There are so many different classifications of endings in Witcher III, it has taken me an entire weekend and several playthroughs to figure this all out myself. To begin with, let's go over when these choices are made that affect the various endings and then we'll go over the types of endings, and lastly we'll go over how to get them - basically we'll go from less spoilery to more spoilery.
To see the various endings, you can either read the glossary where Dandelion will make comments and notes on what has happened to who and you should revisit various NPCs at different points in the story.
Times to Make a Choice (Few Spoilers)
There are three major tipping points in the story. The first major tipping point is the end of the prologue. You will have several character endings based on your actions in various quests. These are character ends, not story ends, and the results will play out directly after the prologue (as in you can go see them immediately).
At the end of the prologue, you get to modify or create a Witcher II save. This directly impacts the available character endings you get along with some achievements (Lato must live in order get every available character to defend Kaer Morhen later on).
The second time to make a choice is right before you head to the isles. The game will alert you and tell you to make a save file. When you reach this point in the game, many of the characters along with which endings you can get is directly impacted by which secondary quests you complete. You will need to help every single main story character, plus complete the assassin quest line until the end in order to have every available option.
The final section that impacts the ending is positive and negative actions after you locate Ciri. You are given up to 5 chances to make a positive impression, you'll need to make at least 2 positive to get two possible endings or mostly negative to get one possible ending.
Character Ends (Spoilers)
In the prologue, how you help the dwarf at the forge determines if he gets a new forge and is hated by the townsfolk or if his new forge is burnt back down to the ground.
If you assist lana with a swallow potion, then when you return she'll be gone, but if you go to the bottom right side of Velen, her boyfriend/husband/whoever will comment that she's gone senile. If you don't help her, she'll die.
Major Characters (Pre-Isles)
Before you take your journey to the isles, there is a ton of major and minor character ends. Let's go with the major ends:
Whoreson Junior: If you kill him, then he dies. If you don't kill him, you'll find him later on in the streets as a drunk beggar. Dudu takes up his role no matter what. (Dudu only has one character end - becoming Whoreson Junior).
Sara the Godling: If you kick her out, she moves in with Johnny and you'll meet the two later on. If you let her stay, you'll meet her when you have to return to the house.
Bloody Baron: This one is much more involved than most. If you allow the evil tree to live, the baron will automatically end up hanging himself. If you kill the evil tree, then the baron will take his wife into the mountains. You'll need to do the follow-up secondary quest Return to Crookback Bog in which you'll return to the bog and kill the fiend. If the tree was allowed to live, you'll either kill anna or return anna to a human form where she's dying (based on which doll you pick). Otherwise, the baron will scoop her up and head to the blue mountains. The correct doll is the one with the flower on it.
Update: Razor down in the comments let us in on the alternate ending. Release the tree spirit before starting Ladies of the Wood and then Anna and the Baron will be together, with the tree spirit free. Haven't tried this one, but it seems others have gotten it too. So basically, go to the tree spirit and help it before being assigned to deal with it by the town. The town will be destroyed, but the orphans, baron, and anna will live.
Keria Metz: This one has three different options determined by For the Advancement of Learning. The default is that she dies burned at the stake by Radovid. This happens if you do all of her secondary quests in Velen and choose to let her go to Radovid. This also occurs if you do nothing. You can kill her yourself, if you so choose, if you complete all of her secondary quests and then decide to kill her. If you tell her to go to Kaer Morhen, then she will ride off with Lambert and help you in the defense of the stronghold.
"The Mages:" If you ignore the secondary quest Now or Never, the various mages will be burned at the stake. If you complete the quest (it's a short run through some sewers, it's literally like 5 seconds) they will be rescued, but Novigrad will start hunting non-humans. This is required for Triss's romance option with you.
Ruler of Skellige: You have to do both secondary quests offered to you for both Hjalmar and Cerys, then finish King's Gambit, then you have to side either with Hjalmar and Cerys to have a choice in the ending. Cerys is the better ruler, but doesn't specifically enjoy looting other countries and builds the islands up. Hjalmar go on all out war against Nilfgaard. Svanridge is the default, if you don't do these, and turns the continent into a monarchy and is a pretty bad ruler.
These are the only characters that give you a main character ending, there are a swath of minor character endings - I haven't found all of them, but assume if you don't interact with someone, they won't have an ending. Examples are Letho, who if you do his quest at the mansion, has the option of joining you at Kaer Morhen, and then stays there until he figures out what he wants to do, otherwise he isn't mentioned.
Here are some examples, this list isn't exhaustive as any secondary quest will bring whatever characters involved to some conclusion, you just won't receive any kind of notification of this.
Letho: In the mansion north of the bog, if he lived in Witcher II, then he'll be hiding out here. Assist with his quest up until the point he's dead then attack the people attacking him (I didn't try the other options) and then be nice to him then ask him to go to Kaer Morhen, he'll help in the defense. This isn't required for the achievement to have everyone with you at Kaer Morhen I believe, but it's a nice nod.
Dolores Reardon: She's in Lindenvale and if you complete her quest, you'll find out what happened to her brother and she'll be able to return to her mansion. HOWEVER, this is only doable if Letho isn't alive.
Folan and Vigi: For Folan, when you're helping Hjlamar, you'll come to some trolls cooking someone. Answer quickly (the riddle should be "trolls") and then you'll be able to get him out of the pot. Save before approaching the trolls, otherwise he'll cook (end for him) if you take too long or fight the trolls. For vigi, you'll come to a beast and have the option of unlocking his crate. Save and don't make any noise (walk regularly and not on ice and don't jump) to get the key and unlock him. Both will be at Kaer Morhen along with Hjlamar, that's the end for them. You'll need them for Full Crew.
Hattori & Fergus: For Hattori, if you complete his quest, he becomes a blacksmith again. For Fergus, you find out that he might not be everything that he said he was, and the other armorsmith woman becomes the master armorsmith.
Morkvarg: A long secondary quest you pickup during your main storyline. You have the option of returning him to human form if you feed him his own flesh or obtain a fang from Einar (who can die in the process). If you cure him, he returns to human form, otherwise the quest remains dormant.
Craven (I think his name is also Skjall): His corpse is thrown in a mass grave. If you go to see him with Ciri, she will make a proper burial for him.
Graham & Anabelle: No matter what, Graham dies. If you tell Anabelle that you don't trust her, you'll have to bring Graham back to the tower where you'll fight her and they kiss and then he dies. If you bring her bones to Graham, she turns into a pesta and kills him. Either way he dies, it depends on how much effort you want (bringing the bones to him doesn't require another journey through the tower). This is done during the secondary quest a Towerful of Mice.
Crones: Two die during the main quest, however, if Ciri dies, you finish the third, Weavess. This also provides some alternate ends for the bog-folk, like Berem.
Caesar Bilzen: Lives or dies based on if you do or do not stop the henchdwarves. Likewise, win the game of cards and Ravik will live too. This is during Zoltan's card quest.
Eskel: He moves out of Kaer Morhen no matter what.
There is so, so, so many more of these that I could go on all day. If you see a trend though, if there is a secondary quest and you complete it, it'll have direct impact on who lives or who dies and what they end up doing. These were the primary notables during my playthrough.
For other main characters, their story wraps up in the main endings.
Romance Endings & Geralt
These are part of the main ending for Geralt. Geralt has only two love interests. Now or Never is the secondary quest in which he can gain Triss (by being nice and kissing her). Yennefer is determined during the secondary quest Last Wish, in which if you kiss her and say you love her while being nice she'll be your love interest. If you do both of these there is a comical cutscene that plays where they tie you up to a bed and both leave you and if you do neither of these, the near same result happens: you're forever alone.
Yennefer: You must complete the secondary quest Last Wish, which you and Yennefer hunt a Djinn to determine if there is magic forcing the two of them together. The quest is very simple and straightforward, you go through some underwater exploration until you find the first half of the seal. Then you teleport to a boat on top of a mountain, where you find the Djinn. After the Djinn is defeated, if you say you still have feelings for her then she's your girlfriend. Geralt goes off with her to be alone and happy.
Triss: In the quest Now or Never, if you help the mages escape and then ask Triss to stay, then she will be your girlfriend. Triss and Geralt go and advise a king.
Again, if you do both of these, Geralt will just be alone.
There are three main endings and each one comes with a secondary set of character endings. Roche, the kings, Ves, Dijkstra, and more are all determined in the final cutscenes.
- Choice 1: You can either drink with Ciri or throw snowballs. The negative choice happens if you say you don't have to be good at anything which is you drinking. The positive choice is to say that you know what will cheer her up.
- Choice 2: Accepting the coin if you visit Emhyr leads to a bad choice.
- Choice 3: Accompanying Ciri with the lodge leads to a bad choice.
- Choice 4: Not letting Ciri ransack Avallac'h's lab leads to a bad choice.
- Choice 5: Don't let Ciri visit Skjall's grave is the bad choice.
Bad Ending: Ciri is Dead
This occurs no matter what if you make more bad choices than good, no matter what the rest of the world is up to. You will go and kill the last crone and recover the wolf amulet, then be sad.
Ciri becomes Empress
This occurs if you complete all of the assassination quests (Eye for an Eye, Deadly Plot, and Redania's Most Wanted) in Novigrad. You MUST visit Emhyr when prompted to. During Reason of State, you MUST side with Roche and this DEFAULTS to Nilfgaard winning the war (Emhyr will live no matter what). Dijsktra will not be able to rule over Novigrad.
This only will happen IF you visit Emhyr AND side with Vernon Roche. If you side with Dijkstra or let Radovid live, even if you visit Emhyr, this ending will not happen.
This is sort of depressing to me, because you go and hunt a forktail and then say goodbye to Ciri. The game then ends with her becoming empress. There is no details on the impact this has to the world beyond she has both the best and worse traits.
I think this is the most realistic ending, as it's best for the world, but very sad for Geralt - however, note, that war pretty much comes to an end.
Ciri becomes a Witcher
This is the catch-all ending and I consider it the best one for Geralt, but not the best for the world as war will continue to wage.
To get this ending, Ciri must live, you must NOT visit Emhyr if Radovid dies and you side with Vernon. One of these must be different: Visiting Emhyr, Radovid lives, you side with Vernon Roche.
To clear confusion: If Radovid LIVES and Emhyr is visited, Ciri will have this ending. If Radovid dies and YOU DID NOT visit Emhyr and you sided with Vernon Roche, then this ending will happen. If you visit Emhyr and want this ending still then Radovid must live or you must NOT side with Vernon Roche.
This ending concludes based on which one of those is different.
- Radovid Lives: Then Nilfgaard loses the war. Witch Hunters move everywhere and opress everyone and the emperor has to flee. This will also result in Emhyr dying at the end.
- Dijkstra Rules Novigrad: This happens if you complete Reason of State and kill Roche. Dijkstra is a pretty cool dude after all, but the war will continue to wage on.
- Side with Roche: If you side with Roche and Radovid obviously would have to die for this, then Temeria peacefully reclaims their land and Nilfgaard wins.
No matter the situation, you go to Emhyr and tell him Ciri died, then go and meet Ciri and go off to have fun Witcher adventures together.
Final Character Endings
- If Radovid Lives: No matter what, if Reason of State isn't finished and the assassination quests mentioned above are not done, then Radovid will rule Novigrad. All non-humans and magical entities will be hunted to extinction.
- If You Side with Dijkstra: He's a pretty cool dude and industrializes Novigrad. This isn't the best that could occur, but hey. Vernon Roche and Ves will die.
- If You Side with Vernon: Termeria gets their land back, Novigrad falls under the Emperor's rule, Emhyr then controls the northern realms. Dijkstra will die.
Emhyr var Emreis
If Novigrad falls to the emperor, he will live. This requires you to side with Vernon Roche. This is entirely possible with or without Ciri becoming empress. If you do not visit Emhyr, then by default she will become a witcher with Geralt.
If Novigrad is in ANYONE elses' hands, he will die.
To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our The Witcher III: Wild Hunt Game Page.