily for all three of them, two jets flew overhead and destroyed the advancing machines, allowing for a Crusader victory. Reinhardt and the surviving members of his teammates then fled Eichenwalde and Reinhardt left to join with Overwatch.
Reinhardt joined Overwatch among the other five individuals summoned: a sniper from Egypt named Ana Amari, two American soldiers Jack Morrison and Gabriel Reyes, and the Swedish engineer Torbjorn Lindholm. There was another member named Liao but not much is known about him at this moment. It was thanks to this strike team that the Omnic Crisis was ended and peace was brought back to the world. Afterwards, this team gained international fame and was soon recognized as a national organization dedicated to keeping the peace and improving the world at large. This allowed them to get more funding and eventually expand into areas such as space exploration, medicine, and environmental studies.
Reinhardt would prove to be a pivotal member of Overwatch through the years as he became one of the organization's most renowned agents. He always spoke his mind, whether that was in admiration of Overwatch and what their goal was or to criticize Overwatch when they needed it. Over the years, he formed a close-knit friendship with Torbjorn as the two of them became drinking buddies and Torbjorn would even help keep Reinhardt's armor up to date. During Overwatch's later years, the terrorist organization of Omnics known as Null Sector were attacking King's Row and taking Shambali hostages. After new recruit Lena Oxton, a.k.a. Tracer, was able to convince Strike Commander Jack Morrison to intervene and stop Null Sector, Reinhardt was chosen to partake in an unsanctioned mission to stop the Omnics alongside Torbjorn, Tracer, and head medical doctor Angela Ziegler. This small team was able to successfully hold back the Null Sector Omnics, rescue the Shambali hostages, and save King's Row from further destruction and violence.
Reinhardt would continue to serve Overwatch well into his fifties, by which time he was forced to retire from combat operations. He had no choice but to go along with this retirement, although his friend Torbjorn felt that Overwatch essentially pushed him out and wasn't happy at all with that how his friend was treated after giving everything to Overwatch. Reinhardt felt that his days of purpose were nearly over, and for a man that values honor, valor, and justice as much as he does, not being able to help his friends in need is a terrible thought. He could only sit back and watch as Overwatch soon began to unravel itself due to public suspicions and dark allegations against the organization. Things were bought to a boil when the Swiss headquarters were attacked and destroyed, resulting in the apparent death of Gabriel Reyes and Jack Morrison. A year after this incident, the Petra Act was passed which stated any and all Overwatch activity as illegal and disbanded the organization altogether.
"Even old and worn, this armor can still serve its purpose. One day it may fall apart, but until that time, we will fight. Overwatch may be gone, but its legacy endures through us. We have sworn to carry on its ideals and restore hope to this troubled world, to seek out tyranny and evil wherever they take root, and to bring the hammer of justice down upon the wicked. Such is our duty. Such is our righteous quest. Above all else, we will never run when people are in need, no matter how monstrous our enemies may be!"
-- Reinhardt conveying his thoughts to Brigette on his duty to help those in need.
Reinhardt, however, still believed that he could be a force for good in the world and wasn't content with sitting by and wasting away. He began to travel around Europe and likened himself to a knight of old, protecting the innocent and wanting to give people hope for better days ahead. Torbjorn's oldest daughter, Brigette, chose to accompany him, and the two of them began traveling together through Europe. They chose to stop at a small town for supplies, fuel, and food, but when they entered the town they found it nearly deserted. A quick investigation by Brigette saw that the town and nearby towns were being attacked by armed scavengers and claiming them as their territory and were able to do so because the local authorities were hilariously underfunded and under trained.
Reinhardt hears a nearby commotion and discovers that the scavengers were pestering a shop owner to pay them, threatening him with bats and guns. Reinhardt starts to step in and tells the two men to back off, but a small group soon surrounds him and warns him that he's in over his head and should back off. When Reinhardt tells him that he's faced worse threats than them, they threaten to take a young girl hostage and force Reinhardt into a difficult position, making it so he couldn't fight back. The group held back Brigette while Reinhardt was kicked to the ground by the group's leader, causing Brigette to call out his name. When the leader learned that he was once a hero, he simply told him that his time was done and that he won't be spared then next time they cross paths.
Brigette helped carry Reinhardt back to their truck where she told him that it might be better for his health to leave this town be and let the authorities handle it, but Reinhardt knew that they weren't up to the task and felt responsible to help, knowing that he was this areas best chance to rid themselves of these scavengers. Brigette reluctantly agreed, and soon set out to fixing his armor as best she could with what limited parts and supplies she had. When she was finished, she located their hideout and Reinhardt went to confront them. Marching right up to the front door of their factory, Reinhardt issued a challenge and was greeted by the Dragons, the group's name, riding out on motorbikes to face him. Despite their bravado, the Dragons stood no chance against the former Crusader as he took them out left and right with his hammer. Informing them that the sun has not set on this particular knight, Reinhardt told the Dragons that they wouldn't receive any mercy from him if they didn't leave the townspeople alone.
The next day, Reinhardt informed the mayor that the Dragons would no longer disturb the town and denied a chance at a reward, telling the mayor that seeing justice served was enough of a reward for him. He and Brigette decided to go on their way, still in search of more fuel and food, but feeling better about their journey.
"I have been called. I must answer. Always."
-- Reinhardt echoing Balderich's words after Winston called for an Overwatch recall.
Some time after Overwatch was disbanded, Winston was attacked at Gibraltar by Reaper and soldiers loyal to the evil organization Talon with the goal of downloading the location of all the former Overwatch agents from Winston's database. Winston managed to defeat the soldiers and forced Reaper to retreat, but this attack convinced him that the time was now to initiate the recall. Reinhardt was in Greenland when he received the message, but before meeting up with Winston, he chose to travel to Eichenwalde first. Brigette tried convincing him that the message wasn't meant for him and that he didn't owe Overwatch anything after the way they had treated him with the forced retirement. Reinhardt brought her to Balderich's last stand, where his armor had remained in a throne that he fell on after the battle years ago, and placed the Overwatch coin he received from him on the armrest. He then turned to Brigette and told that he would always answer when called.
During Christmas, Reinhardt spent the holiday with Tobjorn and his family, reading his younger children a story from a book.