The Witcher's Creator Doesn't Play Video Games

You may not know the name Andrzej Sapkowski, but you're probably acquainted with his most famous creation. Sapkowski is the writer responsible for creating Geralt of Rivia, who gamers knows as the star of The Witcher franchise developed by CD Project Red. Those releases have been great games but Sapkowski himself wouldn't know. He doesn't play.

Eurogamer — via their Polish site — has Sapkowski expounding on how he feels about CD Project Red's work and his thoughts on adaptations:

"I've never played any computer games, be it fantasy or others. Sometimes I read through dedicated gaming magazines or watch television programmes. Graphics and technology, sometimes, I admire. I cannot say anything about the plots, though. Apart from the fact that some types of games seem to lack any story whatsoever. Those seem to be all about the hack and slash."

Sapkowski also makes it clear that he views anything existing outside of a fictional universe's original medium as an entirely different beast, incluing the two Witcher games:

"The game - with all due respect to it, but let's finally say it openly - is not an 'alternative version', nor a sequel. The game is a free adaptation containing elements of my work; an adaptation created by different authors"

"Adaptations - although they can in a way relate to the story told in the books - can never aspire to the role of a follow-up. They can never add prologues nor prequels, let alone epilogues and sequels.

And while Sapkowski's statements may be bold, they are, for the most part defensible. However, he also says, "A story can only be contained in a book." I think many people who love video games would disagree with him.


    I forgot I had that game. I should play it, I have a few of the books too, well the ones you can get in English. I should read them.

    I have to say though - even if the author doesn't consider the witcher games to be official sequels, they do a bloody good job of it anyway.

      I think that's what he was shooting for with the 'with all due respect' part :P

      Mind you, is that last line really accurate? Translation? In Context? It definitely wasn't a throwaway like 'Sure Comics are fun but there's nothing like a good book!' There's a few authors who won't concede video games are good mediums for storytelling, but I can't think of any others that deny all forms of narrative but novel, movies are pretty clearly stories, and a lot of my favourite authors favour speech as the best storytelling tool.

        From the original polish "Opowieściami mogą być wyłącznie książki."
        A more apt translation would be "Only books can be considered a story".
        The context is that he doesn't believe that an interactive experience is the same as a story. Anywhere where you make choices or "fill in the blanks" is not the same as a complete unflinching story that's written as intended by the author.
        I guess he mean he prefers the story to be read as it was written, not interpreted or modified.
        He said this in reference to his own continuing work about Geralt, and how his work will in no way acknowledge anything from the games.

        Edit: a word

        Last edited 15/11/12 10:26 am

    I think that the purest form of story telling can only be told via a non linear experience such as a game. Where you aren't being told a story but living a story, where the actions YOU choose and not of the Authors influence the outcome of the game.

      Mobile TAY +1

      Interactive mediums are great for story telling.

        Are you saying they should re-do Lord of the Rings as a choose your own adventure?

          I think they might mean something different:

          1) Branching storylines ala Heavy Rain, etc
          2) Open-world game with lore, but story is derived from experience ala Dark Souls

            There's always varying kinds of stories, as le funar said above. They can all be powerful in different ways - the discovery story like dark souls can be a really slow-burn investment kind of story, where you pick up an item and realize 'holy crap this are is an illusion!?'

            Something like skyrim would arguably be less powerful because of the method which you engage in quests - i'd argue that a completely linear adventure, though probably boring, would be as akin to a book and equally as close to the power and emotion a book can bring.

            That's the concept anyway, I don't think there's any games that have completely mastered storytelling in their chosen method of... Storytelling

    The issue with that is it's hard to 'tell' a story with a desired outcome or message as different users can derive far different meaning from them. This leaves story tellers at a disadvantage as potentially large sections of the story can be missed or overlooked by the general populous. That sad, a well crafted story that is then layered with extra meaning, reinforcing world elements and hidden depth has the potential to be one of the deepest forms of story telling providing its not to deep or abstract so the majority of people can understand and enjoy it over the elitest few

    I own his books and found the story in the games more compelling and well told.

      Have you read all his books, or just the 2 published in English?

        I refuse to read moon runes so just the two in a real language. I am happy to accept that his other works in foreign suddenly experience an exponential increase in quality but I do doubt it.

    So any word on when we might actually get a translation of the next book in the series? At the rate we're going I'm going to have to re-read Blood of Elves to remember what the hell happened in it.

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