The Witcher 3 Sad But Not Bad Ending

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I’m writing about the ending of the main story in CD Projeckt Red’s The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt. If knowing how a story ends hampers you’re enjoyment of it, DO NOT READ ANY FURTHER! Bookmark this post to read after you are done. Leave a comment to let me know whether you feel the same as I do about the end of Geralt’s story. If you feel differently, let me know that too.

I didn’t get the ending I wanted. I got the ending I deserved – the one that made the most sense. I didn’t realize there was a “bad ending” until I looked at the gameplay videos put up on YouTube and read articles like Riley MacLeod’s Kotaku piece.

And like he described on Kotaku, I wondered what I did wrong.

Unlike Riley, I didn’t know that being a father figure to Ciri would have a big impact on the game’s ending. I assumed it was more like Dishonored, where the overall carnage and misdeeds influenced the final outcome. I didn’t kill the werewolf but I let him rip his sister-in-law the shreds. I was snarky with the captain and the witch hunter’s prison so what was supposed to be a convert mission turned into a bloodbath. The same happened on Skellige when I joined Ermion on a diplomatic mission to speak with Lugos. I waffled between charging and not charging for contract kills and quests. I chose to let Triss go.

I can’t remember what I chose to say to Ciri when she was upset about the battle at Kaer Morhen. I took her to see the Emperor because he is her father and I had been hired to take her to him. Like Riley I went with her to see Yennefer and the other sorceresses because I thought there might be a fight. I didn’t tell her to calm down when she wanted to vandalize Avallac’h’s lab – In fact I think I helped her. I took her to Skjall’s grave because he rescued her. And I went with her to confront Imlerith because I felt I had to in order to move the story along.

I liked my ending. It was bad and sad and had the hardest, most rewarding dramatic punch. Having finally reconnected with Ciri but only a few days to bond with her at Kaer Morhen, it seems fitting that grief would work itself out with him hunting down the last Crone to retrieve Ciri’s Witcher pendant — A pendant that originally belonged to their mentor, Vesemir. He starts the story out with Geralt and dies protecting Ciri at the Battle of Kaer Morhen. Ciri plucks the pendant from his funeral pyre. 

He has lost his adopted daughter and his mentor. He has been told through the course of the story that the age of the Witcher is ending. Geralt and his peers have overstayed their welcome. Once they were a godsend. Now they are a necessary evil. And the situation only gets worse as Radovid’s subjects quench their fears of falling under Nilfgaardian rule by indulging in religious intolerance. There is a poignant cutscene that depicts how after the persecution of sorceresses and sorcerers, the public went after dwarves and elves and every being deemed extraordinary and non-human. The last Crone says it as he confronts her. Geralt is on a suicide mission. One way or another he is going to die.

A wolf without claws. A man who feels nothing. Geralt kills the croon and then ransacks her home, desperately searching for a connection to Ciri — her pendant. When he finds it, it’s not a celebration. It’s a respite. He simply clutches the pendant as all sorts of beasts – Drowners, Water Hags, and Alghouls — surround him hissing and growling as they close in for the kill. The scene fades before you  see what happens. You can assume he just let’s them set upon him. Or you might assume that his year’s of training and experience as a Witcher kicks in and he slaughters the entire horde out of instinct. Regardless, it’s a dramatic end to an epic story. It’s a sad ending but not a bad one.

To watch my Witcher 3 YouTube playlist, click this link:

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