In the world of RPGs, there’s a kind of unspoken rule that implies narrative and characterization should be valued much higher than they are in other genres. Games like Final Fantasy 7 don’t stand out solely on the basis of their innovation, but rather because they successfully mix exciting gameplay with spell-binding worlds and characters that escape boring, two-dimensional personalities and leave a lasting impression on the gamers who inhabit their lives. Keeping this tradition in mind, it is no small claim to label The Witcher 3 as the modern pinnacle of video game story-telling.
Part of the reason CD Projekt Red’s adaptation of Andrzej Sapkowski’s fantasy series is so successful is because the source material is incredibly strong in its own right. Although the developers have taken some liberties with the narrative for the sake of gameplay, they remain dedicated to staying as close to Sapkowski’s vision of the Witcher universe as possible.
With the return of fan favorite Shani in the Hearts of Stone expansion, its reasonable to expect the developers are eager to dip into the rich history of the books again in for the upcoming Blood & Wine. Here’s our top 5 list on who we think should make the cut for the next DLC installment.
5. Coral (Lytta Neyd)
Coral is probably the most controversial pick on this list. While the rest of the characters have strong ties to the video game series in one way or another, Coral has only been mentioned off-hand in one side quest involving an enchanted statuette during The Witcher 3. She also maintains the dubious honor of being the only character on this list to not have their likeness appear on a Gwent card in-game.
However, given that CD Projekt Red has referenced her existence, she’s fair game for an expanded role in the future. If video game Coral is anything like the character in the books, she’d represent a unique take on sorceresses we haven’t really seen yet; not solemn or serious, not flirty or tactical, but rather mischievous and whimsical. She has a rather physical history with Geralt as well, so she could also end up being another romance option.
4. Saskia (Saesenthessis)
Depending on the choices gamers made while playing The Witcher 2, they will either need to see the image above to be reminded who Saskia even is, or are very familiar with her and her shocking secret. Players who chose to align themselves with Iorveth and the Scoia’tael in The Witcher 2 got to experience the struggle of Saskia in leading a band of non-humans trying to carve out a place for themselves in a hostile, often racist Northern realm. Later, Geralt discovers she is actually a dragon in disguise and has the opportunity to rescue her from a terrible fate during the game’s climactic summit at Loc Muinne.
Strangely enough, Saskia isn’t mentioned once over the course of The Witcher 3 outside of her Gwent card. That could be because players who chose to ally with Roche instead of Iorveth never discovered her true nature as a dragon, but that’s no reason to waste such a wonderfully unique character. Perhaps Saskia can play a role in Blood & Wine given it is rumored to be just as long as the entirety of The Witcher 2, and players can finally get the chance to discover what happened to everyone’s favorite dragon/warrior queen hybrid.
3. Fringilla Vigo
Fringilla Vigo, Nilfgaardian sorceress extraordinaire, is the only character on this list who was already involved in The Witcher 3. Players have the chance to rescue her from being held prisoner on a Nilfgaardian warship, crossing the powerful and intimidating Emhyr, Emperor of Nilfgaard in order to do so.
However, once players rescue Fringilla, she hardly factors into the story at all. There aren’t many dialogue options available with her, and she quickly becomes an accessory to help move the plot along. Given all that Fringilla has accomplished within the Witcher universe, it’s a shame she isn’t used more in-game. She’s opposed Yennefer and even blinded her during battle, and has had a torrid affair with Geralt that ended in heartbreak and anger. Players familiar with her story expected much more than just the “Veni, Vidi, Vigo” side quest when they discovered her presence in The Witcher 3, and perhaps Blood & Wine is the perfect place to give fans what they want.
2. Francesca Findabair
Francesca Findabair, Queen of the Elves and member of the Lodge of Sorceresses that caused so much trouble in The Witcher 2, is in fact the only member of the Lodge to have never appeared in a Witcher video game. Interestingly enough, she’s mentioned in every single one, often by members of the Scoia’tael elf rebels or by other sorceresses, and she plays an integral part in the construction of the entire Witcher universe, having struck a deal with the Emperor of Nilfgaard to maintain regency over her own people. While Francesca has some history with Geralt and friends, she is most familiar with Yennefer, who she recruited into the Lodge before the Witcher games’ narrative ever began.
Although not much is known about Blood & Wine yet, the title seems to suggest the kind of political intrigue that more closely characterized The Witcher 2 rather than its successor. If that’s the case, fans should expect the Lodge to be involved again, and perhaps the long-awaited appearance of the Queen of the Elves will follow shortly after. A Francesca and Emhyr standoff, for instance, would be epic.
How could it be anybody else?
While player choice plays a large role in just how much gamers got to know Iorveth over the course of The Witcher 2, the Scoia’tael leader plays a vital part in the game’s conclusion either way. At times an endearing, emotional rebel while at others a vile racist who mirrors even the worst humans of the Witcher universe, Iorveth is the kind of deep, fascinating character that an entire expansion could be situated around, especially since he is entirely absent from The Witcher 3 while his counterpart, Roche, is very much a crucial contributor to one of the game’s most significant plotlines.
Regardless of the content in Blood & Wine, Iorveth is the closest thing to a lock for appearing in the next expansion as there can be. While there’s been no confirmation from CD Projekt Red, the studio has proven it listens closely to what fans want – and fans were quite upset that they didn’t get to see one of the few game-exclusive characters in the newest Witcher. Even if its just a brief side quest (although we hope its much more than that), fans should feel safe in expecting a cameo appearance.
Who do you think should make the cut in Witcher 3‘s Blood & Wine? Did we miss anyone obvious? Let us know in the comments.
The Witcher 3: Blood & Wine is expected to be released sometime in the first half of 2016 for PC, PS4, and Xbox One.