The Witcher

Writing and Plot are the issue with the Yennefer/Triss Romance

TheWitcher6 - Writing and Plot are the issue with the Yennefer/Triss Romance
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I am doing my first playthrough of Witcher 3 after getting it on sale from the PS store. I eventually came across the romance options with Triss and/or Yennefer, which on paper is right up my alley. I enjoy romance in video games (when done well) as it can add to character and can throw a bit of mundanity into the regular gameplay and story. However, as I went through the story and got to their respective secondary quests, I soon ran into the problem that plagues both choices: writing and the plot.

I haven't played any of the other Witcher games, nor have I read any of the novels, so the only knowledge I have of the characters is from the game and any research I did to get a better grasp on the characters. By the end of Act I, I found that I preferred Triss massively over Yennefer. I actually liked both of them. The difference for me was that Triss demonstrated both strength and weakness, whereas by the end of The Last Wish quest, Yennefer still just seemed cold and matter-of-fact during a time that should have been a big revelation for her (a little weakness or emotion can go a long way to making even strong characters vastly more relatable). I can see what her character is supposed to be, but I haven't got that from her portrayal. Yet, when I made the choice of romancing Triss, and rejecting Yennefer, it just felt off.

The way Geralt's dialogues are written with each respective character, as well as plot elements around them and their relationships just don't lend to a romance with Triss in this game. Outside of one or two player choices, Geralt isn't really written to show much romantic interest in Triss. Even Triss' dialogues make it feel like she is trying to move on from her love for Geralt. So if you tell her you love her at the end of Now or Never, it feels out of left field rather than organic. Same with rejecting Yennefer, the way the characters were written up to that point makes rejection feel off (sure, the whole wish bond is gone, but then there is the potential inconsistency of Yennefer's feelings remaining while Geralt's disappear, even though their interactions throughout the game suggest that he does love her outside of this bond… and it feels like a convenient excuse).

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It doesn't help that you have so few interactions with them before these decisions are meant to be made. Triss gets a bit more, but two side quests with her is not enough to really rebuild a potential romance between them. And then Yennefer gets probably the shortest main quest section of Act I, and only one measly side quest to further her character. It feels like you spend more time with Keira Metz than these two by the end of the first Act. There are so many side quests in the game, it would have helped massively to have given both characters longer side quest chains to replace some of lesser quests. This way their relationships could have been fleshed out outside of those massive info-dump secondary dialogue options presented at times.

I am currently going back to an older save to switch my choice. Even though I prefer Triss, Yennefer just feels right and works better with how the characters are written. I don't really care for the debate about either/or. I think there are valid arguments for either, it's just a shame that the writing doesn't make both decisions feel equal. Now, if they had given us other romantic options with story endings, then that could have been another story (why not Cerys?).

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