Acutally I perceive the witcher world pretty much identical to our own world, with all its varieties and different moods. It's kind of weird to think that in a world based on realism and immersiveness there should be only ONE general mood and everyting should be dark and grim. I also don't see why the witcher world should be darker than our own world in general. That makes no sense to me. Again I guess that's a confusion of environments and narrative themes, in pretty much the same way many people seem to perceive the Middle Ages as dark and grim. It's just a psychological fallacy imho, our mind automatically connects environments to human problems. I mean, we even react to wheather symptoms, like being more happy when the sun is shining and being more sad when it's rainy or cold (at least that applies to a lot of people, not to all). But in all honesty, I don't think we should fall for that trope. The effect of dark themes in the narrative is imho even stronger if the world is just natural or even beautiful. Just imagine the contrast of having a great, warm sunny day with a whole palette of bright, summer colors while the abysses of the human (or elven, dwaren, monsterish,...) soul are still lurking everywhere. Hell, that's like real life!
Great post and very true. There were a lot of beautiful areas in TW2 - one of these moments was the Elven ruins/bath area near Flotsam. One of the prettiest and most beautiful areas of the game - but so much brutality occurs there- Geralt massacres the bandits trying to smash up the ruins, and later there is the devastating battle people Iorveth's elves and the Blue Stripes, and of course Geralt's first fight with the Kingslayer. However there's also the tender love scene between Geralt and Triss.
The beauty of the place contrasted with the violence and emotions there is a great microcosm of what this thread is about.