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What begins as a simple rescue mission trickles down into pulpy sub-stories that flesh out everything from family dramas, to political intrigue, to military strife, and even some high romance.
In one particularly divergent quest tree, the monster-hunter protagonist Geralt comes across the path of an old friend, Dandelion, who was apparently the last to encounter Ciri.
(613) By building a sense of structurelessness into their books, Tolstoy and Dostoevsky create realms where all contingent possibilities are theoretically open.
Since everything in Great Expectations is bound by traditional literary structure, Pip is always destined to come into wealth.
This allows us—indeed, it encourages us—to interpret and question the events that actually do come to pass.
The “open-world” genre, for instance, with its massive Skyrims and Dragon Ages, has long prided itself on providing players with something resembling authentic choice.
But even though we can pluck our way through the dialogue trees of Mass Effect or align ourselves with the many factions of the Elder Scrolls series, the narrative crux of these games always feels Dickensian: when “Clementine will remember that”, we are told so explicitly.
Despite its complex lore and extensive source material, the premise of The Witcher 3 is strikingly simple: Find Ciri.
Give the game a few hours, though, and it quickly buries its “save the girl” throughline under a heaping mess of other plot points, branching off into a thousand different directions like the tendrils of a lightning bolt.