Now, on topic: I'm currently at the end of Act IV, and about to decide if I'm siding with the Order or going neutral. In fact, I already decided to not to meddle in political matters, but I wondered if that's going to cost me the lives of the peasants in return. The game presents me with the same cutscene no matter what I choose, and I'm only left with a slight variation in the dialog with White Rayla, which doesn't say much about the outcome anyway. I seriously hope that the game doesn't interpret my "I'm not going to take sides in this quarrel, because both of you are crazy bastards" as "I don't care about the lives of these innocent hostages". Because that would be a cheap way to make me feel wrong about being neutral. I realize that the general tone of the game is "shades of gray", but I'm trying to have a coherent character development, and while my Geralt is clearly not interested in politics, he isn't a sociopath that doesn't care for anyone besides himself.
That's why I can't see myself chosing the Scoia'tael side and wasting dozens of hours in a move that seems to be so out of character for Geralt. Those guys are truly evil scum, and the game does a good job to present them that way from the first chapters. Of course, the Order turned out to be the same kind of social cancer —I tried their path a little bit, out of curiosity—, but the game backstabs you with that knowledge only after you made the decision to fight for them. Before that, the only hints to their true abhorrent nature were only a few suspicious comments from unreliable sources and unimportant characters, like random Squirrels or some random citizens of Vizima.
Besides that, just take a look at the way the game portrays both sides. For example, the few times I crossed paths with the Order, I received this input:
- Sigfried, a very polite and honorable knight from the Order is fighting monsters alone in the sewers, and he offers me his assistance. He claims that the Order protects innocent people from monsters.
- Sigfried again, informing everyone that I'm a hero and vouching for me at the Dike gates.
- Sigfried asks me to lead his men in a raid against the Scoia'tael. Which is good in my book, since they are monsters.
- the Order is trying to neutralize the bank robbers and save the hostages. Basically, the game is asking me if I want to side with the guys who are threatening innocent lives or with the guys who are trying to save them. Some choice.
- Patrick de Weyze informs me that —unlike Yaevinn, who is happy to murder helpless humans whenever he can— Sigfried is clearly affected and disgusted to fight against these unprepared and badly equipped foes.
- again, the Order trying to save the peasants in Murky Waters, while the Scoia'tael already murdered several of them to make a point. Now the game seems to be asking me if I want to help the hostages or leave them to their luck... right after I've sworn to protect the helpless to the Lady of the Lake, and received Aerondight in return.
Compare that to what we see of the Scoia'tael and its members before choosing sides:
- Zoltan and the dwarven blacksmith from the Outskirts —interestingly, both are victims of racism— informing Geralt about the Squirrels and their activities, displaying a strong disapproval for their methods.
- Some Scoia'tael members threaten to kill me if I don't hand over the Haren Brogg's merchandise.
- Vivaldi, another victim of racism, dismissing Yaevinn and his band of rogues, refusing to help them "even if he could".
- I'm sent in a mission to supervise a weapons trade, and I'm forced to kill some Order knights. Afterwards, I learn that Yaevinn tricked me and there was no planned exchange with the hawkers.
- I'm sent in a mission to kill an alp who's impeding the retrieval of important ancient elven objects. Afterwards, I learn that Yaevinn tricked me to clear a path so he can rob a bank.
- Yaevinn and his men assault the aforementioned bank and take hostages. I can see the Scoia'tael fighters brutalizing the elderly workers, and when I tell Yaevinn that I'm not going to take sides, he decides that I'm his enemy, as everyone who disagrees with him.
- Scoia'tael members murdering innocent citizens from Vizima, and leaving women and children to be devoured alive by ghouls in order to escape.
- White Rayla informs me that the Squirrels fought for the Nilfgaardian Empire in the Battle of Brenna, killing most of their prisoners and submitting her to sadistic torture.
- Toruviel and her men take innocent hostages and kill many of them to make a point. The same people who offered them food when they were starving, to which them replied that they won't accept morsels from the lowly humans.
And I'm not mentioning the barbaric actions I'm seeing in Old Vizima, because at that point one is already committed to a side. Now that I think about it, I can't see how anyone could simply ignore the Squirrels' wickedness and justify their actions, unless he or she:
- has erotic fantasies about elves... or dwarfs, but I don't want to go there.
- has romantic fantasies about lost causes, even genocidal and shortsighted ones.
- has a strong dislike for any sort of organized religion in real life, and is unable to grasp the notion that the Order is a fictional one, completely unrelated to real world events.
- is curious about what would happen if Geralt was a complete hypocrite and a moron.
Because frankly, seeing Geralt siding with them is kissing goodbye my suspension of disbelief. It would be like seeing Geralt and Dandelion performing MC Hammer's "U Can't Touch This" instead of a poem to Alina's ghost in The Fields, but without the funny.
Anyway, I digress. My question is, is there some sort of development or flashback about this matter in the future? Or I'll have to settle with "regardless of my choice, the Order defeated Toruviel and her unit in Murky Waters, and the peasants... I guess they survived"? Because I'd rather have a Geralt who does something to help them and then he realizes that the Order is a murderous cult, than a Geralt that only cared for his mission and left a bunch of peasants in the hands of some mad, juvenile terrorists suffering from teen angst.
Thanks in advance for your answers.