Nearly seven years after The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt released, players still weren’t sure they’d discovered everything there was to see in the sprawling fantasy game. Recently, a developer at CD Projekt Red teased a “last secret” in the game, driving one player to break the game with time travel in search of it.
YouTuber xLetalis has made hundreds of videos detailing the smallest things in The Witcher 3, but even he hadn’t seen it all. Back in December 2019, xLetalis made a video detailing a bunch of stuff in the Blood and Wine expansion, including the eventual fate of Vivienne de Tabris, the NPC at the center of one of the game’s most involved side quests.
In classic Witcher fashion, Vivienne has been cursed and is now occasionally a bird monster as a result. To save her, Geralt can spare her by moving the curse to her lover, or break it completely by using an Oriole egg, though her lifespan will be shortened to that of the bird in the process, i.e. seven years.
Choose the latter and the lady-in-waiting will begin traveling the world and eventually say she’s heading to Skellige. You can only find her there by using the game’s console command cheats on PC, however. In the video, xLetalis showed Vivienne sightseeing around the stronghold of Kaer Trolde. But it turns out that wasn’t the actual end to her quest line.
“It’s awesome to still see people finding new things years after we released Witcher 3!” wrote CDPR’s lead quest designer, Phillipp Weber in a tweet sharing the video in January 2020. “I wonder when they will find Vivienne’s last secret.”
xLetalis said in a recent video that he wasn’t aware of Weber’s tweet, but fans of his and the game were. In a CDPR charity stream earlier this month for aid to Ukraine (via PC Gamer), lead quest designer Philipp Weber was asked about the “last secret.”
“It has to do with Blood and Wine but it’s not what you think it is,” he said. “It actually goes a bit further.”
Days later the YouTuber posted a video of where he tried troubleshooting what it could possibly be. First he tried completing the Blood and Wine storyline before finishing the main campaign in Skellige hoping to trigger some new scene or piece of dialogue. Nothing. Next, he tried completing the Crones quest line while wearing one of Viviene’s feathers on Geralt’s head in case the secret was buried really deep in the game. Again, nothing.
“The only thing I haven’t yet tried is something my viewers have jokingly suggested, which is to meditate for seven full years in-game to see if Vivienne dies at Kaer Trolde.” Joking or not, the viewers were right. xLetalis had already meditated to move time forward over a hundred times in the course of his initial investigation. Only 2,400 more days to go. Instead, he decided to use console commands to speed up both the game and its day and night cycle. On the final day of her new life, he followed Vivienne into Kaer Trolde and she collapsed on the floor.
As PC Gamer points out, a German-language article from April 2020 had already revealed that Vivienne will die in-game after the time lapse, though both xLetalis and Weber seemed unaware of it (neither immediately responded to a request for comment). That fact doesn’t appear to have pierced the collective consciousness of the Witcher 3 subreddit either. But xLetalis didn’t stop there. He’d already time traveled seven years. Why not keep going?
“There seems to be an end of time,” he said in his discovery video. “I’m not sure when exactly, probably like 10 years, where the time goes into the negative and the whole world breaks.”
After hitting this point, the game begins to go bright red. Large white spots appear throughout the world.
“Is this Ragnarok or Gaunter O’Dimm taking over or just some sort of technical limitation of the engine?” asked xLetalis. “I don’t know.”
I’m guessing the latter. Still, xLetalis suggested he might visit the Unseen Elder at the gate between the vampire world and the human one during this game-crashing apocalypse to see if anything happens. Even if this was The Witcher 3’s “last secret,” I’m sure some fans will find new things to hunt for.