Image via Pixabay
It probably wouldn’t be much of an exaggeration to say that, for many gamers, CD Projekt Red’s 2015 masterpiece — The Witcher 3 — was something like a spiritual experience.
Suddenly, there was this huge open world game by a small Polish studio that seemed capable of doing things that the most well-established AAA companies in the world were failing to do, while also refusing to get on board with less savoury industry practices like endless microtransactions.
Instead, The Witcher 3 brought an immensely deep and gritty fantasy RPG world to life, with breathtaking detail, and storylines so fleshed out that even the side quests seemed like great literary moments being experienced firsthand.
In addition to being really fun, The Witcher 3 also contains enough narrative depth that it’s possible to take some meaningful lessons from the game and apply them to real life.
Here are a few of those lessons that are still worth heeding in 2019.
Warning, there will be spoilers.
Assume that things aren’t as they appear, and prepare accordingly
If you run a business, it would, generally speaking, be a very good idea for you to assume that things are not necessarily as they appear in any given transaction or at any given moment. Therefore, you would do well to put systems in place to reduce friction and account for different contingencies.
Suffice to say; this lesson is eminently well presented in The Witcher 3, throughout the story, and all kinds of different levels. You might not have instantly guessed, for example, that the three “Ladies of the Woods” would be child-eaten abominations, rather than beautiful, ageless and benevolent spirits.
Or how about the fact that the poor stunted creature Geralt encounters on his search for Ciri would, in fact, turn out to be the powerful Elven wizard Avallac’h, transformed by magic.
Geralt’s world is a world where there’s more to everything than meets the eye, and there’s a strong lesson in that.
Realise that the best you can do is to act with integrity — the future may go horribly wrong all the same
The Witcher 3 is famous — maybe infamous — for being the kind of game where good intentions don’t also yield good outcomes. Frequently, despite making what appear to be all the best choices on quests, you’ll find that your Geralt fails to set the world to rights, but instead merely participants in a carnival horror show that ends in blood and misery.
The Bloody Baron quest line is almost certain to end this way; with a man hanging himself in grief, his wife dead, and all kinds of other potential horrors unleashed on the land despite our well-meaning Witcher’s best efforts.
In The Witcher 3, as in real life, the best we can do is to act with integrity. Sometimes the future will go horribly wrong all the same.
Realise that being a hero means meeting the world head-on — not taking the safe route
Geralt’s a pretty strong sort of guy, but he’s not above grumbling and making sarcastic quips at just about every available opportunity. It’s clear that, all things being equal, he might actually want to be hunting demonic forces in the middle of a swamp, at night, with a hangover, for example.
But credit to Geralt, he always saddles up and does what he believes to be the right thing, even if he’s confident it’s not going to be a pleasant experience for him, and even if he knows he’ll get no credit for a job well done.
The lesson here is that, in life, being a hero means meeting the world head-on. It doesn’t mean taking the safe route, or always looking out for number one.