The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt has a knack for hitting players right in the feels. For many, the Witcher 3 was one big emotional rollercoaster ride, taking players through some of the most moving quests in gaming. The Witcher 3 also tends to be more thematically dark and dramatic, adding to the intensity of some of its best narrative moments.
Below we've listed three of the most heartbreaking moments in the Witcher 3, sure to tug at the heartstrings of even the toughest monster slayer. There’s obviously going to be spoilers here; this is mainly for the purpose of nostalgia, allowing you to relive some of the most memorable and emotional scenes from the Witcher 3.
The Bloody Baron’s Story
The Bloody Baron’s story arc is one of the first heartbreaking tales you can encounter upon reaching Velen. In his search for Ciri, Geralt is introduced to Philip Strenger, the leader of Velen, more commonly known as the "Bloody Baron". The Baron's wife and daughter have gone missing, and he could use a Witcher’s help to track them down.
Geralt agrees to help search for the Baron’s wife Anna, and daughter, Tamara. However, as Geralt learns more about their recent activities, he discovers the story of a broken family, marred by alcoholism, adultery, violence, and guilt. It's eventually revealed that Anna and Tamara didn’t just disappear; they actually fled Crow’s Perch to escape the Bloody Baron’s violent behavior.
Upon discovering she's pregnant with the Baron’s child, Anna makes a deal with the Ladies of the Wood to work as their slave if they can get rid of the unwanted child for her. The Bloody Baron is later reunited with this unborn child, who has taken the form of a cursed Botchling. The Baron’s guilt is palpable throughout the entirety of this quest, which can really hit home for certain players.
The fate of both Anna and the Bloody Baron ultimately lies in the player’s hands, albeit indirectly. Once players choose the fate of the spirit in the tree, Anna will either live to become a catatonic shell of her former self, or she will die after undergoing a gruesome transformation. The scenario where Anna dies is the definitely the saddest of the two, as it results in the Baron hanging himself due to his guilt over Anna’s demise.
Ciri in the Isle of Mists
After gathering all the information needed to reach Ciri, Geralt sets sail for the Isle of Mists with the hope of finding Ciri before the Wild Hunt does. Geralt tracks Ciri to a cabin inhabited by a series of dwarves, where he must complete a Snow White-inspired escort mission. Upon helping the dwarves find their missing companions, Geralt finally gains entry to the locked cabin where Ciri is supposedly being held.
Geralt enters the room to find Ciri’s cold, lifeless body resting upon the bed. You can almost feel Geralt’s heart break as he touches her shoulder, realizing he’s too late. Not all is as it seems, however. As he lifts Ciri for one last embrace, the mysterious sprite that led Geralt to the cabin suddenly revives Ciri, recounting memories the two had shared in the past. Who’s cutting onions in here?!
Vesemir’s Untimely Demise
Act 2 culminates with the Battle of Kaer Morhen. After meticulous planning and preparation, the team braces themselves for the arrival of the Wild Hunt. An epic battle ensues, consisting of an all-out brawl between the Wild Hunt and pretty much every powerful character you’ve recruited up until that point.
Things are going relatively fine, until the Wild Hunt busts down the main door with an icy burst, freezing Geralt and several others. Ciri and Vesemir stumble to their feet, but after a brief scuffle both are quickly grabbed by members of the hunt. As Ciri approaches to give in to Eredin’s demands, Vesemir quickly stabs his captor, Imlerith. With a single motion, Imlerith takes Vesemir’s life in front of Ciri’s eyes. The remainder of the scene is essentially a lesson in how not to piss off a child of the Elder Blood.
Vesemir’s death is initially more shocking than it is sad. It’s actually his funeral that’s the real tear-jerker. This is one of the saddest moments in the Witcher 3, for both dedicated Witcher fans and newcomers alike. The Witcher 3 does a great job of emphasizing Vesemir’s role in Geralt and Ciri’s lives, making it all the more heart-wrenching to see him go.
There are plenty of other depressing stories and events throughout the Witcher 3, including quests within the two expansion packs, but we found these moments to be particularly poignant.