The Witcher 3 is hailed by many as the greatest modern RPG, and we definitely cannot disagree. We have had great RPGs originating from Japan and the West with brilliant storytelling and gameplay mechanics over the years, but none of them did everything as perfectly as Witcher 3. It is very hard to nitpick over the game and find flaws, and while some people might argue about the combat lacking depth and feeling a little clumsy, it makes the game more approachable for players who are not experienced at RPGs. Like all good RPGs, you get to choose your own path, and there are 36 different sequences that can be part of the three endings. Unlike games like Until Dawn or Walking Dead where your actions can instantly affect the fate of several characters, Witcher 3 believes in second chances. A single bad move will not jeopardize the fate of a character.
Throughout the three games, we get to play as Geralt and see him mature as a character. But the looming White Frost is not something our hero from Rivia can tackle. In fact, it is Ciri who manages to dispel the White Frost and save the world. One thing that CDPR did brilliantly was developing Geralt and Ciri’s relationship. Even though Geralt is not Ciri’s father by blood, he cares for her just as much as a real father would and how you interact with her can affect the ending of the game. There are other pivotal decisions that you need to make that affect the fate of characters like the Bloody Baron, Keira Metz, Sara the Godling and more. While your actions in their respective quests do not affect the main ending, they can change the game world significantly permanently. You also have influence over the politics of the land and depending on who you side with; you can help your allies win wars in Skellige, Temeria, Novigrad, and Nilfgaard.
Bad Ending: Ciri Dies
To trigger the bad ending, you need to ruin your relationship with Ciri throughout the game, and you should never be getting this ending unless you are actively trying to. It takes a complete madman or a psychopath to get the bad ending involuntarily considering how much effort you have to put in to make your daughter lose all respect for you. During the Blood on the Battlefield mission, if you choose the “Relax, you don’t have to be good at everything” option, it will make Ciri question herself, and she loses her self-confidence.
In the same chapter, if you choose to accept payment from the emperor for bringing Ciri to him, Ciri will be upset over your actions. It makes her feel that you value nothing more than money. Not showing empathy during The Child of the Elder Blood also adversely affects your relationship with her. If you trigger all of the above sequences, Ciri ends up dying when he tries to battle the White Frost. During the ending sequence, we see Geralt hunt down the last remaining crone who escaped Ciri’s wrath. Geralt manages to retrieve Ciri’s Witcher medallion, and we see nothing but a heartbroken father. Monsters approach him, and it is implied that Geralt did let himself be killed as he did not attempt to resist the attacks.
The bad ending is actually a great learning experience for players. If you accidentally managed to trigger the worst possible ending there is to the game, it may or may not have been intentional. The key to avoiding the ending the bad ending is by looking out for Ciri, not as a father but for her best interests. There is a time for when Ciri needs to be treated as a child and when you need to support her decisions. Parents raise their children with all the love in the world but a time comes when the children grow up and need to think for themselves. Trying to school them or forcing your views as a parent will only push them away. When Ciri wants to reminisce and enjoy a snowball fight with Geralt, it is necessary to indulge in her demands as there is nothing more important to her during that very moment than Geralt.