How Ciri can become the lead in Witcher 4
Cirilla Fiona Elen Riannon, or Ciri, is lost and being pursued by the Wild Hunt in The Witcher III. She is the aim and the reason for the story. During the game she can even be played taking the place of Geralt for small sections. When re-united, her adopted father Geralt reacts to her in different ways which ultimately affect her story at the games conclusion. There are 3 different outcomes for her and the decisions Geralt makes decides her fate. However, they’re mostly determined prior to the facing the Wild Hunt in seemingly discrete and insignificant choices.
**Spoiler warning for those whom not finished The Witcher III, Wild Hunt.**
If certain conditions are met (or in this case not), she will be underwhelmed of support by those closest to her. She will doubt herself, her resolve will wane and her courage weaken. She will vanish into The White Frost with her whereabouts again unknown. Presumably, by her absence, she is dead. Coinciding, Geralt stumbles on as a Witcher, miserable and reckless. He fights the last surviving Crone of Crookback Bog, to reclaim Vesemir’s Witcher medallion which had been stolen from Ciri. Before vanquishing the Crone, she rallies many monsters and when Geralt finally finds the medallion, it appears Geralt is surrounded and will be overcome.
With the odds stacked against both Ciri and Geralt, their deaths have not yet been tallied. Remember in Mass Effect 2, Shephard dies at the beginning of the game yet is revived years later to finish ME2 and ME3. In Planescape: Torment, The Nameless One dies often with little effect. Superman even died. Moreover, Geralt and Yennefer had already died (in the books) prior to The Witcher 1 game, before Ciri saves and revives them by teleporting both to safety. To conclude her story in The Witcher 3, where the majority of the game is to find and save her and only lose her again seems nonsensical. Not only is it the worst possible ending – it’s pointless.
Which begs the question, why did CD Projekt Red allow the player to use and control her instead of Geralt, if only to end her prematurely later? As a game mechanic it does add novelty and perspective to Ciri’s story, while filling in the blanks of what happened to her previously. But all that is unnecessary if she’s only a diversion and/or a plot-telling device, to explain where she’s been all along. A simple cut-scene or fixed dialogue point could cover that.
Additionally, The Witcher series listens to and caters for fan service by bringing back characters from previous games. To be fair, this element of story-telling and world-building also grounds the game and signifies Geralts place in it. Aside from this though, characters from the series 1-3 such as Dandelion, Zoltan, Triss, Emperor Emhyr, Phillipa Eilhart, Vernon Roche, Fringilla Vigo, Vesemir, Shani, Lambert, Eskel, etc, all return in The Witcher 3. However, each returning character is viewed in relation to Geralt. Only Ciri is playable. The attention shifts to how you see others from her perspective. Thus, to leave her MIA after experiencing her story and playing as her character to then simply vanishing indefinitely again would be a disservice to The Witcher 3 and the series as a whole.
Ciri is the adopted daughter of Geralt; biological daughter of Pavetta Fiona Elen (Princess of Cintra) and descendant of Lara Dorren (an Elven sorceress of Elder Blood). If she is seen to have escaped The White Frost (and some, but not all conditions are met) she can become a full Witcher. Geralt even has a special sword made for her.
This is possibly the easiest but most satisfying conclusion for her and opens the story up to more adventures befitting of her character. She’s immensely powerful and brave. She is a protege to the infamous Witcher – the White Wolf, Butcher of Blaviken – Geralt of Rivia. The sorceresses Yen and Triss also taught her a little magic. Furthermore, Avallac’h spent months teaching her to control and harness the more devastating abilities yielded from her blood line. Naturally and with training from her adopted family and friends, she is a weapon.
To not become a fully fledged Witcher, her story is unjust and idle. She shows bravery asking Geralt to help her counter-attack the Wild Hunt leader. She shows cunning evading the Wild Hunt’s pursuit of her. She shows resourcefulness residing in new lands, making new friends and the foresight of leaving before placing them in danger. She was trained by the best, faced the most difficult adversity and overcame her pursuers. As such and with these qualities, she is a Witcher in all but name. Until the rigorous teacher Geralt calls her one. See picture above.
Ciri, Zireael in Elvish, and daughter to Puny (better known as Emhyr the Emperor of Nilfgaard) can take up a job offer if all conditions are met (even ones unrelated to her). She will eventually set off to do the most good – as Empress of Nilfgaard, after a bittersweet goodbye between her and Geralt. On their last Witcher mission together, Ciri will be distant and untalkative. When hearing of her plan, with the mounted Nilfgaardian escort in the background, Geralt has the option of responding to her that this will be the last time they meet. With this uncharacteristic, cold and passive aggressive dialogue option – it also belies a sentiment that things have turned unexpectedly wrong. It’s a termination of Geralt’s fatherly love and acceptance of her and her rejection of his lifestyle and him as a role model. Interestingly, if the other two above endings transpire and Geralt tells Emhyr Ciri did not return, Emhyr will likewise tell Geralt he never wishes to see him again.
Taking the throne of Nilgaard without any friends or advisors is a position dangerous and unqualified for Ciri. Her friends include troubadours, sell-swords, magic users, and other unsavoury characters to political life. She will be alone and unprepared. Dually, her personality is also unsuited for this position. She’s impatient and stubborn, reckless and given to wanderlust. These characteristics, without counsel, would make ruling a peaceful kingdom difficult. With this in mind, lords and conspirators may reject her rule. Backstabbers across each of the endings have taken both the lives of King Radovid and Emperor Emhyr. Mayhaps the next successor to Nilfgaard – Morvran Voorhis would undermine Ciri and cause her undoing? Or, press upon her the solidification of the Empire through marriage between them. Instinctually, Ciri would resort to skills she learned as an apprentice Witcher by fighting her way out of these predicaments. A position that comes more naturally and comfortably.
Otherwise, she may have handled two situations differently. After meeting with Emhyr the first time she turned her father’s dynastic offer down and stormed out. She boldly did not want anything to do with Emhyr or the crown. Secondly, after visiting Avallac’h’s laboratory and meeting his assistant, she was left humiliated and speechless at the elf’s disdain for an ugly human with Elder Blood. While CD Projekt Red stated The Wild Hunt is the finale of Geralt’s tale, Ciri’s position as Empress would likely be short-lived, unhappy and the wrong fit.
Martyr & Witcheress & Empress?
Ciri, referred to by some as the Lady of Space and Time, could potentially combine all endings into one. She has the ability to move in and out of timelines and worlds. For her to combine all endings into the one narrative, she could draw all together into progressive snapshots across her life. In other words, all endings were real and happened, but just in an chronological order from the Martyr, Witcheress and Empress endings. Here’s how:
- Martyr ending – Geralt swarmed by monsters assumed dead. Instead – Ciri teleports in and fends off the monsters with Geralt. Happy reunion!
- Witcher ending – Afterward and at Ciri’s return, Geralt continues teaching her to be a Witcher. Geralt gives her a specially made sword.
- Empress ending – After a difficult decision, the Witcher Ciri reconsiders and becomes an Empress. This opens the door for her story to be told in the Witcher 4, or The Witcheress.
How will this work?
Isn’t Geralt’s story concluded with Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and it’s DLC?
Yes. CD Projekt Red has stated there will be no more content for the Witcher 3 (except patches) and this concludes Geralt’s story. However, Ciri’s story has just started.
Wouldn’t another Witcher title in the series assume Geralt will be the protagonist?
Yes. So call it The Witcheress, instead. Keep the lore, the maps, the history and some of the characters intact as above. Realising the Witcher series took more than a decade to develop and until now is the vast majority of what CD Projekt Red have been producing since the company started.
What happens to other characters who lived or died depending on the differing decisions made?
Only characters who weren’t shown dead in any ending can be featured in The Witcheress. For example, Geralt, Yen, Triss, Shani, Dandelion, Zoltan, etc.
If there’s another Witcher game, why not allow the player to create a Witcher and start from scratch?
With Geralt partially retired, Kaer Morhen in ruins and very few Witchers left to train recruits – Ciri is the obvious candidate to re-establish the Witcher’s anew. We have already played as Ciri and can progress a new story in a familiar world more fluidly.
Isn’t CD Projekt Red’s upcoming game Cyberpunk 2077?
Yes. Rumours suggest Ciri could even make an appearance given her time bending abilities. In one timeline, she saw, ‘people with metal plates in their head, waging war with something like a megascope and instead of horses everyone owns their own flying machine’. This would not contradict with The Witcheress game and could even build hype for it.
Is making another title in the Witcher series a good business move?
Yes. They’ve made millions in profit; critics and gamers scored each iteration very highly; many developers know, are familiar with and love the series from working on it for years; and the company is successful and steadily growing.
But a female only lead in an action RPG?
Not unheard of. There have been Lara Croft of Tomb Raider, Faith from Mirror’s Edge; Bloodrayne; Bayonetta and Nariko from Heavenly Sword. More recently, Mass Effect: Andromeda showed a female lead instead of a male lead; and Aloy is the female protagonist in the hotly anticipated Horizon Zero Dawn.
But in my game it looked like she died?
Heroes never really die.