Video Game: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

The Sword of Destiny has two edges. You are one of them.

"Evil is evil. Lesser, greater, middling... makes no difference. The degree is arbitrary. The definitions blurred. If I'm to choose between one evil and another, I’d rather not choose at all."
— Geralt of Rivia

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is the third game in the video game trilogy of The Witcher, it was released May 19th, 2015. Unlike the previous two games, Wild Hunt is open-world with all areas accessible, rather than only one area per chapter.

In the wake of Assassins of Kings, Geralt continues his work as a Witcher, hunting monsters that would prey on the innocent in a world filled with chaos and war. After six months on the Witcher's Path, however, that all changes when an old friend of Geralt's, Emperor Emhyr var Emreis of Nilfgaard, summons the Witcher for a most poignant quest: Find Ciri, a child of destiny precious to them both; the one soul in the world Geralt considers kin. Geralt must now travel the lands in search of Ciri, all the while battling the otherworldly legions of The Wild Hunt, who seek the girl for their own nefarious ends...

The game was released on May 19th, 2015 on PC, Playstation 4 and Xbox One.

Additional content comes in the form of both a Free DLC Program and two Expansion Packs. The Free DLC Program consists of 16 pieces of content, ranging from new quests to alternate appearances. Hearts of Stone, the first expansion, is set to be released in October 2015. Geralt gets a contract from the mysterious Gaunter O'Dim, the Man of Glass, which takes him on an adventure into the wilds of the Velen marshlands and the nooks and alleys of Oxenfurt. Caught in a thick tangle of deceit, Geralt will need all his cunning and strength to solve the mystery and emerge unscathed. Blood and Wine, the second expansion, will be released some time in early 2016. In a contrast to the war-torn Northern Kingdoms, Blood and Wine takes Geralt back to the wine-making Nilfgaardian duchy of Toussaint, untouched by the war and steeped in an atmosphere of carefree indulgence and knightly rituals, although underneath lies a dark, bloody secret.

Preview: Debut Trailer, Killing Monsters, The Sword of Destiny, Go Your Way.

This game contains examples of the following:

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  • Absurdly High Level Cap: Despite CD Projekt Red community lead Marcin Momot saying that there isn't a level cap, the Prima guide reveals that the max level is 70. Given the fact that most players will beat the game at about level 34 or 35, the high cap must be there due to a combination of the upcoming expansion packs and the upcoming New Game+ mode.
  • Abusive Parents: Played with. The Bloody Baron is a horrible human being but prides himself on never touching his daughter with an angry hand. His daughter, by contrast, points out that his years of black-out drunkedness and threats to her mother were a form of abuse by itself.
    • Lambert reveals that his father would beat both him and his mother.
  • Accent Adaptation: The game follows voice-acting conventions typical to most modern RPG series, and displays a variety of different real-world accents, which are used to denote the social status or regionality of the characters. For example:
    • British Accents are frequently encountered; Refined RP is assigned to the higher status, sophisticated characters such as Yennefer and Emhyr var Emreis, SE London/Cockney accents for thuggish, disruptive characters, West Country accents for rustic locals, an amusingly bluff Brummie accent for the crude, boorish Bloody Baron, and the now prerequisite Scottish accent for the dwarven characters, such as the blacksmith Willis. The Crones of Crookback Bog ( and their "mother", the Lady of the Wood), are voiced with (at times unintelligible) Welsh accents, and as Welsh is the oldest British tongue, this enhances their ancient venerability.
    • Ciri has an Estuary accent that veers towards RP at times, despite the fact she grew up amongst Witchers, Dryads, and a group of low-class thieves. However, she also lived in a royal castle until she was twelve, and spent a good time after that in a temple school for young ladies, as well as under Yennefer's personal tutelage, whose accent she presumably picked up. As Estuary is essentially the middle-ground between Cockney and RP, given Ciri's divergent upbringing, this accent is actually a cleverly suitable choice.
    • The Nilfgaardians mostly speak with an approximate Russian/Germanic accent, which provides good contrast with the mostly British-accented Temerians, and marks them out as an invading foreign power. Their language, Elder Speech, however is somewhat reminiscent of Welshnote .
    • Skellige is inhabited by the game's resident Vikings analogue, but they have some Celtic influences in their naming conventions and thus speak with Irish accents.
    • Geralt himself and other witchers adopted a "Rivian" accent in-universe, which is approximate to an American accent.
  • Accidental Truth: When chatting with Zoltan and another dwarf about fishing, Geralt can joke that the Witcher's method of doing so is using bombs. Turns out that Lambert was actually doing that.
  • Action Girl: Yennefer starts the opening cinematic as a One-Man Army sorceress.
    • Triss shows remarkable combat prowess as well against Novigrad's witch hunters.
    • Ciri proves to be one, slashing through wolves, griffins, werewolves, and more with impunity. All with a steel sword at that.
  • Adaptation Name Change: The Druid Mousesack is named Ermion for reasons unknown.
  • Adult Fear: The game begins this way, with the King of the Wild Hunt cutting down Geralt's young adopted daughter. While it's just a dream, he knows full well that it's an omen signifying that Ciri is grave danger.
    • Throwing the baby Aki in the oven is this for obvious reasons.
  • A God Am I: One side-quest has Geralt encounter a Sylvan (basically a Satyr) who has convinced the local villagers he's a god. They give excessive sacrifices of food to placate him. Geralt can kill him, convince him to tone down the demands (since the villagers are starving due to the war), or show them the man behind the curtain.
  • Affably Evil: A very well done example with the Bloody Baron. He's a horrible-horrible person who has done many terrible things but you understand why he did them and probably sympathize, even if just a little. The fact he's not hostile to Geralt and can even become an ally, to some extent, helps.
  • The Alcoholic: The Bloody Baron is a barely functioning one and only during wartime.
  • All Crimes Are Equal: Discussed by Geralt in the 'Killing Monsters' trailer.
  • All for Nothing: The events of The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings has revealed to have been this or lead to this. Nilfgaard has reached the Pontar River, taking over Temeria and Aedirn in the process. The Temerian Army is a shell of it's former self, having turned to going underground and trying to fight the Nilfgaardian army with guerrilla tactics. Upper Aedirn folded quickly, regardless of whether Saskia is alive or dead. Redania is the only Northern Kingdom still intact, having absorbed Kaedwen during the winter. The reinstatement of the Council and Chapter is a moot point, as Radovid's hatred of magic, sorceresses, and Philipa Eilhart has led to him catering to the whims of the Church of the Eternal Fire, allowing pogroms and witch hunts to run rampant.
  • A Lighter Shade of Black: The Nilfgaardians in general to the peasant class. No one likes them because they're an occupying foreign power who is robbing them blind for resources and occasionally commits war crimes. The Nilfgaardians, however, don't gleefully commit atrocities and aren't noticeably worse than their previous overlords save in a few rare cases (like religion).
    • This is notably a Lighter and Softer portrayal than they had in the books, where this also happened. The overwhelming army and genocides used in the First Nilfgaardian War? Failed. The economic warfare and exploitation of social divisions from the Second Nilfgaardian War? Failed.
  • Amateur Sleuth: Geralt, due to his Genre Savvy and Witcher Senses, can uncover the lies that certain quest-givers tell him. Like how the spirit in the quest "Towerful of Mice" is lying about certain things and calling her out on it leads Geralt to discover her true nature as a Plague Wraith, or how using the Witcher senses in the quest "Missing Patrol" would let Geralt discover that the patrol isn't a patrol at all, but a Death Squad, sent to kill unarmed prisoners.
  • Ambiguous Situation: Did the Alderman deliberately bring the Nilfgaardians bad goods or was it just an oversight? Did the peasantry underneath him give up rotten food to the Nilfgaardians without telling him?
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: At key points in the story you switch from playing Geralt to playing Ciri who differentiates herself by being a Teleport Spamming Lightning Bruiser.
  • And Then John Was a Zombie: After spending the entirety of the second game trying to stop a Witcher who was working under the employ of Emhyr, Geralt very quickly becomes a Witcher working under the employ of Emhyr himself in this game. And he may even willfully take part in killing a king and ushering Nilfgaard into the North.
  • Annoying Arrows: Averted - players will hate the enemy archers, especially if they're on the far side of a large group, as there's not much in the way of Mook Chivalry either.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: Potions, Decoctions, Bombs, and Blade Oils work very differently compared to the previous games. Once they are made, they permanently stay in your inventory. Blade oils have infinite uses, the only limit being how many attacks you can land before the oil rubs off. Even then, if you max the Fixative skill then blade oils last indefinitely while you have the skill active. Potions, decoctions, and bombs all have limited uses, but the level 2 and level 3 recipes for potions and bombs increase the number of uses you have. One of the decoctions that can be brewed, the Cockatrice Decoction, increases the uses of all your bombs and potions by 1 for the duration. Having a max rank Efficiency skill increases the number of bombs you carry by 5 while active. When you meditate while having strong alcohol such as alcohest in your inventory, then all of your spent potions, decoctions, and bombs are restocked.
  • Anyone Can Die: In full force. This game has a lot of sure and possible casualties like Philip Strenger, Anna Strenger, Whoreson Junior, Keira Metz, Vernon Roche, Ves, Thaler, Dijkstra, Vesemir, Radovid, Emhyr, Crach an Craite, Ciri, and even Geralt himself, implied in one ending
  • Army of Thieves and Whores: The Bloody Baron's military forces. Given they're all Les Collaborateurs and Dangerous Deserter types, this is to be expected.
  • Ask a Stupid Question...: In Skellige...
    Geralt: Are you the silent druid? (beat) Oh yeah. Dumb question.
  • Awesome but Impractical: At the conclusion of the Skellige succession questline Crach will reward Geralt by giving him Fate, his family's Ancestral Weapon that has been passed down for generations. Of course, by that point in the game the player most likely has an even better sword, leaving them with nothing to do with Fate except sell it or dismantle it into crafting gear.
  • Badass Beard: Geralt now sports a beard, emphasizing his more rugged, dangerous side. Unfortunately, he is made to be shaved before seeing Emhyr var Emreis. Bloody Nilfgaardian pillocks...
  • Batman Gambit: If you spare Letho in the second game, he returns in 'Wild Hunt' and Geralt can help him fake his death provided the witcher won't overreact by killing all the bad guys who are sole witnesses to faked death. Later, he points out that he wasn't sure whether the gambit succeeds but that's part of the fun.
  • Battle Couple: Dijkstra thinks Geralt and Triss would make an excellent example. The players can make it true or go with Geralt and Yennefer, which is a Battle Couple tried and proven by the books. It's also possible for Keira Metz and Geralt to briefly be one of these in some elven ruins, though this is retroactive. And should you play your cards right, Keira Metz and Lambert become one.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Yennefer can have this happen to her in "The Last Wish." She's determined to break the magical bond between her and Geralt to find out if their feelings for each other are true or not. After she breaks it, she feels no differently about him. Geralt can inform her, however, that he no longer loves her. Great timing there, Geralt.
  • Beef Gate: While you can go anywhere, the monsters don't level up with the player, so go somewhere you're not leveled up for yet and you'll be slaughtered. See Gameplay and Story Segregation.
  • Best Her to Bed Her: Jutta, a swordmaiden on Faroe, propositions Geralt after being bested, practically invoking this trope in the process.
  • Betty and Veronica: Yennefer is devious, duplicitous, amoral, and glamorous. Triss is all of these things too...to a lesser degree. It seems Geralt has a type.
  • Big Bad: The King of the Wild Hunt.
    • Subverted by Emperor Emhyr. He is responsible for an unprovoked war of aggression which is responsible for the vast majority of the northern kingdoms problems. However, Geralt can't kill him. Because he needs his help.
  • Big Screwed-Up Family: The Bloody Baron and his family. Where do we even begin?
    • The Baron himself is a horribly abusive & violent drunk with a short temper due to all the time he spent serving in the war, his wife is an unfaithful cheater who constantly taunts and coaxes him into beating her and threatens to take both of their lives, and his daughter, while probably the least dysfunctional of the three, justifiably hates her father even after he reforms but is blissfully unaware of her mother's wrongdoings. You can help patch things up a bit depending on your choices.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Many of the secondary quests end up like this.
    • One of the three endings is this - Ciri accepts Emhyr's proposal for her to succeed him, having to leave Geralt and the life of freedom she loves behind. But, as Dandelion's ending narration points out...
      Dandelion: The woman had the necessary qualities. From her father she'd inherited an empress' political instincts. From Geralt she had gained a sense of simple, human decency. Few monarchs boast both traits - which is quite a shame...
      • And it can be made more sweet than bitter, or vice-versa depending on whether Geralt says that she'd be able to find and visit him easily, or that it needs to be goodbye.
  • Black Comedy Rape: In-universe, a group of drunken soldiers will share a story about how one of them chanced upon a farmer who's son was exceptionally pretty. The other soldiers speculate the farmer was trying to pass his daughter off as a son. The "punchline" is the soldier didn't care and raped them anyway. You can practically hear the disgust in Geralt's head.
  • Bloodier and Gorier: The first two games had their fair share, but this game takes it Up to Eleven with enemies frequently being decapitated, losing limbs, or even being cut in half in combat.
  • Bolivian Army Ending: If Ciri dies, then the game ends with Geralt sitting forlornly in the hut of Crookback Bog, clutching his daughter's medallion as a horde of monsters close in on him. He is given no epilogue, further leaving his fate up in the air.
  • Breakable Weapons: Weapons degrade and break over time unless repaired. This functions as a Money Sink, keeping you appropriately impoverished for the story, as witchers are not known for amassing wealth, no matter how many monsters they slay for reward. Although there are ways of accumulating money.
  • Burn the Witch!: King Radovid is supporting witch-hunters and religious fanatics to find and kill his treacherous adviser, Philippa Eilhart. In result, anti-magic pogroms are going at full force in the city of Novigrad and its surrounding area. Officially, this is the actions of the Eternal Fire rather than Redania itself. It requires Radovid conquering the whole of the North to be his full-scale purge of magic across the North.
  • The Bus Came Back: The Witcher 3 sees the return of many characters from both the books and the first game, including Ciri, Yennefer, Lambert, Eskel, Vesemir, Kiera, Emhyr, Dijkstra, and Thaler.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: The countryside around White Orchard is living in mortal terror of a griffin which has been killing and destroying the locals with impunity. Even the local army commander is terrified Geralt will turn down the contract so he does a little extortion to make sure the deal goes through. Geralt's reaction? "Eh, it's not the first time I've had to kill a griffin, nor will it be the last."
  • Call Back: The sheer number of call backs and continuity nods to not only the previous games, but the books, would take pages to list every single one of them.
    • The King of the Wild Hunt uses almost the same words in "The Sword of Destiny"-trailer as he did in the finale of the first game to taunt Geralt.
    • The titular short story The Last Wish appears as an in-game book, appropriately penned by Dandelion. Also appropriate, a secondary quest involving Yennefer is also named The Last Wish.
    • The "Sword of Destiny" trailer is named after the short story collection of the same name.
    • The epilogue mission is named Something Ends, Something Begins after both the non-canon short story and the collection it appears in.
  • Carry a Big Stick: General Imlerith of the Wild Hunt yields an impressively huge mace.
  • Characterization Marches On: The Yennefer in the games is a cold, ruthless, pragmatic and remorseless Hollywood Atheist Mama Bear who is Necessarily Evil several times to get closer to recovering her daughter. In the books, Yennefer is a Lovable Alpha Bitch with a soft spot for mothers, children, nonhumans, and the less fortunate. One of her defining moments is refusing to slay a dragon for her own interests. She's also extremely polite with a great respect for the Sisters of Melitele. This has not sit well with a lot of book Yennefer fans.
  • Chekhov's Gag: Zoltan bought an owl at an estate auction and is trying to teach it how to talk. Turns out it's Philippa Eilhart trapped in owl form.
  • Chekhov's Gunman:
    • Gaunter O'Dim looks to be playing a bigger role in the first expansion Hearts of Stone.
    • Uma is this if you completed the Velen story arc before the Skellige arc.
  • The Chessmaster: King Radovid V, aka "The Stern" - aside from being obsessed with the game (despite loathing it for it's lack of grounding in reality), is behind all of the major plots Geralt uncovers in Novigrad, softening up the city for Redania to take over.
  • City of Adventure: The city of Novigrad and surrounding countryside north of the Pontar River is nearly half of the Velen-Novigrad region. On a lesser note, Oxenfert is also this.
  • City Mouse: Keira Metz positively hates having to masquerade as a village witch. She eventually gets so desperate to get back to civilization that she risks throwing herself at King Radovid's mercy unless you talk her out of it, even knowing that it's likely to get her burned at a stake.
    • Vesemir likes tweaking Geralt's nose about him being this. See Not So Stoic below.
  • Cleans Up Nicely: After the initial meeting with Emhyr, Yen will say that Geralt looks good in black velvet.
  • Collectible Card Game: Gwent.
  • Cool Old Guy: Vesemir is one of these. He's a Witcher with a couple of centuries on Geralt and deeply loyal to the idea of the North. Even if Geralt is not particularly interested in fighting the Nilfgaard this time around.
    • Ermion, the Hierophant of the druids of Skellige is also a pretty cool elderly fellow. He's willing to stand up against Yennefer, but is still more than eager to help Ciri in every way. He even travels to Kaer Morhen to help Geralt and companions face the Wild Hunt in person.
  • Continuity Nod: Some to Season of Storms, mentioning that Cat school witchers tend to be psychopaths and that Lytta Neyd was very vindictive.
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu: The Warriors of the Wild Hunt die awfully easily in a fight, considering what immense threat they represent in the context of the story and how much experience every single one of them must have. But it would be a pretty short game, otherwise. On the other hand, they are facing a mutated war machine intimately familiar with their fighting style, tactics, and limitations - or a super hero.
  • Corrupt Church: The Church of Eternal Fire is pretty much rotten to the core, freely hiring former torturers and other assorted scum to their clergy and having gangs on their payroll to terrorize the unbelievers, or just people suspected of being heretical in some way, while spending the church's money on whoring and other vices. And that's not even getting to the witch-burning spree they are patronizing.
  • Cosmic Horror Story: The White Frost wouldn't be out of place in one of Lovecraft's stories. It's unknown if it's sentient, self-aware, or even alive. All we do know is that it's an indescribably powerful force that has ended life on countless worlds all across the Multiverse, and it will eventually do the same to The Witcher's. It has been the driving force of nearly every major conflict in the franchise. Becomes Lovecraft Lite should Ciri actually be able to destroy it.
  • Could Have Avoided This Plot: A Downplayed Trope example. The Nilfgaardian commander extorts Geralt's need to know about Yennefer's whereabouts in order to get him to slay the griffin terrorizing the land. She's less than a day's ride away in Vizima. After Geralt slays the monster, he's justifiably angry at the deception. His reaction appears to be because slaying monsters is his job and resents the implication he wouldn't have killed the creature anyway.
  • Covert Pervert: Avallac'h enjoys human pornography and you see him reading some at one point. You later meet his mistress in his laboratory.
  • Crapsack World: It almost goes without saying in this setting but The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is significantly darker than both the original game and its sequel. Given both were Darker and Edgier Crapsack World settings to begin with, this says a lot about things. The country is ravaged by war, poverty, famine, disease, social injustice, racism, and worse.
  • Cutting Off the Branches: Both averted and played straight. Geralt's actions in previous games have been rendered mostly moot by the fact the Nilfgaard army has steamrolled through much of the North. There are several changes to specific events, however, and a few different quests if you did things a certain way, though.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory: On the PC, Alt no longer targets enemies - that's now Z. More frustrating, however, is R's rebinding from throwing bombs, daggers, and using traps to using consumables.
  • Dangerous Deserter: These stalk the No-Man's Land, living on banditry, attacking travelers and remaining settlements with impunity.
  • Darker and Edgier: Than the previous two games. Which is saying a lot, since the first two games were plenty dark already.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Geralt has always had an understated sense of humor but he just drops all pretense of respect around the Nilfgaard. The one exception is the Emperor who, no matter what, he says the proper title of. He can still refuse to bow, though.
  • Death Glare: Triss gives a pretty good one to Menge if she kills him.
  • Death Seeker: In the ending where Ciri dies, Geralt returns to Crookback Bog to fight the Weavess, despite the overpowering godlike power she is said to possess. She herself will even say outright that she knows "the smell of a suicide's breath."
  • Deconstruction: Many things that occurred or were taken for granted in the first game are given a darker, more realistic take here.
    • In the first game, one of the earliest sidequests involves saving the first town's innkeeper from murderous drunks, and she rewards Geralt with gratitude and sex. Here, part of the first portion of the main quest also involves saving the first town's innkeeper from murderous drunks, but instead of being grateful to Geralt and rewarding him, the innkeeper is horrified that he just murdered several of her friends and neighbors over what turned out to be a misunderstanding, and asks him to leave, and much later attempts to sell him out to Novigrad's Witch Hunters.
    • Remember "Beauty and Beast" from the first game, where you could cure a man of his lycanthropy with the Power of Love? This game has a quest called "Wild at Heart," where it turns out the man who hired you to find his missing wife was a werewolf who unknowingly killed her. And worse, her jealous sister arranged for it to happen so she could have a chance to hook up with him. The quest can end in a couple of ways, and both of them involve the werewolf dying. The Power of Love is not always a good thing.
    • "Heat of the Day" from first game gave the Geralt the opportunity to help both a Noonwraith and a Nightwraith reconcile with their pasts and pass on peacefully. In this game, there are quests to deal with Noonwraiths and Nightwraiths that are causing problems, but while they had similarly tragic and undeserved ends, they're so far gone that they can only be put down violently.
    • The series is infamous for the fact that Geralt Really Gets Around. Try to seduce both Triss and Yennefer, and they propose a threesome, handcuff Geralt to the bed, and effectively both break up with him.
  • Defector from Decadence: Avallac'h.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Yennefer initially acts aloof to everyone in general, including Geralt despite their history together. She warms up once Ciri enters the picture again, and especially if Geralt chooses to rekindle his relationship with her.
  • Dem Bones: Not literally as you fight no skeletons in the game, but the Wild Hunt itself has its armor styled to look like skeletons.
  • Demoted to Extra: The Scoia'tael, which played a big part in the previous two games and whom Geralt had the option to ally with, serve no role in the story here, and are only involved in a couple of side quests. Neither Iorveth nor Yaevinn make any appearances.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Geralt crosses it in the Ciri dies ending.
  • The Dev Team Thinks of Everything: Certain quests will end, but information gained during that quest can be used to go elsewhere and pick up on a new thread, or simply see its conclusion unfold.
    • There's also a lot of thought put into simple, physical effects. If you try to run into Yennefer's teleport in Vizima, for example, you get transported elsewhere in the palace. The Signs also have a lot more effect than their combat applications. For example, Aard can be used to blow noxious gas out of your vicinity and Igni is useful in getting rid of annoying insect swarms.
  • Disposable Sex Worker: King Radovid bribes Whoreson Junior with prostitutes without care for the fact that he's made a habit of brutally murdering them.
  • Distaff Counterpart: A weird example as Ciri is the Deuteragonist of the Witcher series and, in many ways, the actual main character. However, the Ciri of the The Witcher 3 is visually, "female Geralt" and has virtually identical gameplay to him minus signs. Given Ciri was a Physical God by the end of the series, this is somewhat strange.
    • It is explained that she refrains from using the full extent of her powers to avoid drawing the attention of the Wild Hunt.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: The more you do Triss' storyline, the more the Witch Hunting craze in Novigrad becomes less like actual witch-hunts and more like the Holocaust. Which, given one of the largest persecution of Jews in Europe was the Spanish Inquisition, actually isn't so far fetched a parallel as you might think.
  • Downer Ending: On a personal level if Geralt made choices that caused Ciri to feel worthless as a person outside of her Elder Blood (Getting paid for bringing Ciri to Emhyr, say "Relax you don't have to be good at everything" when she's upset over Vesemir's death, telling her to calm down when she wants to trash Avallac'h's lab after learning of his experiments, etc). Ciri will not be confident in her fight against the White Frost, leading to her death. In Geralt's grief he hunts down the the final Crone of Crookback Bog, taking down 10 relatively innocent peasants down before killing her with extreme prejudice, to find Ciri's old Wolf Medallion. Then Geralt breaks down crying into the medallion while monsters flood into the room, presumably killing him. Can be a sort of Bitter Sweet Ending if the world on a political scale ended up being pleasant in spite of Geralt's personally unhappy ending.
    • And on a political side of things, not doing the questline that leads to Radovid's assassination will mean he wins the war against Nilfgaard. Emhyr is assassinated as a sizable portion of his populace were sick of his constant attempts at world domination, Ciri will not return to Nilfgaard to take the throne (possibly leaving Nilfgaard in a precarious position overall) and Radovid rules over Redania and Novigrad where he continues his genocide against magic users and nonhumans.
  • Downloadable Content: Both free and paid.
    • The Free DLC Program consists of:
      • 1) Temerian Armor Set - May 20, 2015; adds a full set of Temerian-themed light armor for Geralt and blinders, saddlebags, and a saddle for Roach
      • 2) Beard and Haircut Set - May 20, 2015; adds three more haircuts, three static beard styles, and Geralt's fourth beard stage to the list of barbers' options
      • 3) Contract: Missing Miners - May 27, 2015; adds a new contract to investigate the disappearance of miners from a small Skellige village
      • 4) Alternate Look: Yennefer - May 27, 2015; adds a new outfit for Yennefer, overwriting her default looks within the game, includes an on-off setting in the main menu options settings
      • 5) Nilfgaardian Armor Set - June 3, 2015; adds a full set of Nilfgaardian-themed medium armor for Geralt and blinders, saddlebags, and a saddle for Roach
      • 6) Elite Crossbow Set - June 3, 2015; adds three more crossbows for sale: a Nilfgaardian Crossbow, a Skellige Crossbow, and an Elven Crossbow
      • 7) Contract: Fool's Gold - June 10, 2015; adds a new contract to investigate an abandoned village in Velen inhabited almost entirely by pigs
      • 8) "Ballad of Heroes" Neutral Gwent Deck - June 10, 2015; adds alternate appearances for a select number of the neutral Gwent cards, includes an on-off setting in the main menu options settings
      • 9) Scavanger Hunt: Wolf School - June 17, 2015; adds a series of quests for finding the diagrams for School of the Wolf witcher equipment similar to the Viper, Cat, Griffin, and Bear scavenger hunts in the base game
      • 10) Alternate Look: Triss - June 17, 2015; adds a new outfit for Triss Merigold, overwriting her default looks within the game, includes an on-off setting in the main menu options settings
      • 11) Contract: Skellige's Most Wanted - June 24, 2015; adds a new contract for hunting down an infamous rock troll in Skellige
      • 12) Skellige Armor Set - June 24, 2015; adds a full set of Skellige-themed heavy armor for Geralt and blinders, saddlebags, and a saddle for Roach
      • 13) Where the Cat and Wolf Play... - July 1, 2015; adds a trio of quests involving a massacred village and the person involved
      • 14) Alternate Look: Ciri - July 18, 2015; adds a new outfit for Ciri, overwriting her default looks within the game, includes an on-off setting in the main menu options settings
      • 15) New Finisher Animations - July 22, 2015; adds a number of new finishers to the game
      • 16) New Game Plus - August 17, 2015; adds New Game+ mode to the game
  • The Dreaded: The Wild Hunt in general, and their King, Eredin Bréacc Glas, in particular. Even the Crones, who are practically goddesses in their own domain, think twice about crossing them.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him:
    • If he survived the previous game, then Henselt is unceremoniously killed in a surprising betrayal by Radovid.
    • Crach an Craite gets an unexpected and violent death just before the Final Boss, and no time is given to acknowledge that.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: The Baron gets one of these if Geralt times events just right. Some of the main characters can also get happy endings depending on choices made during the game:
    • If Geralt romanced Yennifer, the two of them retire from adventuring and politics. They settle down and enjoy a quiet, peaceful life where they eat breakfast in the afternoon (and often in bed) and pass the days with lazy strolls and long conversations.
    • If Geralt romanced Triss, the two of them travel to Kovir where Triss becomes an advisor to the king. Geralt enjoys a life of luxury and comfort - although he does take the occasional Witcher contract to alleviate boredom.
    • There are two possible happy endings for Ciri. In one of them, she follows in Geralt's footsteps and becomes a Witcher, living a life of excitement and adventure while achieving fame and renown throughout the world. In the other ending the becomes the Empress of Nilfgaard, and proves to be a good ruler because she possesses both her father's political instincts and Geralt's simple human decency.
  • Enemy Mine: Over the course of the game, Geralt will have to team up with many former enemies and adversaries, including Emhyr, Dijkstra, Letho, Philippa, and Avallac'h.
  • Expy: The Bloody Baron's appearance, mannerisms, and habits greatly resemble Mark Addy's portrayal of Robert Baratheon.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Exploited by the mob boss that Lambert's tracking down - when confronting the pair of witchers, he has his wife and two children present, calmly introducing them before getting down to brass tacks.
  • Evil Is Deathly Cold: The Wild Hunt brings winter with it wherever it goes.
  • Face-Heel Turn: Yennefer appears to have joined the Nilfgaardian military. Subverted though; while she has, it's so she can find Ciri - Geralt quickly joins her in this.
  • Fake Difficulty: The hand-to-hand combat is fair in one on one fights, especially in arenas, but fighting multiple opponents, such as in the quest "A Matter of Life and Death", can be quite tricky and will end in a quick death if you don't block and parry frequently.
  • Fallen Hero: Sigismund Dijkstra has gone from being a patriotic spymaster who used his skills to unite the North against Nilfgaard to being a crime lord.
  • Fan Disservice: Seeing three young nubile women nude sounds like it should be Fanservice. But not when you know that their true forms are hideous-looking old crones whose appearances are rife with Body Horror. And especially not when you see those naked women covered in blood and eating human flesh.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Skellige is basically Scotland-Norway with its Highlander Vikings.
  • Fantastic Racism: The opening cinematic of the game has a priest talking about the evils of monsters, sorcerers, and Witchers. This is ironic given the only people who can deal with monsters are sorcerers and Witchers. A similar scene can even be encountered in-game, with Geralt having the option of quickly shutting the priest up.
    • King Radovid hates mages in general and sorceresses in particular with a passionate fury. Oddly, he has nothing against Witchers and considers Geralt his friend (which Geralt, clearly, does not reciprocate). Strangely, the Lodge of Sorceresses members can't seem to wrap their heads around Radovid feeling this way. Of course, Radovid will order Geralt's death after he's supposedly outlived his usefulness.
    • Eredin's people are some of the MOST RACIST ELVES OF ALL TIME. Their sheer disgust for humans puts into sharp perspective that prejudice can belong to anyone and the amount they subject poor Ciri to is terrible. The fact they desperately need her is the worst part of all this for them. Geralt can call Avallac'h out on this only for him to point out, rightly, that humans are every bit as genocidal and racist against other intelligent species on Geralt's world.
  • Feet of Clay: Fergus is presented as the only master armorer in the game, with Yoana as his apprentice. In reality, he can barely forge a nail while she's the actual master smith. She made an arrangement with him to pose as the brains of the operation because no one would believe anyone but a dwarf could possibly be a master armorer, let alone a woman. Unlocking her as a smith requires having to end the charade.
  • Fetus Terrible: The Botchlings are monsters born from stillborn babies that have been buried without proper ceremony. They look like deformed, toddler-sized fetuses with the umbilical cord still attached. It is possible to appease one into becoming a benign guardian spirit of a household, but it takes an emotionally devastating and physically dangerous ritual to accomplish.
  • Final Boss Preview: The Big Bad, Eredin, and his Co-Dragons, Imlerith and Caranthir, are shown cutting Ciri down at the end of the prologue.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Despite being former adversaries, Ciri and the Mysterious Elf bond through all their trials and tribulations against the Wild Hunt. Possibly subverted though, because there's evidence to suggest that Avallac'h may only be interested in Ciri for her connection to Lara Dorren, which makes him a Broken Pedestal once Ciri finds out.
  • Flat Earth Atheist: Yennefer is an interesting case. Geralt has, in the books at least, been clear he's an atheist. However, he's also been known to show a great respect for religion (the non-crazy/evil kind at least) as well as people of faith. He's also open to new things and experiences. Yennefer, by contrast, denies that a spirit she summons back into a corpse is a person, just rotting meat. Take note, Geralt routinely deals with ghosts as a regular part of his job.
    • Yennefer's opinion seems to be that spirits are simply echoes of the original person, not sentient beings in their own right. It is one of those things that are hard to confirm either way.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: Geralt is phlegmatic, Ciri is straight choleric, Yennefer is melancholic, Dandelion is all the way sanguine, Triss is sanguine with some phlegmatic, Sigi is Choleric.
  • Freudian Excuse: Radovid makes allusions to horrific abuse at Phillipa's hands to explain his nightmarish hatred of magic. It's implied her continued freedom and the pressures of the Nilfgaardian war, plus his past have driven him over the edge.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: If you're able to recruit Letho the Kingslayer to Kaer Morhen, he will be treated with suspicion and hostility by your other allies, including Lambert, Eskel, Roche, and Ves.
  • Filk Song: Wake The White Wolf, courtesy of Miracle Of Sound.
  • Flash Step: This appears to be Ciri's mainstay power in combat. She can bypass several enemies' guards in a heartbeat, making mincemeat of them with her sword.
  • Friends with Benefits: Name-checked as a possible relationship type between Geralt and Keira Metz.
  • From Bad to Worse: As bad as it was in previous games, it's much-much worse now.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: In the first game, Geralt had amnesia and many of his previous skills had atrophied. This was used to justify his level-grinding to higher levels. The second game had a somewhat organic feel because everything was scaled to your level. The third game dispenses with this and just places high-level monsters all over the place which Geralt must avoid til later levels. Given he is, at this point, the greatest warrior on his world and has all of his memories back, this is just plain weird.
  • Gargle Blaster: White Gull is enough of one, being a mixture of Mandrake Cordial, Cherry Cordial, Redanian Herbal and Arenaria normally used as a base for powerful alchemical concoctions. However, special mention goes to The Gauntlet, a cocktail Lambert mixes up during the Witchers' reunion at Kaer Morhen, which contains equal portions White Gull and Dwarven Spirit (another alchemical base). Witchers have higher alcohol tolerance than normal humans, but after knocking back just a few these monsters all three of them soon become thoroughly sloshed. Needless to say, it's hilarious.
  • The Glorious War of Sisterly Rivalry: Rosa and Edda var Attre - Edda sends love letters in her twin sister's name, and Rosa threatens to scratch her eyes out for it.
  • Good Cannot Comprehend Evil: Keira Metz assumes King Radovid would be willing to overlook her membership in the Lodge of Sorceresses in exchange for her aid in helping cure a virulent plague. Triss Merigold assumes that King Radovid has begun his witch hunts because he is trying to loot the wealth of the mages (i.e. a purely pragmatic motivation). They genuinely can't seem to wrap their heads around the fact that, no, King Radovid just hates magic in general and sorceresses in particular.
  • Grand Finale: This entry serves as the climax of Geralt's story in the video games.
  • Gray and Gray Morality: The Nilfgaardian invaders are ruthless and oppressive but, as an innkeeper says at the beginning of the game, the Northern Kingdoms weren't particularly good to the common folk beforehand. This is actually a softer portrayal of the Nilfgaardian Empire in the novels, which leaned towards using them as Nazi stand-ins toward the end.
    • Becomes Black and Gray Morality when dealing with the many-many war criminals the war has produced as well as the Wild Hunt.
  • Greater Scope Villain: The White Frost, which is slowly destroying every world and thus the cause of the Wild Hunt's actions.
  • Green Hill Zone: White Orchard. It's a relatively small map that largely consists of easily-traversed flat plains, a few scattered groups of enemies that aren't too tough to kill, and is populated by generally reasonable people that are kept in order, all to prepare the player for when things get darker and more dangerous.
  • Handsome Lech: Dandelion is the Platonic Ideal of this trope.
  • Hand Wave: Yennifer suffered the same memory loss as Geralt but recovered rather quickly due to magical treatment. When asked why she did not search for him afterwards she responds that she figured he would recover on his own and find her first, despite the fact that Geralt did not receive the same treatment. This seems to be an attempt at justifying why Yennifer was notably absent in the previous games as she had over a year to realize her error and look for him but for some reason... didn't.
  • Harmless Freezing: In the Battle of Kaer Morhen all the defenders of the keep save for Vesemir and Ciri are covered with ice and become immobile when the King of the Wild Hunt enters the battlefield in person. After the scene the ice melts away, leaving the characters unharmed, which is rather amazing considering that the freezing caused by the Wild Hunt's portals is anything but harmless in gameplay.
  • Heel-Face Turn: Letho, the Big Bad of the second game, can be recruited to help Geralt for a crucial battle. If Geralt doesn't induce a Heel Face Door Slam, anyway.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: Geralt is this due to being a Witcher. No matter what, his decisions will also end up ticking off someone.
  • Hell Hound: The Hounds of the Wild Hunt come from the world of the White Frost and are made out of living ice. The Hunt uses them to pursue their prey, as well as to act as emergency shock troops.
  • Hidden Depths: After Sigi and Geralt help the mages escape Novigrad, if Geralt tries to convince Triss to stay, Sigi then reveals that he'd been smitten with Philippa Eilhart when they both served Redania.
    • Shortly after, Sigi expresses a desire to help every persecuted mage in the North.
  • Hidden Heart of Gold: Geralt can be played as this or as an unrepentant Jerk Ass.
    • The same can be said of Sigi Reuven, who helps the mages escape Novigrad both out of pragmatism and because Everyone Has Standards.
  • The High Queen: There are potentially two.
    • If Cerys an Crait becomes queen of Skellige, she focuses less on raiding foreign shores and more on tending to the homeland and uniting the clans.
    • Should Ciri become Empress of Nilfgaard, Dandelion will describe her as having "an empress' political instincts" and "a sense of simple, human decency," and further goes on to say how few monarchs boast both traits.
  • Horny Devils: The Succubi in this game are an unusual version of the trope in that they are almost universally Non Malicious Monsters, only killing people in self-defense or by accident. One even takes the effort to give a proper burial to an old man who came to her repeatedly in spite of his chronic heart condition.
  • Horny Vikings: Skellige is pretty much inhabited by the stereotypical fantasy Vikings — a Rape, Pillage, and Burn Proud Warrior Race with a fondness for axes, pillaging, battle and boats. They've also got some vaguely Celtic influences in their language, with names like Bran and suchnote . For added hilarity, one of the isles of Skellige is called "Faroe".
    • Another instance, though far more subtle — the opening cinematic involves a one-eyed, long-bearded, grey-cloaked man talking about "an age of axe, an age of sword".
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: A constant ever-present theme of the series which is underlined here. The Drowners, ghouls, and other monsters are threats to the populace but it's the war with Nilfgaard which is really devastating the land.
    • At least partially averted as Geralt tells a story of a sorcerer he knew who had a theory saying that ghouls played a valuable ecological role in preventing pestilence by eating corpses. Geralt then points out that the poor bastard didn't know that they also attack the living, and so his theory quickly fell apart.
  • Idiosyncratic Difficulty Levels: "Just the Story!", "Story and Sword!", "Blood and Broken Bones!", and "Death March!"
  • Ink-Suit Actor: Emhyr var Emreis greatly resembles his voice actor, Charles Dance. Slightly less so in the final game than in "The Sword of Destiny"-trailer, however, as he was given a more prominent nose in his final design.
  • Improbable Power Discrepancy: Enemies are occasionally buffed to serve as a Beef Gate to high-end quests. This can result in absurdities such as a swarm of ghouls, usually considered bread-and-butter work for a Witcher, being roughly as powerful as a vampire or a stone golem.
  • I'm Standing Right Here: Said word-for-word by Ciri when one of her friends in Novigrad openly flirts with Geralt.
  • Insane Troll Logic: Appropriately enough, trolls are prone of...interesting leaps of logic, such as making a fence out of boats they were asked to protect, so that no-one can get to them.
  • Interface Screw: There are certain enemies that have attacks that will obscure the screen and break lock-on. For example: if you get hit with a mud ball thrown by a Water Hag, then the screen will appropriately be splattered with mud.
  • It Will Never Catch On: The Xenovox, which is essentially a magical version of a walkie-talkie. While Geralt brings up the possibility, the reason why it would never catch on is because according to Keira Metz a xenovox is very hard to build, rather than "I don't care for it" being the excuse.
  • Invulnerable Horses: Played with. You'll find plenty of horse corpses scattered around the world, but no living horse can actually be harmed by you or the enemies.
  • Ironic Nursery Tune: The vampire lady in the cinematic "A Night to Remember"-trailer sings a low key nursery tune that begins fairly normal, but ends with a witcher chopping up and eating the recipient of the song. From the context, it may actually be a scary nursery tune for vampire children.
  • Karmic Death: In the course of the Novigrad storyline Triss burns down the witch hunters' headquarters with many hunters still alive inside, giving them the same fate they meted on many innocent mages. Unfortunately, it only deepens the anti-magic sentiment in the city.
  • King of the Homeless: The King of Beggars in Novigrad rules over an alleyway known as Putrid Orchard, that's location is kept a careful secret from outsiders, and extorts "taxes" from the beggars and petty thieves of the city. He is also a man of vision, planning one day to rise to true power and turn the city into a true haven of liberty. Meanwhile he's helping the city's dwindling mage population stay hidden from the witch hunters — amusingly ensuring that the city's beggars now have access to better health care than its rich and powerful.
  • Knight in Sour Armor: No matter how you choose to play him, Geralt is well and truly SICK of all the factions, politicking, and gamesmanship of the Northern Kingdoms. Even at his most anti-Nilfgaardian, he mostly wants to just get Ciri and Yennefer out of the warzone.

     L-Z 
  • La Résistance: Subverted. It's definitely a case of The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized. With the death of Foltest, the Temerian forces were disorganized and ineffective. They were easy prey for Nilfgaard, which defeated them on the battlefield and scattered their ranks. While some continue the fight, most have turned to banditry, deserted, or joined the Bloody Baron's forces. Indeed, many of the deserters and bandits Geralt encounters yell "For Temeria" as if they were still in the army fighting Nilfgaard. Which is not uncommon with some "resistance" groups throughout history.
    • However, there is an actual Temerian resistance group, made up of actual remnants of the Temerian army...and commanded by none other than Vernon Roche.
  • Lady of Black Magic: Yennefer, very literally. If that's what it takes, she gladly employs forbidden magics to find and help Ciri, collateral damage and personal cost be damned. Triss, in contrast, is willing to perform quite destructive acts with her sorcery, but explicitly refuses to partake in the darker shades of magic.
  • Lame Excuse: Subverted. Yennefer assumes Geralt losing his memory is this when discussing why he didn't come looking for her sooner. The fact the original Witcher game and, to a degree, the sequel had him neck-deep in other women probably didn't help his protestations.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: The true nature of the Wild Hunt is presented as a mystery in the trailers, but the readers of the books and the people who paid close attention in the previous game already know who and what they are.
  • Legitimate Businessmen's Social Club: Sigi Reuven's bathhouse in Novigrad is the gathering place for the city's Big Four crime bosses and the base of operations for Reuven aka Sigismund Dijkstra himself. It resembles the modern version of the trope more than a Thieves' Guild typical for European fantasy settings.
  • Les Collaborateurs: The Bloody Baron's army is made of deserters from the Temerian army who have taken to gathering supplies from the local villages for them and administrating in Nilfgaard's name. They're even worse to the peasantry than the Nilfgaard are.
  • Limited Special Collector's Ultimate Edition: Including the physical versions of bonus content found with a digital purchase as well as a game map, a Witcher medallion, and a 33x24x26cm hand-painted statuette of Geralt fighting a Griffin. The Xbox One version even included a couple decks of Gwent cards. All for the low price of $149.99.
  • Living Shadow: The Hym is a spectral entity that takes the place of the shadow of a person wrecked with guilt and feeds from their emotional torment, eventually forcing them to engage in self-harm. They can be banished by tricking them into switching to a fresh host who hasn't actually committed the crime they feel guilt over, but it can only work if the false host sincerely believes in their own guilt.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: The sheer number of unique NPCs with their own storylines is staggering, most likely surpassing every single game ever published; certainly every single one with full voice acting. Even many minor characters who never affect the main plot have surprising depth and complexity to them, and a good number of the ones that do also have their own storylines separate from the main quest.
  • Look Behind You: Used a few times:
    • An early quest-giver tries to do this to Geralt when Geralt discovers that he's responsible for the death of the cart driver he sent Geralt to look for.
    Geralt: "There's nothing behind me. I'm a Witcher, I'd have heard it. Just like I can hear your heart. Which is pounding... like a liar's."
    • Geralt can encounter a group of soldiers looting an abandoned quarry. The classic "Look behind you!" "I'm not falling for that old trick!" version, and of course there actually is a pack of ghouls behind the soldiers.
    • Dijkstra says this to Geralt (who doesn't believe him at first) if Triss decides to come back after all.
  • Lost Him in a Card Game: Literally happens to two significant characters.
    • The Bloody Baron came into ownership of Uma by winning him from a desperate merchant in Novigrad.
    • Zoltan lost his pet owl in a game of cards without ever realizing that it was Philippa the whole time.
  • Mama Bear: Yennefer to Ciri, contrasting Geralt's Papa Wolf.
  • Mercy Kill: If Sile de Tansarville was allowed to survive the end of The Witcher 2: Assassins Of Kings, she is found in a Novigrad prison in really bad shape. Geralt can offer this final mercy to her.
  • Mistaken for Gay: Elihal, one of Dandelion's acquaintances is this, mostly due to his penchant for cross dressing. In fact Dandelion once tried to hit on him when he was drunk.
  • Mood Whiplash: The lighthearted quest of helping Dandelion start up a cabaret turns dark when his friend and first serious love interest Priscilla gets brutally assaulted and forced to drink pure formaldehyde. Although she survives at the (temporary) cost of her voice, it turns out that the attacker is a serial killer who has brutally tortured and murdered a large number of people over the years, and it's up to Geralt to stop the killing spree.
  • Moral Myopia: Defied by Geralt, in keeping with his previous characterization.note 
    • In the 'Killing Monsters' trailer, he beheads a supernatural beast for slaying the innocent for food, and then murders his human employers for trying to murder an innocent woman themselves.
  • Multiple Endings: There are three major endings which determine the shape of your final quest, Something Ends, Something Begins. The three major endings are as follows:
    • Ciri dies, causing Geralt to become a Death Seeker and go for one final quest to retrieve Vesemir's wolf medallion, dying himself in the process.
    • Ciri becomes the Empress of Nilfgaard, planning to change things for the better, but potentially never seeing Geralt again.
    • Or Ciri becomes a Witcher, finding happiness in walking the Witcher's Path. Geralt passes on every skill he knows and she becomes famous through the land.
      • Added to that, the ending differs based on your choices during major political questlines of the game. Variables include who rules over North, whether Emhyr is alive, who reigns in Skellige and whether Geralt settled down with Triss, Yennefer or walked alone.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: White Orchard's smith has one of these if you visit him after completing his quest in his favor. He realizes the villagers were distrustful of him before but, because of his open support of Nilfgaard and handing over one of them to be hanged—they hate him now. Geralt advises him to leave with the Nilfgaardians if they depart.
  • Neutral No Longer: Averted. The game restores the option for Geralt to remain apolitical in the struggle between Nilfgaard and the Northern Kingdoms. Notably, Vesemir doesn't agree and is thoroughly Northern.
  • Never Live It Down: Invoked. Yennefer still gives Geralt a bit of grief over the "incantation" he'd recited in "The Last Wish" - "How was I to know it meant 'begone and go plough yourself'?"
    • Lambert is quite eager to make fun of Geralt for various things, including the "Killing Monsters" line from the announcement trailer after Geralt makes fun of the "tough-guy act".
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Skjall heroically tries to rescue Ciri from the Wild Hunt, and leads them away from his village. His reward? For having thought to have fled the battle, he is dishonored, banished from his home and renounced of his name, dubbed "Craven" by everyone who knew him. And, trying to clear his name, he ends up killed and left to rot.
    • If during Kings Gambit you help Cerys and expose Birna she'll only be arrested because her son Svanrige realizes the truth and exposes her. But because of the dishonor Birna brought upon the family name he'll either have to be killed or exiled.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Very few things have made Geralt snap - seeing what Whoreson Junior had done to the whores that were brought to him results in this getting delivered before Geralt calms down a bit.
  • No, You: This seems to be Eskel's favorite method of insult.
  • Not in This for Your Revolution: See Neutral No Longer. Geralt has numerous dialogue options to express his uncaring attitude about whoever wins the war between Nilfgaard and the Northern Kingdoms. This would be Out of Character if not for the thoroughly reprehensible behavior of the Northern monarchs during the second game. Can be Averted if Geralt aids either the Rebels or Nilfgaard. The latter, however, comes with heavy-heavy sarcasm.
  • Not Quite the Right Thing:
    • One scenario has Geralt offered a bribe by a arsonist not to turn him in. The arsonist committed the act while drunk out of the belief the dwarf was willingly aiding the Nifgaardians. If you turn down the bribe, the dwarf hands him over the Nilfgaardians to be hanged and then says he'll be supporting them for real now.
    • It happens again when Geralt tries to rescue the White Orchard barkeep from having the crap beaten out of her. It ends up killing several of her neighbors.
    • Once again in White Orchard, a minor sidequest has you brewing a Swallow potion as a last ditch attempt to heal a girl injured by the griffin. If you look at the journal afterwards you find out that she recovered physically, but the pain from the potion's toxins caused the girl to lose her mind. You even run into her beau in the Nilfgaard Base Camp in the southeastern most point in Velen.
    • When encountering a ghost, you hear a horrific tale about how she was eaten alive by rats while her lover was helpless to prevent her death. If you reunite them by taking her to him, she kills him and goes to spread disease across the land.
  • Not So Above It All: Yennefer, for all her prim-and-proper pomp, can doodle a goatee on a portrait of Avallac'h should you choose to ransack his lab.
  • Not So Stoic: When embarking to hunt the griffin in White Orchard, Vesemir tweaks Geralt's nose about that one time they had to hunt a monster in a trash heap, and Geralt spent half the next day bathing afterward.
    • In a much more serious example, when Geralt finds Ciri, he completely breaks down and cradles her body when she appears to be dead.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: How Ciri was able to face down the White Frost and survive is done entirely offscreen and left to the player's imagination.
  • Oh Crap!: If you follow the "Reasons of State" storyline Radovid finds himself at the mercy of Roche and his men at the end. He bangs on a random door, demanding to be let in, when it suddenly opens — revealing Philippa Eilhart behind it. Radovid's expression looks like he's just lived his worst nightmare in the waking world, which probably isn't far from truth.
  • Older Than They Look: Hubert Rejk, the Novigrad coroner, appears to be in his mid-thirties to early fourties, but he's old enough to have taught a fifty-three year old man medicine twenty years ago. He credits the time he spends breathing in the chemicals used to preserve corpses with his youthful appearance. The real reason is that he's a higher vampire.
    • Pretty much all magic users qualify. Geralt and Yennefer both have about a century on them, just for starters.
  • One of the Boys: Ciri gets this treatment from the Baron and his boys.
  • Our Ghosts Are Different: Wraiths and ghosts come in many varieties. Noonwraiths, for example, normally only appear during midday and are mostly impervious to damage unless under the influence of an Yrden sign or Moon Dust bomb.
  • Our Gryphons Are Different: Very shaggy and feral-looking, and fond of horsemeat, like in the legends. Curiously, the one seen in the previews has its wings as part of its forelimbs, rather than as separate limbs.
  • Outgrown Such Silly Superstitions: The Nilfgaardians have this attitude towards the gods. They interpret it as a license to rape, pillage, and plunder temples as well as abbeys. Given the amount of supernatural weirdness going on around the Witcher world, it may qualify them as Hollywood Atheists as well.
    • Given the Nilfgaardians frequently state things like, "May the Great Sun look after you." It's also clear they're Hypocrites. It's very likely they don't consider their religion a superstition, but apply that to Northern religions.
      • The Nilfgaardian religion is based around the idea of a God Emperor. So at least they can prove theirs exists, even if his divine powers can be put in question.
    • It's not like the Nilfgaardians are alone in this game. In Novigrad the practice of any religion other than that of the Eternal Fire is banned on the pain of burning at a stake.
    • The King of Beggars in Novigrad scoffs at religion, viewing it as just another way for the rich to control the poor. Considering that the city is in the middle of a witch-burning craze, he may have a point.
  • Out-of-Character Moment: A minor one which would only be relevant to book readers. Geralt has the opportunity to turn down payment several times for slaying monsters. Being a hero who is 'poor in dollars, rich in sense', Geralt would never do this in the books. He even puts down the idea of it in the first game, saying only rich people can afford to monster slay for free. Can be Averted if you take payment whenever you protect the locals from monsters. However, sometimes refusing to take payment leads to a different reward altogether (something that can be sold for more than the monetary reward or a discount).
  • Out of Focus: Given how much emphasis was placed on Geralt's relationship with Triss in the previous game, it can be a tad jarring to see her sidelined romantically even after rekindling things.
  • Papa Wolf: Geralt's reaction to anything involving threatening Ciri is to make plans to murder the person involved, no exceptions.
  • Playable Epilogue: Kinda. After completing the Epilogue quest, you get dropped into a Free Roam version of the game world set before the final chapter where all of the storyline characters are despawned.
  • Power Echoes: The King of the Wild Hunt's voice has a creepy reverb effect.
    • Notably, this is only caused by his headgear. He speaks normally whenever he removes the faceplate on his helm.
  • The Power of Love: Downplayed but present at the game's end, as this is what gives Ciri the strength to stop the White Frost and survive - she remembers a number of major interactions with Geralt near the end of the game where he supports her or cheers her up.
  • Previously On: When continuing a saved game, you are given a brief rundown of what happened the last time you played, narrated by an elderly Dandelion.
  • The Prophecy: Ithlinne's Prophecy plays a fairly significant part in the backstory of the game, especially when it comes to Ciri's role in the future of the world:
    The era of the sword and axe is nigh, the era of the wolf's blizzard. The Time of the White Frost and the White Light is nigh, the Time of Madness and the Time of Contempt: Tedd Deireádh, the Time of End. The world will die amidst frost and be reborn with the new sun. It will be reborn of Elder Blood, of Hen Ichaer, of the seed that has been sown. A seed which will not sprout but burst into flame!
  • The Quisling: The Bloody Baron is a former Temerian soldier who takes over the Velen region of the country with his fellow deserters...and promptly hands it over to Nilfgaard. Unusually, this is treated as a valid, if somewhat contemptible, course of action.
  • Rainbow Pimp Gear: In full effect. There's no way to customize armor appearance, and though armor part of the same set looks cohesive, it's fully possible to wear black plate mail as a top, with denim-blue pants and brown shoes - making Geralt look like a renaissance fair reenactor whose only put on half his costume. More colorful and garish combinations are also possible, thanks to many of the light armor tops and trousers who tend to favor bright colors.
  • Ravens and Crows: The previews suggest that carrion birds mark at least some points of interest in the No-Man's Land, due to the corpses left behind by monsters.
    • They are often seen representing ancient and sinister powers. They serve the Crones of the Crookback Bog, as well as Leshens, and these creatures can turn into flocks of ravens at will.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: One gameplay footage features a Nilfgaardian commander requisitioning food from the local alderman, who is overawed by the commander and essentially groveling instead of giving a straight answer. The commander stands up, points out the calluses on his hands, and demands they speak "peasant to peasant". The alderman replies there are 40 bushels; there would have been more, but Temerian forces had requisitioned some of it already. The commander only asks for 30 bushels out of the 40.
    • This is intentionally played with, as the same commander, upon receiving the 30 bushels and finding some to be rotten, has the alderman whipped for giving the army defective goods.
    • It is a running theme in the game how the same authority figures can be both magnanimous and tyrannical, depending on their personal standards, or even just their present mood, underlining how unchecked power is inherently arbitrary to those who live under it, whether well-intentioned or not.
    • Crach an Craite, the Jarl of Kaer Trolde, is probably the only ruler in the game who is wholly straightforward and honourable, with no hidden agendas or skeletons in his closet. He is also Ciri's step-grandfather and an old friend of Geralt and Yennefer, making him doubly unique amongst the aristocrats in the story by treating a witcher with sincere warmth and respect.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • While Geralt can kill bandits and monsters in the wilderness to his heart's content, using his Witcher skills in urban areas results in him being labeled a monster. Even if someone is being attacked, they react horribly to watching people cut down in front of them. This is doubly so when it's potentially someone's neighbor.
    • Think you can play Geralt like a suave ladies man and romance both Yennefer and Triss at once? Go ahead, see what happens...
  • Really Gets Around: Averted for once with Geralt. While he can sleep with either Yennefer, Triss, or both which isn't recommended plus a couple of others, this is a far cry from previous games. Plus, both Yennefer and Triss are women he has long-standing relationships with. Played straight if you decide Geralt should indulge the services of Novigrad's brothels.
    • Reaches Memetic Sex God proportions with Dandelion. You are sent on a quest which consists of interviewing his romantic conquests in the city. They include bards, washer-women, an elven tailor, housemaids, a school teacher, and a pair of Nilfgaard identical twins neither who slept with him. What's crazier? This is only his most recent girlfriends and half the list Zoltan gave you.
  • Red Light District: Curiously for a city practically ruled by religious fundamentalists, Novigrad has a number of taverns, whorehouses, and gambling halls. Probably so they know which buildings to avoid.
  • The Remnant: Geralt, Vesemir, Ciri, and a handful of others are the only Witchers left in the world. Most people are unaware of this fact.
  • Revenge: The griffin in White Orchard is mostly doing this. While it did have a nest and otherwise acts like a regular griffin, its relations with the town aren't improved by the Nilfgaardian soldiers killing its mate, smashing its eggs, and burning its nest. The griffin is understandably pissed.
    • Geralt can find his witcher comrade Lambert in the middle of a brutal manhunt after the people who assassinated his friend from the Cat School.
    • King Radovid hands Geralt the location for Whoreson Junior for a favor? Said favor? Bring him Phillipa alive so he can torture her to death.
    • Philippa, during Reasons of State. She ambushes Radovid as he tries to escape the conspirators, blinds him, and stabs him in the back.
  • Running Gag: Ronvid of the Small Marsh is persistent in wanting to defend the honor of the Maid of Bilberry.
  • Sadistic Choice: Invoked by the King of the Wild Hunt to threaten Geralt:
    King: Every decision you make will bring devastation. Each choice will lead to a greater evil.
    • This also happens to NPCs in Velen, since they're living in a literal war zone - do they send some children off to "gather mushrooms" or "follow the trail of treats", or let the entire family starve because there are too many mouths to feed?
      • As it turns out, unlike the player might have expected, the "trail of treats" does exist and there's food and shelter on the other side. Unfortunately coupled with a very short life span, as the Crones simply fatten the children to be eaten.
    • A malicious spirit of a murdered druidess who has been killing people left and right promises to release a group of children set for sacrifice. Her price? Geralt has to release her. There is no good choice. And even then, one of the in-game books implies that the "murdered druidess" spirit is the spirit of the being that created the Crones.
    • Happens again in Reasons of State when Radovid is assassinated. Roche celebrates with Thaler and Ves by revealing they've made a separate peace with Nilfgaard that cedes Lyria and Aedirn to the Emperor as well as makes Temeria a vassal state. Dijkstra reveals he has no intention of surrendering to the Empire and intends to fight on, based on recent information from Geralt, but this would result in a unified North with Temeria firmly under Redania's control. Geralt can either save Roche and condemn three nations of the North to Nilfgaard's rule—or just leave them to sort it out themselves, which he's fully aware leads to Dijkstra's victory. The third option is not to take the quest at all, which leads to an outcome far worse than the previous two by leaving a totally insane tyrant to rule the North and burn and put on spikes everything non-human or magical.
  • Sanity Slippage: Far from the Magnificent Bastard of the first two games, King Radovid is suffering this. He's begun making bizarre metaphors about chess, betraying everyone around him, and engaging in Disproportionate Retribution wherever possible. It's implied the pressures of fighting Nilfgaard are too much for him.
  • The Scapegoat: Members of the Church of the Eternal Fire take advantage of the chaos of the war to blame it on convenient scapegoats: mages, nonhumans, and, of course, witchers. In a sidequest, it's mentioned that a witcher in the White Orchard area was blamed for the disappearance of a child, taken and tortured and attempting to clear a wraith from a ruin to prove his innocence. It later turns out that a drowner had killed the kid. Oops.
  • Saved by Canon: In the books, Emperor Emhyr var Emreis dies many years after both the saga and the games, implying he survives the events of The Witcher 3. Subverted thanks to the game having Multiple Endings. If Nilfgaard's invasion fails, Emhyr gets assassinated by his fellow Nilfgaardians. If it succeeds, he lives as Emperor of the North and South.
  • Scavenger Hunt: A number of the sidequests that you can start are this. Most lead to caches of treasure and/or equipment that you may or may not need. A series of four in particular, however, have rewards that are too good to pass up: the rewards are the missing diagrams for equipment from the Viper, Cat, Griffin, and Bear Witcher Schools. One of the bits of free DLC adds Wolf School equipment to the list.
  • Schmuck Bait: Geralt can find a man tied up and left to be killed by Drowners. He claims the peasantry did it because he was a deserter. Geralt can point out that even Temerian peasants are unlikely to leave a man to be eaten alive by monsters for just desertion. He admits there was "other stuff." If Geralt frees him, he goes on to be a ruthless bandit. In a rare aversion of Ungrateful Bastard, he offers to share his plunder.
    • In White Orchard you come across a woman that had been attacked by the griffin. She will die a painless death unless you give her a Swallow potion to give her a chance to live. Geralt explicitly says that she might die a slow painful death if he gives it to her and the journal says so as well. While she does live if you give her the potion, her mind was destroyed by it.
  • Serial Killer: Geralt can end up hunting one down in Novigrad after the killer goes after one of his friends.
  • Serious Business: Gwent. People are willing to pay king's ransoms for the best cards of the game and even commit murders over them.
  • Shipper on Deck: Sigi Reuven is quite overt in trying to get Geralt and Triss to rekindle their romance.
  • Shout-Out:
    • A number of in-game conversations refer to "The Red Funeral".
    • Geralt encounters one bounty hunter named Djenge Frett.
      • Said bounty hunter asks for help in tracking three notorious Grossbart brothers named Hegel, Manfried and Jesse. Two formers are eponymous protagonists of the book 'The Sad Tale of the Brothers Grossbart' by Jesse Bullington who lent the name to the third brother.
    • The bookshop in Novigrad has books that reference other franchises, such as Necronomicon and a vampire romance novel dig at Twilight.
    • Some peasants in Velen will mutter "War... it just never changes."
    • When meeting the crime lords of Novigrad, apparently Cleaver had called Whoreson Junior an uncle-fucker.
    • There's an achievement for winning a fistfight without taking damage. The name? Fist of the South Star. You Are Already Dead indeed.
    • After you find Ciri, she tells about a world she spent six months in, where everybody has "metal in their heads" and wage war from afar through some sort of megascopes, and instead of horses everybody has flying wagons. Many have taken this to be a Shout-Out to CDProjekt Red's upcoming Cyberpunk 2077.
    • For that matter, the circumstances in which you find Ciri are reminiscent of Snow White: A comatose princess in a lonely hut in the company of a band of dwarves? One of the dwarves is even a nacroleptic nicknamed Sleepy!
    • One of the leaders of the Wild Hunt is named Caranthir. As if there wasn't enough references to Tolkien's works.
    • During Yen's segment of the "Final Preperations" Quest, the man you are meeting is the only person to ever escape Oxenfurt Prison. His name? Abbe Faria, the old priest from The Count of Monte Cristo.
    • You can encounter a female bandit leader nicknamed Little Red who happens to be a werewolf. She doubles as a Mythology Gag to the short story "The Lesser Evil", which features a female bandit leader Expy of Snow White.
    • In the keep-turned-prison Kaer Almhult, you can find the corpse of a halfling with dark blonde hair, dressed in a red tunic. The cell has no bars, just a big hole with a great view on the nearby deadly cliffs instead of one of the walls.
      Geralt: Sky cells... nice idea for a prison without bars. Shame he didn't know how to fly.
    • Geralt is given a quest to help cure a druid of his muteness. Turns out it was actually a vow of silence.
    • In a notice board in Ard Skelling, a post talks about sightings of a white whale. The poster's name? Ismael.
    • In a cemetery in Velen (where Geralt kills a Grave Hag and saves an impostor witcher from a Ghoul), going into the crypt and emerging from it causes the two angel statues standing guard to shift position any time you take the camera off them.
    • While in Novigrad, you can take on a mission to help a master swordsmith named Hattori. He says that he will "Make you a sword that can kill the gods!" and even runs a dumpling shop since he retired from swordmaking.
      • Regarding Quentin Tarantino, in Crow's Perch, if you go down the stairs of the fort, you'll hear two guards mentioning something familiar:
    First guard: Well, bring out the gimp.
    Second guard: Think the gimp's sleepin'.
    First guard: Well, guess you'll just gonna have to go wake him up now, won't you?
  • Show, Don't Tell: One of the things the game was praised for by Yahtzee, citing the sequence where Geralt is properly trained for his meeting with Emperor Emhyr.
  • Sirens Are Mermaids: Averted. They are reptilian, winged creatures with upper bodies resembling human women. However, they can swim as well as they can fly, and pursue Geralt into the water if he tries to swim to escape them.
  • Soft Water: While a sizable drop onto land can injure or even kill Geralt, a long drop into a deep enough body of water won't even scratch him.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Geralt is actually the idealist in this case, with Lambert having a massive Freudian Excuse for why he's The Cynic.
  • Sympathy for the Devil: Par for the course with the series, as sentient monsters aren't typically presented as Always Chaotic Evil, but more as needing to do whatever monstrous acts they commit in order to survive.
    • Some of the human characters invoke this, as well. For example, the Bloody Baron, a drunken brute who oppresses the peasants under him and beats his own wife, is a human wreck who is too terrified to face the world sober, and tries to make up for his bad deeds with little acts of kindness, like giving a home to an abandoned little girl and being a Doting Parent. He is still guilty as sin, but at least you get the feeling that he really hates this, and would sincerely want to be a heroic person, if he only had a stronger character.
  • Take That: During the 'The Tower Outta Nowhere' sidequest, the mage trapped in the tower that is disturbing the daily life of Urialla Harbor tells you that, in order for him to get the tower to move somewhere else, he must recover control of it. In order to do this, you must get him Gottfried's Omni-opening Grimoire, which contains among its pages the way to counteract the tower's Defensive Regulatory Magicon. Yeah... subtly, thy name is "ringing the world's largest gong".
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Emhyr and Geralt can develop this sort of relationship.
    • Hell, any time Geralt works with the Nilfgaardians (and there are plenty of opportunities), every answer variation is nasty to some degree. It is literally impossible to be completely respectful and polite to the Nilfgaardian invaders.
    • In the Battle of Kaer Morhen Geralt can recruit friends and allies from all over, including some who don't exactly get along, most notably Roche and Letho.
  • Teleport Spam: Employed liberally by the more high ranking Warriors of the Wild Hunt in battle. Ciri's Flash Step eventually develops close to this, as well.
  • Time Abyss: The Ladies of the Woods are said to have been in the swamp longer than its oldest tree, and that they were already there when the elves first came.
  • Tin Tyrant: The King of the Wild Hunt is clad in an elaborate, spiky suit of armour that has a skull-like helmet with a tall crown on top.
  • To Be Lawful or Good: A problem which Geralt runs into a lot of the times as those players who are used to acting righteously will often have trouble figuring out which option is the "Good" one. The legal system in the Witcher universe is Draconian, prejudiced, and classist while unforeseen consequences often follow good-intentioned deeds.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: The var Attre sisters are this. Despite being identical twins, one loves swordplay and dresses in a tunic, the other is more gossipy and dresses in a noble's dress.
  • Too Dumb to Live: A truly bizarre example of Genre Blindness happens with King Radovid and GERALT. Radovid showers Geralt with trust, extremely lucrative missions, protection from witch-hunters, and offers of help to complete his missions. This carries over the aid he lent Geralt in Assassin of Kings. The thing is, Radovid is fostering a massive witch-hunting craze which is murdering hundreds of innocents as well as stirring the populace up against magic-users, alchemists, and sorcerers. Geralt is, notably, an alchemist, magic-user, and lover of two sorcereresses (potentially a third in the game too).
    • Though, in a weird way, it makes sense as Radovid seems to think Geralt is a hero and is oblivious to the fact he wouldn't feel the same way about his patron's righteous crusade.
    • Radovid doesn't really like or trust Geralt, though. If you go through with the plan, he orders Geralt killed the second he is not needed any more. Not because he smells treachery, though, just because he happens to find Geralt's attitude annoying. He goes along because his hatred of Eilhart supersedes his reason, and Geralt is the only one to bring anything resembling decisive evidence.
  • Two Roads Before You: As in previous installments, the game is all about choice and consequences. For instance: Slay a monster and watch its worshipers be purged along with it, or allow them to all live, at the cost of the monster killing others?
  • Underground Railroad: Triss is managing one for mages trying to avoid being burned at a stake in Novigrad with the aid of King of Beggars and Dijkstra.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: Napp, a villager in White Orchard, who burned the village's forge (owned by a dwarf) down just because he served the Nilfgaardian garrison and many of the villagers thought he was getting paid (which he wasn't). If Geralt brings Napp before the blacksmith, the dwarf yells that he served the man's mother for years and never charged her anything. He's actually angry enough that he calls soldiers over and gets Napp hung. And then he betrays Temeria and joins Nilfgaard purely to spite the village.
  • Unwinnable by Mistake: It's very easy to completely break the main quest by simply accidentally stumbling upon a plot-relevant destination.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Lambert and Geralt, best encapsulated in an exchange made during an hours-long drink-fest near the end of the game.
  • War Is Hell: The first part of the game includes visiting a massive battlefield, a ravaged village, and an occupied town. In White Orchard, Geralt also talks to a scholar who is going to the front lines in order to chronicle the war firsthand. Geralt suggests the book would be more historical if it focused on the rapes, horror, and despair. The scholar, of course, dismisses it as something no one would interested in reading.
  • What Year Is It?: The official gameplay trailer features a scene where Geralt and another person open a sarcophagus and find a non-decomposed, apparently living guy inside it—a vampire, who then asks whether it's 1358 yet. Geralt replies it is not (the in-game year is 1272). The vampire then tells the two of them in no uncertain terms to leave him alone.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Letho becomes this to both Geralt and Nilfgaard both if you spared his life. He chose to disappear rather than continue his service to the Nilfgaard Emperor or rebuild the Viper school. When you encounter him in a possible sidequest, he states that the Emperor eventually decided to have him killed as a loose end and he's been hiding ever since.
    • Priscilla is last seen recovering in a hospital, with Dandelion declaring they start a double act with him singing and her playing the lute. Nothing ever seems to come out of this, unfortunately, and she is never mentioned again.
      • Actually, she is mentioned in the epilogues.....Dandelion says she got her voice back, but can't sing as high as before, and he likes that better.
    • The third Crone manages to escape Ciri's assault in the endgame, but never makes a comeback if you complete the game with Ciri still alive. Should Ciri die during the second to last quest, Geralt himself will journey back to finish the job. The other endings very subtly hint at her fate as well- Ciri will have Vesemir's medallion back, implying she hunted down and killed the crone at some point after defeating the White Frost.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Geralt can do this constantly to Yennefer, who makes many morally ambiguous decisions such as joining Nilfgaard, robbing a close friend of the family, reanimating a corpse and desecrating a holy shrine in the pursuit of Ciri. Yennefer's response is always some variant of I Did What I Had to Do.
    • Geralt can abandon Roche, Thaler, and Ves to be a killed after finding out they've signed a treaty with Nilfgaard.
    • Yennefer gives Geralt one of these for his relationship with Triss while amnesiac.
  • Whole Plot Reference: The "Carnal Sins" quest is a huge reference to Se7en, as it features a religious zealot ritualistically murdering people he sees as sinners in order to wake society up into being more righteous.
  • Wholesome Crossdresser: Elihal enjoys dressing up like a woman, among other types of people, to pretend to be something that he isn't. He's also a Nice Guy, a skilled tailor, and a good friend of Dandelion's.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Portals and doublets for Geralt. He hates the feeling of teleporting, often having the portal exit him far from the target destination, and formal wear makes him itch. Of course, he constantly has to travel by portal and both Yennefer and Triss request him to wear a proper tunic several times. One sidequest can add another thing to the list: extremely smelly cheeses.
  • Wicked Witch: The Ladies of the Woods fit the bill, at least in terms of their hideous appearance. Morally they seem to be ambiguous, but decidedly sinister. There is also an enemy type called Hag, which draws from the same imagery, although they seem to be non-sentient monsters.
  • Wide Open Sandbox: You are free to wander throughout the multiple regions that serves as the setting of Wild Hunt, unlike previous games, where you were limited to specific areas depending on your point in the story.
    • There are five distinct regions: the farmlands of White Orchard, the combined Velen-Novigrad countryside, the Nordic-style Skellige Islands, and the mountain pass containing Kaer Morhen. There are also a few smaller areas that are separate from the main regions.
  • Wife-Basher Basher: When Geralt finds out that the Bloody Baron beat his wife, he does not hesitate to give the man a severe beating himself, and makes it clear afterward that he's utterly disgusted with what he's done.
  • Wife Husbandry: The Crones suggest Geralt has unwittingly done this with Ciri and that she and he would make a good couple. Geralt's reaction? He gets a look of visceral disgust and says, in no uncertain terms, 'No.'
  • The Wild Hunt: The spectral cavalry unit known as the Wild Hunt returns once again for this final entry in the Geralt trilogy.
  • Wolf Pack Boss: The Crones are fought together in a fight that's designed to test everything you've learned about Ciri's fighting style.
  • Woman Scorned:
    • There's not one but two sidequests involving a woman who decides to get vengeance on their old flame by trying the man's child with the other woman. Jonna from the "Nithing" Sub-quest was mad Lothar left her for a new family after ten years of being together, so she used a curse to try and kill his newborn son.
    • Another quest involves a woman in love with a Werewolf who secludes himself during the full moon. She tricks her sister (the werewolf's wife) into stumbling upon him during a full moon, which winds up getting her killed because, well, he's a werewolf. She'd hope he'd scare her into leaving and she could take her place at his side. Upon learning this, the Werewolf wants to kill her and then commit suicide by witcher. You can save her if you're so inclined.
    • A minor version of this happens to Geralt himself if you try to chase a romance with both Triss and Yennefer at once - they offer him a threesome, but instead they team up to humiliate him and effectively dump him.
  • World of Snark: A good majority of the major characters of the game are almost as inclined towards deadpan snarking as Geralt, if not more so. This is especially true to Novigrad, where it seems that nearly every character is well educated and vents their frustrations through incessant sarcasm.
    • Snark-to-Snark Combat: In overdrive when Geralt talks with Dijkstra. It goes to the point where both have slight problems figuring out when the other is being sarcastic or not.
  • Worst News Judgement Ever: A historical version where Geralt confronts a scholar about a planned book on war. Geralt points out that a book about it should reflect it without tales of glory, adventure, or otherwise prettying it up. The scholar says that such details are insignificant from a researcher's standpoint.