The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt Has A Second Playable Character

Last week CD Projekt Red released a new trailer for The Witcher 3 and teased that one of the characters within it – other than Geralt, obv – would be playable. Is it the cowering man who whimpers and narrates the introduction? Is it one of the Wild Hunt baddies Geralt slays throughout, or one of the horses they dismount from? Is it– Oh, wait – yeah, it’s the lady in the header image of this post. Ciri – a character referenced in The Witcher 1, with a big role in the books and TV series, who can teleport and who is Geralt’s Witcheress apprentice.

Here’s the trailer, in which you can see the both Ciri and the horse doomed to play Neville Longbottom to Ciri’s Harry Potter:

Speaking to IGN, CD Projekt RED’s Robert Malinowski confirmed the character’s inclusion, and gave some details as to the nature of the role. “Ciri is playable only during certain moments in the game – we introduce her to give gamers another perspective in the story to make it even more engaging. You won’t play as her for long periods of time, but since she’s crucial to the plot, we thought that additional insight will allow gamers to better bond with this cool character.”

He goes on to say that Ciri is playable as a supportive narrative tool and “not because of gameplay mechanics”, but hopefully we at least get to use her teleportation ability. There’s also plenty of other speculation afoot, given Ciri’s role as Geralt’s apprentice and that CDP have said repeatedly that The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt will be the last Witcher game with Geralt as its main focus. It seems unlikely to me however that she’s being setup as a torchbearer for fans of scar-laden protagonists.

This follows news that The Witcher 3 has been delayed until May 2015.

64 Comments

  1. Eight Rooks says:

    This does actually get me more interested in the game even without the news she’s playable, given I hated the ending of the books and thought Sapkowski mostly wasted Ciri as a character. If CDP want to write fanfiction with her that’s absolutely fine by me; getting to follow her through the story at some point is just gravy.

  2. Rao Dao Zao says:

    Th… Th-there’s a TV series?

      • frightlever says:

        Can’t be any worse than The Singing Ringing Tree.

        • GameCat says:

          It is bad.
          Staring at the wall is probably the better TV show than Witcher.

          • Darth Gangrel says:

            According to wikipedia there is also a The Witcher film, but that one was released before the 13 one-hour-long episodes tv-show and is basically the tv-show, except only 130 minutes. The tv-show is supposedly more coherent than the film, so there is always another level of awful to descend to when you think you’ve seen the worst.

      • Urthman says:

        Is that yet another Hemsworth brother they’ve got playing Geralt?

  3. SMGreer says:

    I don’t imagine this is super exciting news for people who have not read the books but this makes me giddy with excitement.

    • Buuurr says:

      Roughly 37% of the gaming community in the U.S. are women. Devs know this now. I think it is genius. The books were amazing. I just wish more people on this side of the pond knew that.

      • Premium User Badge

        Harlander says:

        Are the translations any good?

        • frightlever says:

          I read “The Last Wish” and found the English translation to be incredibly pedestrian, to the point that it got in the way of the stories. Other people say it’s fine. However, not discerning people.

          • suibhne says:

            Yes, they’re not very good. The translator was even replaced after “The Last Wish”, and things got no better. But it’s worth enduring the dodgy translations, in my view. (And heck, Stieg Larsson’s “Millennium Trilogy” got an absolutely execrable translation into English – really astoundingly bad – yet became a runaway bestseller throughout the English-speaking world.)

        • natendi says:

          Read first two, Blood of Elves and Time of Contempt, both are excellent in English on their own and according to my Polish colleague who introduced me to the series, the translations are good at capturing the tone/language style of the originals.

          Check out Wikipedia page for the story order, some books are collections of stories, others are part of the overall saga.

      • Orija says:

        I think it would be a disappointment if the character was made playable just to cater to a female audience.

        • Lakshmi says:

          It’s more likely she’s made playable for fans of the novels.

          • Philomelle says:

            Even more likely that she’s playable because she’s the saga’s actual protagonist.

        • nunka says:

          I must be missing something. Why is catering to a female audience bad?

          • El_Emmental says:

            I think the author of that comment meant that it would be a disappointment to introduce a character solely to cater to a specific audience, and not as a character on its own.

            Here, we have a major character from the novel with her own unique abilities, it’s hopefully not “just that token female character”, or if you allow me to gear it up, the “girlfriend character”. That would be completely missing the point of 1) building a credible story 2) where diversity can exist on its own, and not as a forced element.

            If anyone was worried about video games representing female characters in a progressive way, it has to be made in a credible and equally diverse* way to have any actual influence and credibility among the audience. If we end up with the “oh look who it is, it’s the Strong Female Character With Emotions To Show She’s Also Human!” moment, it will be treated like a joke.

            *(equally diverse = morally good and morally bad characters, with control and loss of control over their fate, emotionally strong and emotionally weak, kind and sadistic, etc)

            If a RPG starts adding character to please each audience, the game ends up being a totem of clichés and stereotypes, with “that european-market-friendly” character, that “AssCreed-fans-friendly” character with a hoodie, that “chainmail bikini character in suggestive poses” for the dudebros, and so on. Nobody but stupid managers want that.

      • Advanced Assault Hippo says:

        The books are okay. Sort of.

        But there’s far, far better fantasy out there. To the point where I wouldn’t even bother recommending the Witcher books personally.

        They’re not terrible though. Which is at least something, there’s a lot of terrible fantasy out there.

        • Orija says:

          Could you recommend some fantasy novels?

          • FriendlyFire says:

            Malazan Book of the Fallen.
            Wheel of Time.
            The whole universe starting with the Farseer trilogy from Robin Hobb.
            Lighter/less serious fantasy: Belgariad and Malloreon, other series by David Eddings.
            Demon Cycle by Peter V Brett.
            I personally enjoyed Feist’s books, but they’re perhaps a bit more young adult.
            Bartimaeus trilogy, fairly unique in the setting and often funny.
            Anything Brandon Sanderson wrote (you can get his Warbreaker book for free as he released every iteration of that book under Creative Commons).
            Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke.
            Something weirder: The Books of Abarat by Clive Barker.

            I’m forgetting a lot of series but this is perhaps a good starting point. I’ve personally read most of the stuff in there (I may have not read all books by an author or the latest books of a series) and can vouch for enjoying them all, though some may be harder to get into (especially Wheel of Time and, I found, Malazan). I think Malazan is perhaps one of the best of the lot, overall, if you want a place to start.

          • Furius says:

            Don’t start on Malazan, because it’s the best series ever and nothing will ever compare to it.

          • quintesse says:

            @FriendlyFire I agree with a good number of your suggestions, but I always find it surprising people like Sanderson so much, I started on his Mistborn series and found it unpalatable: predictable, over-use of deus ex machina, characters behaving illogically (or getting added appropriate behaviour/abilities just in time to resolve problems, see deus ex machina). I wonder if it’s just me or if I just started with the worst book he ever wrote?

          • Hedgeclipper says:

            hm, well FriendlyFire has just about the opposite taste to me when it comes to fantasy as I don’t read any of the authors he recommends any more apart from Jonathan Strange and M Norrell in particular I find the Malazan books endlessly grating.

            If you try some of his and enjoy them stick with his recommendations, some alternative authors you might consider otherwise;
            George RR Martian – you probably already heard of him, he’s not no. 1 on my personal list but he’s doing something right to be so popular and makes for a good read
            Joe Abercrombie – he started with the First Law trilogy personally I think his later stand alone novels set in the same world with some reoccurring characters are stronger so I’d suggest trying one of them to see if you like him – Best Served Cold would be my recommendation.
            Scott Lynch – conmen in a fantasy setting – I personally really enjoy his writing
            Richard Morgan is doing a fantasy series, I don’t think its as good as his SF and the main character is gay if that bothers you, otherwise nice to see some social and political commentary in fantasy beyond “rah rah the rightful king”
            Scott Bakker’s Prince of Nothing series – little less sure about recommending this they can be dense written by a guy who gave up a philosophy PhD but I enjoyed them – probably something you’ll either love or hate – I think the second trilogy isn’t as strong
            Patrick Rothfuss

            I’ll also indulge myself in a recommendation for Karl Schroder’s Virga books – they’re technically SF but written in a steam-punky adventure style so if you squint just right it might pass for fantasy – I think he’s one of the more interesting and less well known SF authors out there anyway so if you read SF I’d suggest any of his books for the ideas.

          • Hedgeclipper says:

            Forgot to add Glenn Cook – Black Company

          • Orija says:

            Thanks everyone. Surprised no one mentioned The Dark Tower, so I’ll recommend that one.

          • amqpz says:

            Hi,

            I also am constantly on the lookout for good fantasy. I would especially like to second others’ recommendations of Erikson’s Malazan Book of the Fallen series, Patrick Rothfuss’ Kingkiller Chronicles Series and Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell.

            Other books that I found to be excellent are:
            The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker
            Kraken by China Mieville
            Neverwhere and American Gods by Neil Gaiman
            Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett (!)

            I thought the following were better than average:
            The First Law trilogy by Joe Abercrombie
            Bleeding Violet by Dia Reeves
            Magicians Trilogy by Lev Grossman

            I’m currently completing King’s Dark Tower series, where I’m finding the first and last books to be so-so, but the books in the middle were great.

          • B.rake says:

            I’ve found I generally dislike fantasy, but will second others recommendations for Good Omens, Joe Abercrombie’s First Law trilogy and China Mieville’s Bas-Lag trilogy (though can only vouch for the first two).

            Bonus anti-recommendation: the Wheel of Time stuff, and fie on the person that goaded me into reading the first two then got angry at me for not “giving it a chance”, shit was like 2000 pages bro.

          • kud13 says:

            I would third (or fourth, or whatever) the Malaz novels, though there`s a caveat that Erikson tried to subvert most traditional tropes, so it`s much better to read him after you`ve read some other fantasy

            As far as recommendatons, George R.R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” aka Game Of Thrones is a brilliant trilogy. But I would stop at Book 3, at least untill Book 6 is released and we get to see if he manged to recover the awesome, which is completely gone in Bk 4, and then Bk 5 was ok, but after 5 years of waiting it didn’t live up to the promises it made, imho.

            I’d suggest Checking our Jim Butcher–both his urban fantasy “Dresden Files” series and his more “traditional” codex Alera.
            Glen Cook’s Black Company is a classic.
            Pau Kearney’s “Monarchies of God” is a criminally underhyped series, and its only 2 mmpb volumes for all 5 books.

            Sanderson’s stuff is good if you like worldbuilding but don’t mind flat, sometimes one dimensional characters. He’s great at magic systems, and hit or miss on plotting

            China Mieville’s “Bas-Lag” books were great. Abercrombie’s stuff is pretty good, verging on awesome (Best Served Cold”, but not a “serious” read.
            Adrian Tchaikovsky’s “Shadows of the Apt” is an interesting series, but it suffers from some piss-poor characterization int eh first few books. Amazing battle-scenes and world-builindg though.

            Who else? Tom Lloyd’s “Twilight reign” was neat, but once again, characterization issues, but cool worldbuilding (sensing a pattern?)

            Bakker’s “Prince of Nothing” is heavy on philosophy, so you gotta be intot hat kind of thing. Guy Gavriel Kay wrote some great pseudo-historical fiction, and his Fionovar Tapestry is a neat celtic-mythology inspired “classic” fantasy.
            Neal Stephenson is a great author if you want action mixed in at random intervals with huge infodumps about the most random, most obscure topics you can think of (like Sumerian mythology and linguistics. Or cryptology. Or medieval banking system and the basic principles of political economy. Or the history of philosophy).

            RE: Witcher. I’ve read the books in Russian. I loved them. Sapkowski does a lot of social commentary, and his main concept’s typical of East european fantasy in that there’s no good and no evil, but shades of gray. The whole “choosing the lesser evil”-fatalism theme either works for people or it doesn’t.
            You need to read a good fan translation of “Sword of destiny” before starting the main sequence, though. “The Last Wish” (the 1st short stories book) is awailable in English, but SoD prolly won’t be published b/c there’s a copyright dispute with one of the short stories in the collection. SoD must be read b4 Blood of the Elves (the first novel) though, or the novel makes no sense int he beginning.

            Can’t wait for the game. Cant wait for EE which will give me non-English voiceovers.

          • Jackablade says:

            I’ll second whichever person it was in that great snarl of text there who suggested The Gentleman Bastards series by Scott Lynch if you’re in the mood for something that swashes a good buckler. Great characters and dialogue.

            I am someone who thought the English Witcher books were quite enjoyable, if not especially spectacular, so make of that what you will.

          • Skeletor68 says:

            I just came here to say MALAZAN

        • Fomorian1988 says:

          I don’t know which language you read them in (for the sake of this comment I’ll assume it was English), but a huge part of the fun is Sapkowski’s writing, which is terrific in Polish and not really well captured in the translations. He also tends to work best in short stories and, looking back, his novels tend to be overstuffed, because he wants to show the broad spectrum of the stories, except unlike George R.R. Martin he chooses character who we see once, maybe a couple of small appearances, instead of several POV scattered around his world. I’d argue that there’s a good fantasy series in the Witcher novels, but, as usual, everyone will have different opinions on the books.

        • SMGreer says:

          As a counterpoint, I’d actually say the books are excellent and some of the best fantasy stuff I’ve read. They’re more concerned with characters than world building and are mostly about subverting genre tropes or conventions. Though there is an epic saga going on in those pages, it’s largely a background prop compared with the character drama happening in the foreground. Although they’re pretty dark stories there’s also lot of humour, wit and philosophy to unravel that makes them quite engaging. I’m told a lot of the wonderful Polish prose has not been translated well into English but I think flashes of it still come through in what I’ve read.

          They’re not like a lot of fantasy books I’ve read, they have a very unique flavour to them. Reminded me more of Gaiman and Pratchett than say Tolkien or Martin (all of whom I enjoy).

          Most of those qualities do find their way into the games (the second a heck of a lot more than the first game) so if you enjoy the narratives, tone and characters of the games, I think you’d find a lot to enjoy in the books.

          For comparison’s sake, I think Brandon Sanderson’s stuff is dreary and dull even though I love his podcasts/lectures.

          • Horg says:

            ”They’re more concerned with characters than world building and are mostly about subverting genre tropes or conventions.”

            That sums the books up pretty well. The prose is focused, consistently interesting, and very easy to follow despite being a translation. I’ve tried a few other fantasy fiction authors over the years and got on with the Witcher books much more easily than the Wheel of Time or the Malazan books. Would recommend.

        • Mhorhe says:

          Wheel of Time? Hah.

          Nynaeve tugged her braid.

        • Oozo says:

          I would absolutely recommend Gene Wolfe’s The Book of The New Sun. It’s often labelled sci-fi, because the lore has some aspects about it being set in the future, and there are some more or less explicit explanations for the existence of the more fantastical elements. In the end, it doesn’t matter, though; the books are more approachable for fans of fantasy than, say, hard sci-fi buffs, I’d say.

          What does matter, though, is that the books are among the most complex and altogether great genre fiction I have ever read. Seriously, they do make look a lot of other fantasy and sci-fi novels lazy and fairly unimaginative in comparison.

          PS I tried to read the German translation of Lady of the Lake once. It was almost offensively bad. I could very well imagine that it was the translator’s fault, though; German translations of genre literature are not often given much care, or resources anyway.

          • Slazer says:

            So you started with the last book? That seems like bad idea anyway as AS doesn’t give a damn about slow reintroductions at the beginning of each book and whole part intro part in the future is rather lame.

            Even after reading the books and getting the last translation after more than a year of waiting it was confusing as hell. I did 3 rereads since that, and I’ll happily do another one

          • Oozo says:

            Yeah, that was a somewhat peculiar situation: I was abroad, and for reasons, it was the only one of the ebooks that I could download in the shop my ereader had access to. I was more interested in just seeing what it would read like. As I said, the language seemed really off-putting to me, but I guess I should give the books another chance — and this time start at the beginning. I can’t really imagine that it would have such a good reputation if the writing was really as bad as the German translation of the passage I read made it seem like.

    • Fomorian1988 says:

      Heck yeah. Also, remember how the devs announced a while back that The Witcher 3 will be the last game about Geralt, but not the last set in this universe? Who the hell else could they pick to head their new Witcherverse game, if not Ciri?

      • Horg says:

        Dandelion. After most of a decade spent playing grim RPGs, the world could really use a japes and debauchery simulator.

      • Slazer says:

        Sounds like a great idea.

        As we saw Ciri only as a child and a growing up teenager (I assume she is around 17 at the end) there is much space for future character developement, and the power stuff she can so is also not really defined yet.

        When only know she can travel through time and dimensions, even the blinking/teleportation mentioned above is new

  4. Scrote says:

    Was it The Witcher 2 that thrust you into someone else’s body for a while? I have trouble remembering exactly what, it was super confusing to suddenly be with some king, and his army, walking around as someone else, for some reason that the game didn’t explain (or that I completely missed).

    Good times.

    • Volcanu says:

      Geralt certainly does spend an inordinate amount of time “thrusting into someone elses’ body” over the course of The Witcher 2, you’re right.

      (Ooh, matron!)

    • natendi says:

      Yup, as King Helselt, was a bit random but I think was to show stuff happening before Geralt rocks up.

  5. Umberto Bongo says:

    But can you nail certain male NPCs and collect dick pics?

  6. Lakshmi says:

    Only if it’s soft or gay. link to youtube.com

    Edit: Meant to reply to Umberto above. Too excited over all the dicks apparently :(

  7. Bishop149 says:

    Psyched we get to play Ciri, but combat style wise she’s basically just female Geralt.
    They also seem to have have made her look a little TOO much like Geralt for my liking.
    Would have been far more fun gameplay wise if we’d got to play as Yennifer . . . although in the books the sorcerers / sorceresses are almost apocalyptically powerful soooooo balance issues perhaps. . . .

  8. 2late2die says:

    I wouldn’t mind if they were in fact grooming her to be the next protagonist of the series. I mean, I don’t know her and maybe there are other better suited female characters in the world of Witcher, but in general it would be good to add another strong female protagonist to gaming, so I’d be all for it.

  9. daphne says:

    Thank you for revealing the character in the header image. Being unable to follow TW3 news and trailers myself, I appreciate you making that decision for me.

  10. Laurentius says:

    Oh good, I wonder if she will be “thrown into gutter” and violently abused (preferably sexually as well) like almost every single women in Witcher 2 and the novelty will be to experience this shit in third person now…

    • Premium User Badge

      PhoenixTank says:

      Grumpy much? Read the books if that is a serious question.

      • Laurentius says:

        I read them long before playing Witcher 2 and frankly I didn’t like Sapkowski went overboard with violence in saga’s tomes 3-5, at least Baptism of Fire is all right and has Sapkowski humor intact and I can still read majority of this book but The Swallow’s Tower is really trashy at long parts. Thing is I know Sapkowski is not misogynist, just the opposite, he identifies himself as feminist but I am not so sure about CDR devs, becasue if I ever felt like playing misogynistic video game (at least in long stretches) it was Witcher 2.

        • Buuurr says:

          So… maybe write a book in the same genre with the course of action and morals happening the way you want… then get a dev team to code it out so we can play.

          I can’t wait to see how it turns out.

  11. Steven Hutton says:

    Ok, nerds. Do I need to read the Witcher books?

    I ended up enjoying The Kingkiller Chronicle (even if it was rather against my better judgement) will I enjoy these?

    • Fomorian1988 says:

      Honestly, after playing two previous games – not really. I assume CDPR will have some exposition on who Ciri is.

      If the last game is any indication, though, you WILL need to have played the previous two games, because The Witcher 2 had completely no “Previously on”, except a bit written in the game’s codex, and it jumped straight into the story.

    • Bishop149 says:

      To understand the games? You probably don’t.
      As I understand it CDPR started their canon after the end of the books, which is fine because the books end with the fate of all the main characters being rather unclear / intestate, so the slate is kinda clean to start over. Ciri is the main protagonist of the books and the whole saga is pretty much “The story of why Ciri is special” so I’d imagine the game will have to fill in some back story pretty quickly . .

      Read them if you like that sort of thing, I for one enjoyed them (english translations).

    • jerf says:

      In my opinion, you definitely should at least try to read them. This is my favorite fantasy series, above A Song of Ice and Fire; this is just my personal opinion, however.

      If you’re going to read them, keep in my the correct reading order (since it might be a bit confusing):
      1. The Last Wish
      2. Sword of Destiny
      3. Blood of Elves
      4. Times of Contempt
      5. Baptism of Fire
      6. The Swallow’s Tower
      7. Lady of the Lake
      Some of the books are only available in English as fan translations, you can find them here: link to forums.cdprojektred.com . These fan translations are quite decent.

      Note that the first two books are collections of short stories, while the main saga starts from the third book and continues till the end. I personally prefer the main saga, while some people prefer the short stories.
      The events of the first game start three years after the events of the last book end.

      • zhivik says:

        Actually, there are two stories in The Sword of Destiny that are part of the main saga – I won’t mention which ones, because of (possible) spoilers. Overall, I think the short stories are written better, while the novels felt too stretched most of the time. I liked the world-building parts, but I think Sapkowski is much stronger in the short form. To be fair, Lady of the Lake is probably the best of the five novels, but it still felt too long.

        Yet again, it may have been the translation, though I am a native Slavic speaker (Bulgarian), so it must have been easier to translate from Polish. I wasn’t that disappointed with the ending, by the way, as I thought it fitting to go back to the Geralt/Yennefer love story, making it a full circle. The ambiguity whether they are alive or dead was the best part, in my opinion, though the games ended the speculation.

  12. montorsi says:

    I guess I’ll wait for modders to make her playable start to finish, then. God bless the modding community for making shit games playable since forever.

  13. AXAXAXAS MLO II: MLO HARDER says:

    Man, I was sure the secret character was going to be Johnny Gat.