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The Witcher Retrospective
Editorial - posted by VentilatorOfDoom on Tue 22 February 2011, 13:19:40Tags: CD Projekt; Witcher, The
Eurogamer takes a look back at The Witcher.
So do you lead the imperial unit to the rebel camp to rout them completely, or do you lead the rebels in a pre-emptive ambush on the imperial guards camped in the forest? I felt that as a Witcher I should remain impartial and not get involved in the politics, so I continued to go about my business, determined not to help either, although it seemed that neither would attack the other until I acted and both would be stuck in their respective camps for game-time eternity. Eventually I left the swamplands, willing to leave that particular branch of the story unresolved, such was my feeling for remaining true to the neutrality of the Witcher ethos.
But it did resolve. Despite what seems like a two-choice scenario, CD Projekt RED built in an invisible third choice: do nothing, as I had. This choice comes with its own outcomes and pretty storyboards further down the line, and you're chided for your neutrality; reminded that it has its own consequences. Had I created my own character, I likely would have chosen one side over the other, but with The Witcher I felt it was my duty not to choose, because that was what a Witcher would do.
The Witcher's legacy to me is that it encouraged me to play an actual role, rather than flesh out a cipher with a range of canned goods and evils. It illustrated that game developers needn't rely on reward or punishment to make us care about the choices we make: provide compelling narrative, not shiny trinkets, as the preeminent consequence of our decisions and that will be enough. We'll even forgive you the sex cards.
I didn't know you could do nothing and this quest would still resolve. Cool.
Spotted at: RPGWatch