Ah, romance. Strolling along the beach… Until you stumble across a group of drowners.
There’s something about romance in videogames that draws people in. It’s like watching a romance movie where you’re part of the story, except you can murder things! Though preferably not the main character’s love interest.
The Witcher III is no different, as it gives you the freedom to send Geralt on a rollercoaster of feelings, with several different people to pursue. Oddly enough, he only seems to attract sorceresses, and he can still throw himself at various ladies-of-the-night even when he’s supposedly “with” someone, but at least the option exists!
Who To Chase?
In my first time through The Witcher III, I chose to have Geralt go after Yennefer. No, not because of any name similarities to Jennifer. I just felt like that’s what should happen since their fates have been so inextricably bound. Of course, there were times when I felt like I was making the wrong decision, especially when Yennefer treated him with such disdain and disinterest. However, in the interest of maintaining the romance story arc I perceived as canon, I stuck to my decision.
During this second playthrough, my mind has changed. It’s clear to me that Triss is the better person for Geralt, given that she seems to actually care about him. Yennefer is too dismissive; too focused on furthering her own interests. It’s interesting; that choice made about what matters. The fact that I came to a different conclusion because I chose a different way to think about it. As opposed to meta-gaming, I chose to do what I felt made sense from Geralt’s perspective.
Oh… My… God… I role-played in a role-playing game!
Seriously though, it felt like Geralt’s love interests felt like a choice between whim, free will, and fate. Yennefer is the fateful love interest considering that her and Geralt have constantly found themselves coming back to one another. Triss represents free will, as she’s honestly the one who seems to care about Geralt, and is most broken about the fact that Geralt’s relationship with Yennefer is so complicated. Keira Mentz is the whimsy one; I mean, she’s not exactly looking for a commitment.
Outside The Love Triangles
Geralt isn’t the only one who has love on his mind, as there are several NPCs you come across who exemplify the complicated nature of relationships. There are plenty of people dispersed around the world who have the type of relationship you’d expect in a medieval-style world. Pig-headed men with dutiful wives and whatnot. However, just as there are folks in Velen, Novigrad, White Orchard, and Skellige who have the type of relationship you’d expect, there are a few that stick out. One in particular is the man you meet when starting the Black Pearl quest.
Nidas greets you in Novigrad with a simple request; he wants Geralt to meet him in Skellige to help him retrieve a black pearl for his wife, who he promised to give one to. It’s innocuous enough, and it seems like it’s just another one of those fetch quests we’ve grown so accustomed to, but there’s more to it than meets the eye. He would’ve gone himself, but in his business over the years, he never got the chance to divert himself to the location of those pearls. Now that he’s older, he doesn’t feel like he’d be able to make it happen.
So you can help him, and if you do, he offers to repay you once you find him in Novigrad again. Assuming you aren’t a douche to him, you learn something heartbreaking.
Nidas’ wife hasn’t been herself for years, and her memories have slowly been fading. Nidas believed that bringing her the promised pearl would jog her memory enough to help her remember him again, if only for a moment, but it didn’t work at all. She’s suffering from what I’d assume is dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, and she doesn’t even remember her husband anymore. It’s depressing to think that someone you spent your life with could have their memories stripped away from them, and you have to watch them slowly become someone who doesn’t love you anymore. It’s the premise of dozens of movies, as well as games like Firewatch.
It’s heartbreaking to me because I could see myself in that situation, and I love when games force me to confront those difficult feelings.
Is there a game you’ve played where something seemingly minor really made you think about your own life? Forced you into introspection?
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