Does Geralt's character shine through in the games?

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#1 Edited by Top8Gamer (214 posts) -

Something has always been off for me with Geralt in the games but I couldn't really pin down what it was. It just recently hit me what it was. In the games Geralt is portrayed as being a little bland and straightforward. Which isn't really the case. Geralt is very witty and intelligent. He is extremely charismatic and well spoken. I mean there is a reason he is friends with bards and poets and charms ladies like no ones business.

The problem is in the games it's really hard to show inter dialogue. In the books he might be having a conversation with someone where he is almost completely silent or only saying a few words, but in his mind might be cracking jokes or intelligently accessing the situation. I've seen people say he lacks emotions which isn't the case. That's just a myth/story inhabitants of the world think about witchers. Geralt even gets irritated and snarky at times when that sentiment is brought up. He doesn't really talk about his emotions though or let them dictate his actions. He keeps a calm collected exterior while inside he might be furious or heartbroken. Which makes it challenging to show those emotions in a video format.

I've started to wonder how you would even tackle showing character like that in games. Some games like Life is Strange just do it by having the inter dialogue said in her head. In film you can get it from subtle facial expressions or body mannerisms but games aren't quite there yet. It's probably not just a problem indicitive to The Witcher, it just jumps out at me more here because there are books that flesh out Geralt's character where I haven't read literature from other video games before.

What are your guys thoughts? I'm interested of how people who haven't read the books perceive Geralt because I didn't get to have that experience. I read the books first so that's always colored my image of him.

*edit* Oh and probably good to mention that I've only played the first 2 games and read all the books. I'm only a couple hours into the wild hunt so maybe they do show his character more in this game, and I'm just not there yet. *edit*

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#2 Posted by rethla (3725 posts) -

I get the impression hes a Jaime Lannister character. He can be supersnarky and witty but choose to withdraw himself rather than engage in conversatiosn.

We are at the same point gamewise though i havnt read the books.

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#3 Posted by Zeik (5185 posts) -

I think Wild Hunt has done a pretty good job with that somfar, better than previous games I feel like. Part of that is because the facial animations are big step, so there's a lot more subtle emotion you get from Geralt without him having to say much. But when he does talk there's a solid amount of wry humor that I like.

I've only read the first two books, so I'm not an expert, but I feel like this game gets pretty close to the character I saw in the books. It doesn't quite capture his full depth perfectly, but there's definitely more to him than some people have given him credit for, even books notwithstanding.

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#4 Posted by emfromthesea (2262 posts) -

I find his character to be very similar to Bigby Wolf from the Fables comics (and the recent Wolf Among Us game). Feared by many, initially appears to be rather stoic, but does have a rather intelligent and snarky personality. The Wolf Among Us did a really good job of allowing you to be all of the above. You could appear intimidating, you could be very quiet, or you can be much friendlier and witty. It allowed you to choose the kind of Bigby Wolf you'd be at any given moment, and I loved that.

I haven't played much of any of the games (yet) but I think The Wolf Among Us showed that it's at least possible to have a character take on all those different traits. One thing I will say about what I've seen of The Witcher 3 is that the facial animation looks fantastic, and they could perhaps show a lot of Geralt's inner persona through his expressions.

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#5 Posted by Justin258 (15587 posts) -

Geralt in The Witcher 2 wasn't a bad character but I do agree that he was kinda flat. He came across as someone who has the weight of the world on his shoulders, he's got a hell of a lot to worry about at every point in that game. I can see why such a situation might cause someone to "ball up", so to speak, and keep their wry humor more to themselves.

The Witcher 3 does seem much better about this. As has been mentioned, Geralt's facial expressions are pretty impressive, maybe even the best I've seen in any game of this type, and that helps a whole hell of a lot. Story-wise, he doesn't have tons of pressure on him the entire time, so he's loosened up more than enough to slip out wry humor and sarcastic remarks.

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#6 Posted by chainreaction01 (230 posts) -

I felt 1 was a lot better than 2 in portraying that side of the character. Replayed it recently and recall a lot of characters commenting on Geralt's witty retorts. There's also the amount of times he manages to insult dumber characters and have the jokes go right over their heads in a comedic fashion.

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#7 Posted by Tennmuerti (9445 posts) -

Yea sure, I think so anyway. I've haven't read any of the books, yet have a very similar impression of Geralt as a character over the course of the games as you do. Geralt's calm demeanor is definitely not for lack of feelings, nor does his straightforward talk make him a bland character either. The dialogue and his overall actions, narrative, attitude towards others and relationships attest to this very much. One also has to keep in mind i feel that Geralt has quite a few years behind his belt and has seen and been through a dozen bucketfuls of shit human and otherwise.

And yea W3 I think allows him to be better fleshed out as a person then the previous games, not just through the tech and huge workload that went into the animations, but also the breadth of situations he encounters on the main path and off.

Plus the games have always allowed you to skew Geralt's character one way or another a bit from his general persona. You can be more dispassionate if you want, more neutral, or care more about certain sides of the conflict then others, be merciful to monsters and not humans, or the reverse, or both or neither. So that can color one's perception of him too.

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#8 Posted by ShadowConqueror (3413 posts) -

I think Geralt's personality shines a fair bit more in The Wild Hunt than in the other games. He's legitimately funny at times and has an interesting code of ethics which can make resolving story lines more complicated and intricate than they might be otherwise.

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#9 Posted by Sessh (3376 posts) -

I agree with others that Geralt's character is a lot more fleshed out in The Wild Hunt and that the facial animations do a lot for him (and the game in general).

Obviously you still can't quite get the same nuance out of a game (or a movie for that matter) as you get out of a book and if you really want to play as real to his character as possible you won't come around reading the books, since otherwise you won't truly know him anyway.

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#10 Posted by gaminghooligan (1829 posts) -

So, from what I remember, witchers mutations cause them to lose a lot of their emotions to make them better hunters. I've always assumed that and maybe the voice actor contribute to Geralts demeanor. That being said I like the way Geralt acts, especially when he tries to make jokes and they fall flat.

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#11 Posted by Belegorm (1848 posts) -

I mean you have a similar problem with books turned into movies, you can't have the character's thoughts and emotions spelled out in a film.

And Geralt, thanks to the mutations, still totally feels emotions, they're just more muted.

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#12 Posted by Mikemcn (8566 posts) -

I'm playing the first game, and he certainly has his witty comebacks and seems very intelligent. But he comes off as flat because he is monotone which may be the voice actors fault.

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#13 Posted by GERALTITUDE (5988 posts) -

I don't really agree with your analysis about he cpmes across in the games. I think he does come off as witty and perceptive. He has a dry sense of humour, and some of his lines are flat out hilarious. I've felt this way since Witcher 1 (never read any books) and definitely his characterization is stronger with each game.

He's just a very subtle character. It's what I love in him.

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#14 Posted by Jimbo (10472 posts) -

They have the added difficulty of trying to leave his character a little bit vague for the player to put their stamp on it. I mean, 'Snarky' and 'Gruff' are pretty safe, but there are a lot of places they can't show a strong emotional response because it might contradict how the player is playing the character. Books and movies obviously don't have to worry about this.

If you want to see a masterclass in conveying that internal struggle without being able to rely on internal dialogue, check out Mark Rylance's performance in the (excellent) BBC adaptation of Wolf Hall.

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#15 Edited by Top8Gamer (214 posts) -

Well it's nice to hear all the good comments. Makes me all the more excited to dig into The Wild Hunt. Geralt is one of my favorite protagonists after all. Also I agree with the criticisms about his voice actor. I've come to accept him as Geralt's voice but maybe it's not doing him any favors.

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