The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, for a game that came out 4 years ago in May of 2015, it’s still an amazing play. I bought the game a few years ago when I was sitting in my room complaining about the lack of games that I had available. I wanted something with a gripping story that would keep me entertained for a couple of months at the very least, enter the Xbox Store Gods and their infinite wisdom! As I was perusing the “On Sale” section, The Wild Hunt caught my eye. Not only was it the core game, but it also had the two amazing DLC contents Hearts of Stone and Blood and Wine included all for the low price of $59.99 CAD. Now normally, the game alone would be $69.99 and each DLC would be $20-40, but this bundle (Game of the Year edition) came with all of the above for only 60?! sign me up!
I will confess that since I bought the game I always got very close to finishing it and would always get distracted and abandon the game. I would come back and have no idea where I was or what I was doing, So I would start over. I had to do this so often that I had the beginning of the game up to about the midpoint (the Battle of Kaer Morhen) memorized. After the battle of Kaer Morhen though, it was all fresh. Recently, my friend Ben, got a job as a Paramedic up in northern Ontario. While he loves his job extensively, there are some very slow days. He works a rotation of 4 days on and 4 days off at a base that’s an hour and a half away from his house. So he needs to bring anything he wants to do over those 4 days, when he comes up to the base for his stint because he can’t go back and get anything. They have some days where they are out doing calls all day every day for their stint, and they have some stretches where they sit at the base doing nothing. So he decided to bring his Xbox after downloading Witcher 3 (we game share) so he would have something to do for 4 days. It took him several stints but he blew through the whole game in less than a month and has been hounding me to finish it as well, Thanks Ben!
Well yesterday evening I finally completed the main story and I can honestly say that my heart wasn’t ready for it. I had spent almost 2 months playing this game and getting to know the characters (again) and expanded the stories I already knew (I LOVED Witcher 2 : Assassins of Kings); but the ending was something I wasn’t expecting. I will admit that I did get a little angry at the ending. It was definitely not what I was expecting and thus I began berating Ben over text for telling me the ending was great and that I needed to finish it. It took several minutes for us to realize that in true CD Projekt Red fashion, there were multiple endings to the game. Ben received one of the “good endings” while I, in my hurt induced rage, received the “bad ending”. A little research showed that there are 4 key quests/missions, where your decisions change how the ending of the game plays out. Apparently, treating Ciri like an adult that you wanted to protect was the WRONG CALL…
For those who may not have finished the game, or those who are playing through it right now before the Netflix series drops, SPOILERS AHEAD!
As I previously stated, I got what amounts to the “bad ending” for the main story line. While I was a little miffed at the ending, it was still boat loads better than the dumpster fire of Game of Thrones season 8… So what happened to make me so hurt?
After the battle of Kaer Morhen and Vesemir’s death (that was the beginning of my hurt, I loved that gruff old man), Ciri drove the Wild Hunt away. She tapped into her Elder Blood powers and caused Eredin and the Hunt to flee from the battle before they would be killed. Her and Geralt set out to avenge Vesemir by hunting down the lieutenant of Eridin that killed him, Imlerith. The battle with Imlerith is hard but ultimately I was able to smash his head with his own hammer after burning his face. I’m not going to lie, I may have cheered at that point… moving on!
Through a series of quests, Geralt and his allies come to learn of an artifact called the Sunstone. This magical device is able to summon and trap the Wild Hunt on their world so they can finally kill Eredin and end the threat of the Hunt once and for all. The allies travel to the Skellige islands where they find the Sunstone and summon Eredin and his forces. Ciri severely beats and kills the Hunt’s Wizard and frees Geralt from the ice spell holding him in place. In order to save Ciri, Geralt charges through the battle cutting down the Hunt’s soldiers and hounds before boarding the Naglfar (the Hunt’s flagship). He engages Eredin in combat and defeats him but not before Eredin killed his longtime friend and ruler of Skellige, Crach an Craite. Eredin tells Geralt that they were both deceived by the Elven Sage Avallac’h and that he is the real threat before dying of the wounds Geralt inflicted. As Geralt and Yennefer race to the tower they are stopped by the Eternal Frost (basically a world ending Ice Age that moves through the universe killing worlds) and magical barrier Avallac’h has erected. Yen, creates a small hole for Geralt to get through and go after Ciri and the Elven Sage. Geralt confronts Avallac’h and learns that Ciri plans to enter the portal between worlds and confront the White Frost, before it destroys their world as it does to every world it touches. Geralt pleads with her not to go, but she enters the portal citing that this is her way to save Geralt and everyone she loves. This is where my game ending changed from the happy go lucky ones.
Ciri never comes back. After two full games of protecting her and looking for her, she is gone. Geralt spirals into a deep depression having lost the girl he had raised from a child into a young woman, the only family he had ever really known besides his Witcher brothers. He returns to the Crookback Bog to find the last crone, who had stolen Ciri’s wolf head medallion. He encounters a werewolf who tells Geralt that the swamp is dying and being poisoned and that all the creatures are looking to kill him and get even with him. The werewolf warns Geralt the the crone will fight like “a wounded wolverine” and probably kill him, Geralt doesn’t care. He engages the werewolf and slays him before starting his way through the swamp. He cuts his way through some hunters who had a she wolf captured in a bear trap, drowners, water hags, ghouls and all sorts of monsters before confronting the witch. He kills her by impaling her with his steel sword before stabbing her in the head with his silver Witcher sword. He leaves his weapons in the dead crone and begins angrily tearing apart her hut looking for the medallion. When he finally finds it, he collapses on a chair and breaks down for the first time in a long time. The camera zooms out and we are shown dozens of monsters converging on the hut where Geralt in sitting clutching Ciri’s medallion to his forehead.
This is what my heart wasn’t ready for, complete and utter defeat. Geralt has always bounced back from everything. He’s fought dragons, griffins, drowners, water hags, sirens, giants, elementals, vampires, ghouls, ghosts, and Wyverns. He’s died, come back an amnesiac, reclaimed his memories, protected kings, stared down entire armies, foiled assassination plots. He’s been stabbed, burned, beaten, and nearly drowned and that is what breaks him. For everything he went through to protect his surrogate daughter, he couldn’t stop her from being the person he knew she was and sacrificing herself to save not only him but everyone in the world. Not only did he lose her, but there was nothing left to even bury. She just disappeared into the portal never to be seen again. For someone who makes a living hunting and killing all sorts of monsters and curing curses and hauntings, being left alone with nothing but his memories of his “daughter” was the thing that ended Geralt.
*I should note, that the game leaves his ending open and doesn’t specifically say he was killed, but it’s very hard to see him getting out of the situation alive.*
Like I said before, there are multiple endings and this one was considered the “bad ending” if you’re like me and received this one and refuse to accept it… time to start another play through!
The Witcher series is one of my top fantasy series of all time, right up there with the Lord of the Rings, The Stormlight Archive and Dragonlance. I’m going to start into the books once I get the first two from Ben so I can marathon through all of them. What was your ending with Witcher, and are you as excited as I am for the show?
See you later this week!