The Witcher 3's story had a lot of great moments. One of my favorite parts, though, was the ending to one romance subplot.
Warning: Spoilers for The Witcher 3's campaign
You can bed several women throughout Witcher 3. Two of them are Yennefer and Triss, your character's current and former girlfriends respectively. You can go so far as to profess your love for each, too.
My expectation was that the player would eventually be given a choice between the two. In Mass Effect, two companions you've been flirting with will approach you and ask you to choose between them. Considering how taken Witcher 3's female characters are with Geralt, I figured the same thing would happen.
However, things go sideways late in the game when Geralt and his allies are planning their final battle against the Wild Hunt. Triss and Yennefer approach Geralt and propose a threesome. They ask you to meet them at a nearby inn for the fun. When you arrive, they're both waiting in lingerie The two tie you to the bed and then...leave.
The next morning, you wake up and get untied by your friend Dandelion.
"Oh, Geralt...how little you know about women," he says. "Did you really think you could have them both?"
When you approach Triss and Yennefer later, they make it clear you got what you deserved for two-timing them. From that point on, your romance with each is over. You'll still fight the Wild Hunt alongside them but they're not interested in you as a partner anymore.
It's a sad and embarrassing ending but in a way it's more realistic than a lot of video game romances. In most other games, the romance is entirely driven by the player. If you say the right things and make the right moves in Mass Effect, the object of your desire falls in love with you.
With this aborted threesome scene, though, the player's love interests are making the decision. Triss and Yennefer aren't going to wait around while you decide between them or fight each other over you. They're tired of your crap and are moving on. Their desires matter, too.
The other big love interest, Keira Metz, shows agency as well. Geralt can sleep with her early on in the adventure but she doesn't allow herself to be wooed later on. Instead, she departs on a trip with a fellow Witcher and it's implied the two become an item. You don't even have a shot at a long-term relationship.
This kind of behavior runs counter to the usual wish fulfillment in video games. Still, I think it makes for better story-telling. Wooing a romantic partner shouldn't feel as mechanical as earning levels or gathering crafting materials. There ought to be some push and pull in that relationship. The thought that an NPC love interest can walk away at any time either because the player pissed them off or simply failed to woo them makes success more special.
I'm sure that some future games will treat romance subplots merely as a chance to show off boobs. Developers looking to tell great love stories could learn something from CD Projekt and their work with Witcher 3, though.
Staff Writer at CinemaBlend.
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