So like its been a few days since I done the quest, I wanted some time to think it over for a bit and I’m well passed that point in the game now. I am on Skellige now. Back on topic, the Bloody Baron quest line after finding out Ciri has moved onto Novigrad. Spoilers below, so if you haven’t completed it, read at your own discretion.
That is probably the best example of Tragedy done right and extremely well in a game. I haven’t seen something tragic like that since I played Red Dead Redemption.
The whole quest line is building up to it is a nice set up and each step along the way you think that you are trying to help the baron reconcile with his wife and child but at the same time you start to see how the Baron has squandered his opportunity with his family with his drinking and that he himself is the reason for nearly all the problems. Even when you hear his side of the story, you can see while it’s not entirely his fault, he is still the crux of the issue.
When you finally track down his daughter you begin to see that its irreconcilable with his daughter already and that nothing the baron can do or promise to do will change it.
The climax is when you figure out what’s happened with his wife and what she has promised to the Crones, whom have the reputation of being malicious even when helpful and while they stick to the letter of there agreements they clearly don’t hold with the spirit of the agreement. Thus, the baron’s wife is tragically bound to the crones for a period of time and at the whim of their mercy.
Freeing her from there grasp, they prove its unwise to make deals with them because they curse the baron’s wife to death.
The baron, having lost his wife and being irreconcilable with his own daughter hangs himself as a result. His men, now under the command of the sergeant promise to bring new order to the land in a very ominous way.
Proving that even with the best intentions things don’t always work out in the way you hoped or intended, and sometimes things just go wrong in the end.
At the end of the summary cinematic Geralt says:
“If I am to choose between a greater or lesser evil, I’d rather not choose at all. Usually though, the stakes are just too damn high. Sometimes in choosing the greater evil, you do good, albeit in a small way. When I chose to save the orphans of the swamp, I couldn’t know Anna would die. And I never thought the baron would leave her where she lay, find a rope and hang himself. Most Times, you make your choice, and never look back.”
The “make your choice and never look back” bit is what stayed with me, after that quest and quote, that’s exactly how I approach every choice and how I play the game now. Before that quest, especially in other games, I would play games to get the best perceived outcome.
That quest changed how I approach and view choice in games now, this game is now the new benchmark for games in both story and choice.
The Witcher 3 is definitely the best game I’ve played in my life so far.