The Witcher's Author Says He Screwed Himself Out Of Profiting Off The Games

If you happen to run into Andrzej Sapkowski, creator of The Witcher, you might not want to bring up the video games. They haven't made his life much better, in part because they're not making him any money.

Sapkowski, who spoke to Eurogamer's Robert Purchese in an interview published today, has never been a gamer or showed much interest in the video games based on his world. So it might not come as a shock that he sold the rights to CD Projekt Red without asking for royalties. All he got was a check.

"I was stupid enough to sell them rights to the whole bunch," Sapkowski told Eurogamer. "They offered me a percentage of their profits. I said, 'No, there will be no profit at all - give me all my money right now! The whole amount.' It was stupid. I was stupid enough to leave everything in their hands because I didn't believe in their success. But who could foresee their success? I couldn't."

In Poland, Sapkowski is the equivalent of J.R.R. Tolkien. But outside of Poland, when people see books with The Witcher on the spine, they assume that they're looking at fiction based on the game. And Sapkowski says that sometimes people assume the same when talking to him, mistaking him for a Witcher fiction writer rather than the man who created Geralt and Ciri. "It happened," he said. "It happened. I can remember my reaction: I know many bad words and I used all of them, in many languages."

You can read the full interview here.


Comments

    Eh, at the very least he's selling more books due to the added exposure the games have given the IP.

    It's a small consolation, I know...when you consider what could have been.

    The Witcher didn't succeed because of its story. Flame suit on, let me elaborate.
    If you dig deeper into other AAA RPGs (Skyrim / Fallout for example), you'll find no more substance in their story than what you'd find in The Witcher, assuming you do a little digging. What this game did was twofold;
    a) Give the player the ability to directly manipulate the game's storyline, and
    b) Make you care about it your choices (and hence pay much more attention to them).

    That's what made The Witcher such a success; it draws you in and convinces you to care about your actions. I'm not suggesting that the books aren't great, but something set these games on a higher pedestal than most other RPGs, and it wasn't its source material; it was the execution.

    I was sympathetic till I read the part where he was actually offered royalties but declined and opted for upfront payment. Very short sighted of him and I feel is a bit telling in his attitude towards the gaming industry. It's a shame it won't make him richer but this is his doing. In the meantime, he just needs to be happy that millions of people globally love his creation so much.

      Should probably still be sympathetic. The rights for a game were sold in 1997 and switched hands once or twice, with no product completed, before ending up with CD Projekt in 2002. Factor in Poland having a completely different games industry history to Japan or the USA and it's unsurprising that Sapkowski had no expectation of games being a thing.

      No doubt, he still doesn't give a shit about games. Can't fault him for that though.

        Yeah fair, I assumed he had sold to CD Projekt for Witcher 1. Happy to stand corrected. I also think he's being a bit unfair if he thinks he's not profiting off the game. I know people in Brisbane that have bought and read every word of his translations thanks for the first 2 games. Now with the third out I'm sure he's got more fans than ever.The secondary impact on book sales surely must be noticeable?

    I have little sympathy for someone who had such a narrow minded view of gaming culture and most likely didn't bother to research the medium.

    I'd wager that the quality (or complete lack thereof) of the live action adaptions might have influenced the conservative "give me all the money now" choice.

    Ah well...thems the breaks.

    Regardless he's a fantastic author and his books are amazing. They really give you so much insight and further understanding into what the games present.

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