Most people are aware of The Witcher franchise through the highly acclaimed video game series. The Witcher 3 is considered to be one of the best games of the current generation and has pushed the envelope in terms of facial animation and graphical detail. People were attracted to the more adult themes of The Witcher's world, with the series being compared favorably to Game of Thrones. The video games brought fans into Geralt's world for the first time, where they experienced the trials of a Witcher's life and the tough choices that he is forced to make. By the time the credits rolled, most fans did not want to leave Geralt behind.
We are here today to look into the strange world of The Witcher franchise, which is a lot bigger than the video games would have you believe. From the real life Witcher school that you can visit in Poland, to Ciri's bizarre choice of romantic partner.
Here are 15 Things You Didn’t Know About The Witcher!
15 There Is A Real Life Witcher School
It's cool to play as a Witcher in a video game but it would suck to be one in real life. The Witchers are considered to be pariahs from society, with people spitting as they walk past. Their enhanced abilities are offset by the fact that they cannot procreate and cannot hide their true nature, due to their yellow eyes. Being a Witcher is kind of like being a member of the X-Men during the Dark Ages.
The Witcher franchise is popular enough in Poland that an actual Witcher school exists there. This is essentially a LARP weekend, where people pretend to be Witchers. Those who attend the school can expect a fantasy themed military boot camp, where you will have to exercise and perform drills. Witcher School offers lessons in swordplay, archery, and alchemy.
All people who attend the Witcher School are given specific character roles, which they are expected to play throughout the weekend. This involves being given special tasks to complete, where you can even win the famous sex cards from the first Witcher game.
14 The Author Of The Witcher Novels Makes No Money From The Games
The Witcher video games are inspired by a series of novels which were written by Andrzej Sapkowski. It took the success of the video games to help The Witcher novels leave Europe and find a new audience across the world. You can now purchase almost all of The Witcher stories in English.
You might think that Andrzej Sapkowski has become a rich man, due to the success of the games, but this is not the case. When CD Projekt Red first approached him about adapting The Witcher into a video game series, they offered him a deal where he would earn a percentage of the profits. Sapkowski rejected this deal, in favor of a one-off payment, as he felt the games would not be successful. This turned out to be a bad deal, as the second and third Witcher games were huge sellers.
It isn't all bad for Andrzej Sapkowski, as the success of the games led to an increase in interest in the novels. There is also a Witcher show in development for Netflix, for which Sapkowski is confirmed to be involved.
13 There Was A Witcher Game In Development Back In 1997
CD Projekt Red wasn't the first company to attempt to make a video game based on The Witcher.
In 1997, a company called Metropolis Software acquired the rights to make a Witcher video game. The Witcher would have been a 3D action RPG that was set in a huge world. There was going to be an emphasis on complex swordplay, with a fighting system that was compared to Bushido Blade. The game was also going to maintain the adult themes of the novels, with its own moral system. The Witcher was in development for several years, with screenshots and exclusive reveals being given to the gaming magazines of the day. It seems that the project was too ambitious, however, as The Witcher was eventually canceled.
The Witcher license would eventually be picked up by CD Projekt Red, who would go on to develop the first game in the series. Their first Witcher game was released in 2007.
12 There Was A Horrible Witcher TV Show
It was recently announced that Netflix is developing a TV series that is based on The Witcher novels. The author of the books, Andrzej Sapkowski, is on board with the project and seems to be positive about everything he has seen so far. It couldn't have been easy for Sapkowski to give permission to Netflix, due to his prior dealings over adaptations of his work. Not only does he make nothing from The Witcher video games, but he also saw the creation of a terrible movie and TV show based on his work.
In 2001, a TV show based on The Witcher novels was in development. This series was called The Hexer and material from it was turned into a terrible TV movie while it was still being made. The Hexer TV show has been criticized by fans of the books and Andrzej Sapkowski has publically disowned the program with some incredibly harsh words.
11 Geralt Almost Went Ice Skating
The combat in The Witcher series is brutal and unforgiving. Geralt needs to use every advantage he can in battle, as he is often outnumbered by his foes or is forced to fight enemies that are ten times his size. The player needs to use magic, potions, and bombs to even the odds against superior foes, as a Witcher's greatest asset is their mind.
Geralt's battles were originally going to be a lot harder, as he was once planned to fight monsters whilst ice skating.
According to Damien Monnier; there was going to be a sequence near the end of The Witcher 3 where Geralt would have to battle whilst ice skating. Development actually started on this feature, with the intention that it would be beautiful in a gruesome sort of way. The ice skating feature was eventually dropped, with tentative plans to include it in the DLC, which never came to fruition.
10 Triss Merigold Appeared In Playboy
The first Witcher game was criticized for its implementation of the "Sex Card" feature. When Geralt managed to impress a lady enough, the camera would cut away and the player would be rewarded with a risque picture of the girl he just bedded. The Witcher 2 abandoned this childish aspect of the series and was praised for its adult treatment of sexuality & nudity, as was The Witcher 3.
CD Projekt Red decided to embrace their reputation as developers of adult-oriented video games. One way in which they did this was by allowing Triss Merigold from The Witcher to appear naked in the Polish version of Playboy magazine. This feature included several naked images of a 3D render of Triss, which were intended to promote the release of The Witcher 2. She appears just as naked in the game (within the first few minutes, in fact), so you may as well just play The Witcher 2 instead.
9 Geralt Can Find Tyrion Lannister's Sky Cell
The Witcher franchise has often been referred to as the Game of Thrones of video games. This is a fair comparison for many reasons, as the two series have their own take on a dark fantasy setting, which includes more adult themes than you would normally see in the genre.
CD Projekt Red acknowledged Game of Thrones in The Witcher 3. If you travel to the fortress of Kaer Almhult, then you can find a prison cell with a dead dwarf inside. One of the walls of the cell has been torn down, which leads to a big drop to the ground below. This prison is a reference to the sky cell that Tyrion Lannister is trapped in when he is imprisoned in The Eerie in Game of Thrones. Geralt makes a reference to how the dead prisoner couldn't fly, which refers to the message that Tyrion finds scrawled on the wall of his cell.
8 The Lost Witcher 2 Character
One of the main characters in The Witcher 2 is an elven commander named Iorveth. It is possible for Geralt to side with Iorveth and to work closely with him throughout the game. You could work with either Iorveth or Vernon Roche on certain missions, which offers some replayability to the game.
Iorveth was a major part of The Witcher 2's story. Despite this, he doesn't show up at all in The Witcher 3, whilst Vernon Roche and his soldiers do. This wasn't always meant to be the case, as he was once planned to appear in the game. According to the prerelease version of The Witcher 3, Iorveth's character model was in development. He was planned to appear in Novigrad and would have been involved with Triss Merigold's storyline. Iorveth was not completed and his ultimate fate was left unclear.
The developers have confirmed that Iorveth survived the events of the game and that the reason he was cut was that they didn't have time to properly implement him into the story.
7 Geralt Was Almost An Elven Sorceress
The Witcher has become a huge franchise in the video game world. This wasn't always the case, however, and it was considered to be a hard sell to publishers during the early days of development. While The Witcher novels were popular in certain parts of Europe, they weren't easily available in English-speaking territories at the time. As such, CD Projekt Red had a hard time selling the concept of the first Witcher game to publishers.
There was one company that was interested in publishing The Witcher... if a few changes were made. According to the developers, this unnamed publisher wanted to change Geralt into an elven sorceress. They also wanted to do away with the Witcher name and make the game multiplayer focused. This would have totally changed the game and would have made purchasing the Witcher license totally pointless.
Thankfully, CD Projekt Red refused to accept these changes and they kept on looking for a new publisher.
6 The Fan Who Appeared In The Game
It is not unusual for real people to appear in video games. You have celebrity endorsements (like the awful Shaq Fu) and sports games, which include famous people. There are also instances where fans are added into video games as part of a contest, such as in Telltale's The Walking Dead.
The Witcher 3 features a cameo from a real person. This is a fan of the series named Nick, who had written to CD Projekt Red to tell them about his experiences with The Witcher 2. Nick suffers from a disability that gives him constant crippling headaches, which he needed to take severe doses of medication to combat. One of the few things that helped Nick through the pain was The Witcher 2, as it allowed him to forget his agony for a short time. The people at CD Projekt Red were so touched by the letter that they offered to include Nick in the game. Nick sent them photos, which allowed them to create a character model of him. This model was turned into two different NPCs that can be encountered in the game.
5 Geralt's Wedding
In The Witcher 3, the player can choose which woman Geralt ends up with (if he chooses one at all). This wasn't the case in the novels, as Geralt ends up with Yennefer in Lady of the Lake. It is not revealed whether they lived happily ever after or not, but at least they ended up together.
One of the possible fates of Geralt was answered in a non-canon short story that was written by Andrzej Sapkowski. It was a story about the marriage between Geralt and Yennefer, that he wrote as a wedding gift for two of his friends. The story is called Something Ends, Something Begins and it has been included in some of Sapkowski's short story collections. Something Ends, Something Begins focuses on Dandelion, who is given the job of sending out the invitations for the wedding. Dandelion screws up and ends up inviting numerous characters from the series, not all of whom are so thrilled for the happy couple.
4 Geralt Is A Polish Celebrity
The Witcher is one of the few big media franchises to come out of Poland. As such, the Polish people have a lot of love for Geralt of Rivia and his world of monsters.
In 2011, the Polish Prime Minister gave President Barack Obama a copy of The Witcher 2, as the game represented Poland's contribution to the global economy. Obama said some kind words about the gift, though he admitted that he wasn't a fan of video games. It's unlikely that he played the game back then, though he certainly has the free time to 100% it now.
The love for Geralt continued in 2016 when his face appeared on a series of stamps in Poland. The developers of the game claimed that this was a huge honor for them and that they were proud of The Witcher's continued contributions to their homeland. CD Projekt Red recently announced that there are plans to make a fourth game in the series, so it seems that Geralt's time in the spotlight isn't over yet.
3 The Deleted Cooking Scene
The Witcher 3 has some of the best voice acting and facial animation in video game history. These combined have made for some of the most engaging cutscenes of all time. Even the likes of L.A. Noire are no match for the incredible amount of work that went into making the faces of the characters in The Witcher as realized as possible.
There are some cutscenes that went unused in The Witcher 3. The most notable of these is based around the scene in the game when Yennefer is trying to undo the curse on UMA. Yennefer asks Geralt to cook her a meal, as she is famished, yet cannot leave UMA's side. The player would then have had to choose the ingredients and cook Yennefer some food. If the player chooses to ignore Yennefer's request, then she will ask Vesimir to cook a meal for her instead. It is unknown why these scenes were cut, as they are finished and can be reinserted back into the PC version of the game through the use of mods.
2 The Dead Assassin
The Assassin's Creed series of video games are notable for the number of references they make to other games. Assassin's Creed games have included references to franchises like Super Mario Bros, Metal Gear Solid, and Spyro the Dragon. It didn't take long for other games to start referencing Assassin's Creed, such as Old Snake being able to equip an Assassin's outfit in Metal Gear Solid 4. Noel from Final Fantasy XIII-2 can equip an Assassin's outfit if the player purchases it online. Ezio from Assassin's Creed 2 even appeared as a playable character in the Soul Calibur series.
It seems that The Witcher series was feeling left out, as they also included a reference to the Assassin's Creed games. If the player explores the Bastillas during the prologue, then they can find the corpse of an assassin near a haystack. It is implied that the assassin had tried to jump into the haystack from a tall building, but missed it and fell to his death.
1 Ciri Ended Up With Sir Galahad
The final novel of The Witcher series is called Lady of the Lake. It is told from the perspective of Ciri, who has traveled to another world and is pondering how she can return home. Ciri is bathing in a pond when she encounters a knight. She recounts the story of how she ended up in this strange new world, which acts as the framing device for the novel.
Ciri's new companion is none other than Sir Galahad of the Round Table. She has arrived in the world of Arthurian legend, where the famous Knights of mythology come from. When Ciri finishes her tale, Sir Galahad offers to take her to King Arthur. The novel ends with the two of them holding hands, as they ride towards Camelot.
So... yeah. That is how The Witcher series ended. With Ciri in an alien world, where she runs off to join the Knights of the Round Table. It is a happy ending at least, if not a totally bizarre way to close out the series.