Easily one of the greatest games of this generation, CD Project Red’s award winning open world epic brought us an unforgettable journey through a vast fantasy world. The third and reportedly final instalment in the franchise, Witcher 3 delivered a fitting end to Geralt of Rivea’s story and also encouraged deep exploration of its many side quests and secrets. With hundreds of hours of gameplay, we wouldn’t blame you for missing a few, so here are eight of our favourite Witcher 3 Easter eggs.
8. Star Wars
After journeying through war-torn Velen and the extremely prejudice streets of Novigrad, Geralt of Rivea’s tale leads to the scenic islands of Skellige. Rolling hills, twisting coastlines and broad, Northern Irish accents all made for a distinct and refreshing experience half way through the main game.
What you might not have noticed was a certain minor character in the village of Blandare on Ard Skellig. Star Wars fans will appreciate meeting Djenge Frett, the bounty hunter, a quite clear reference to Attack of the Clones’ Jango Fett, the infamous galactic bounty hunter from whom fan favourite Boba Fett was cloned. This encounter begins the quest ‘The Sad Tale of the Grossbart Brothers’, which sees you team up with Frett to take on a murderous trio.
The name and occupation of this character is about as far as the reference goes, but it’s a satisfying nod to one of the greatest franchises of all time.
7. Fairy Tales
Coming from the studios of Polish developers CD Projeckt Red, it’s no great surprise that the Witcher borrows many themes from Polish folk tales, European lore and classic fairy tales. It’s this creative inspiration that gives the game its unique soul, and you’ll easily find examples of this throughout the game.
Early on in the story, in Velen, your search for Ciri will lead you to the Crone’s swamp village via a trail of delicious sweet treats, which is awfully similar to the story of Hansel and Gretel – particularly when you later find out just what those nasty crones do with the poor orphans inhabiting the village.
After the initial game release, Witcher was followed by the “Hearts of Stone” expansion, which was heavily influenced by the Polish folk tale of Twardowski and the devil. Both stories follow theme of selling one’s soul for three wishes. Even the twist in the tale is similar; Twardowski soul could only be taken once he returned to Rome, but the devil cheats him by luring him to an inn that happens to be called “Rome”. In the Witcher 3 von Everec’s pact can only be fulfilled when they stand on the Moon, and the Mirror Man tricks him into standing on a painted crescent moon.
Further expansions brought even more interesting references. May 2016 saw the release of Blood and Wine, the second and final Witcher 3 expansion. Far from the bleak and brutal Northern realms, Blood and Wine took us on an epic detour to the rich and prosperous land of Toussaint for an additional 30+ hours of gameplay.
During his adventures in this vibrant new area, Geralt finds himself trapped in a story book with a plethora of fairy tale characters. To name but a few, you can climb Rapunzel’s tower and find the poor princess already a wraith, visit the three bears asleep in their various bed sizes, irritate a big bad wolf (who happens to be suffering from a big bad hangover), destroy the home of the three little pigs and even find a boy crying wolf. Later, you’ll escape the world via a beanstalk only to encounter an angry giant in the clouds. It all sounds very familiar.
6. Dark Souls
Another surprising addition to the Witcher 3’s second expansion pack was an easily missed nod to another popular fantasy game franchise.
Whilst in the fairy tale book world, having defeated the giant, if you follow a Will o’ the Wisp before entering the castle and wander of the beaten path, you’ll discover a cave with a very familiar set up. Anyone who has played FromSoftware’s Dark Souls series will recognise the iconic sword-pierced bonfire and there is no doubt this is a reference to the beloved Souls series.
5. Doctor Who
The creators of Witcher 3 are clearly fans of British time traveller Doctor Who. For a start, one of the main characters is almost a timelord in her own right. Geralt’s adopted daughter Ciri goes by many names; heir to the Nilfgaard empire, child of the elder blood etc. But one name in particular stands out; “the Lady of Space and Time”. Ciri has the ability to create portals to other worlds and dimensions, which sees her travel through space and time on her run from the Wild Hunt. The title is awfully similar to the Doctor’s, Lord of Space and Time – and she’s got my vote for first lady doctor.
A more literal Easter egg in the Witcher 3 can be found at the church in Lindenvale. Once you’ve explored the building, you might find the previously unassuming statues have moved slightly.
Don’t look away. Don’t blink.
This is one of the more obvious (and creepy) references in the game. The Weeping Angel statues from the popular sci-fi series’ episode Blink have made their way in to the game, ready to terrify a whole new world of church going folk.
4. Monty Python
If you’ve ever played Witcher 3 and had someone heckle the phrase “Your mother was a hamster and your father smelled of elderberries,” you’re probably already aware of the game’s Monty Python references.
There are subtle nods throughout, like beggars discussing how hard it is to find charity since they were healed by a passing mage, or the quest “Shock Therapy” which has you berate a pious man until he breaks his vow of silence, much like the famous Life of Brian scene.
There is however one Easter egg that stands out from the bunch, and it can be found outside a cave near Benek, Velen. Outside the cave’s entrance you’ll find a viciously attacked pile of corpses and might wonder about their fate, were it not for the presence of a “snow hare”. Monty Python fans will recognise this Holy Grail reference to the Rabbit of Caerbannog, the film’s adorable killer bunny antagonist. Let’s hope Geralt has a Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch handy.
3. Game of Thrones
Based on a popular series of fantasy novels from Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski, the Witcher 3 shares many of the same epic fantasy tropes as the Song of Ice and Fire series created by George RR Martin. Whilst distinctly different stories and writing, both see strong characters surviving a hugely detailed, gritty fantasy world. It makes sense then that creators would include references to books and their epic HBO adaptation.
There are some subtle nods such as quests entitled “A Feast for Crows” or “Filibert always pays his debts”, and an armour set almost identical to that of bastard hero Jon Snow. In the Blood and Wine expansion, a little girl can be heard uttering the phrase; “My brother gave me a sword, I named it needle.”
Over in Skellige (whose inhabitants, incidentally, speak like they’re from Northern Ireland, where much of Game of Thrones is filmed) you can find a small island that utilises sky cells much like the house of Arryn’s Eyrie prison. You’ll even find the body of a dwarf that looks an awful lot like our favourite hand of the king, Tyrion Lannister.
On its release, Witcher 3 was inevitably compared to Bethesda’s last Elder Scrolls instalment, Skyrim. The two share a theme of epic fantasy, open world maps and enough quests and adventures to make you forget the main storyline half the time.
Any Skyrim fan will have heard the arrow to the knee phrase one too many times, and Witcher 3 developers seem to be in on the joke with several references to Skyrim’s iconic, repetitive guard dialogue. Firstly the Black Infantry Archer in your gwent deck has the phrase “I always aim for the knee” – possibly the culprit who robbed every guard in Tamriel of their potential adventures.
In Hearts of Stone, the first expansion DLC, Shani reminds a guard of the time she healed him and asks about his knee, to which the man responds “as if no arrow ever struck it.” There’s a chance these are accidental, but it seems likely the comedy Elder Scrolls line inspired a few inside jokes.
- Breaking Bad
This one is our favourite reference; its very easy to miss and there is no denying its intent. If you venture to a cave just northe of Novigrad, you’ll find a readable item called “Alchemist’s Notes” in the clutches of a skeleton behind an illusionary wall. If you actually read the notes, said Alchemist complains about his assistant ‘Jester’ (!) who had just ‘one job. ONE.’ Sound familiar?
He also goes on to reason that it would be better to take risks and leave this world with a bang then to die slowly in a hospital. It’s a fabulous homage to Walter White and Jesse.