Tuesday, October 2nd 2018

The Witcher Author Andrzej Sapkowski Gets Sellers' Remorse, Wants $16 million from CD Projekt Red

Well, this was bound to happen sometime - but I expected it sooner, rather than as late as now. The Witcher series has become an incredible success in the videogame department, with each successive entry in the series becoming more and more of a masterpiece, culminating in The Witcher 3 - considered by many to be the ultimate RPG yet. The story for the games' development by CD Projekt Red goes way back to 2000, when the developers approached Andrjez Sapkowski on acquiring the rights to The Witcher, after a failed endeavor from another studio who had already bought the rights, but failed to deliver a game - Metropolis, which counted with Adrian Chmielarz (known for Bulletstorm, The Vanishing of Ethan Carter).

Andrjez Sapkowki's approach to the whole "games industry" informed his decision on how to sell the copyright to The Witcher series' and characters - with a "Well they brought a big bag of money! (...) What I expect from an adaptation: a big bag of money. That is all." And that is what he got, according to himself, though CD Projekt Red's co-founder Marcin Iwinski described it as "(not) a huge amount of money".
The author's stance on videogames as not being "worth his time" shouldn't have informed a business decision, however. Now, following the tremendous success of The Witcher series, the author seems to be growing less and less fond of the "big bag of money" he received - a clean, one-time-only sum pales in comparison to royalties pegged to the games' success and sales.

Of course, these sales and the incredible revenue that CD Projekt Red has derived form The Witcher series of videogames is partly - originally - due to the polish author's world and character building. However, I'd argue that most of the success stems from CD Projekt Red's focused, generous delivery and work ethics looking to elevate the bar ever further (much as they are certainly doing with Cyberpunk 2077). There have been a huge number of games with equally or even more interesting premises that haven't reached - and never will reach - the heights and bar set by The Witcher 3. And that's on CD Projekt's side of the table. As are, of course, the certainly very, very significant increases in book sales for the author in many western countries, which would never even have heard of his name and The Witcher series shouldn't the games have been created and achieved their own success.

The claim and CD Projekt Red's response can be read in the sources of this article; let it only be said, as way of summation, that Andrzej Sapkowski is looking for payment in the order of 6% of total The Witcher profits from CD Projekt Red; that he was looking to finish this deal with no pomp and circumstance and as quickly and quietly and possible; and that CD Projekt Red feels that its contractual obligations have been fulfilled. It may just be that CD Projekt's success offered way too many "big bags of money" for comfort. Sources: Andrjez Sapkowski's Claim, CD Projekt Red's response, via DSO Gaming, Eurogamer, Meeting Andrjez Sapkowski, Eurogamer, "Seeing Red"
Add your own comment

41 Comments on The Witcher Author Andrzej Sapkowski Gets Sellers' Remorse, Wants $16 million from CD Projekt Red

#1
the54thvoid
Silly man.

But as the OP says, The Witcher series isn't great because of the books, it's great because of how CDPR delivered their vision.

But I reiterate, silly man.
Posted on Reply
#2
FreedomEclipse
~Technological Technocrat~
To be fair if it wasnt for CDPR then his books wouldn't of been that popular internationally. But since the game has been hugely successful then that should of drawn attention to his books so he would of made more revenue from books sales anyway then he normally would if they got translated.

Hes butthurt that his prediction of the game franchise being an absolute flop didn't come true.

He has absolutely no dignity as a man coming out to claim what he thinks he should be entitled to but isn't
Posted on Reply
#3
Totally
FreedomEclipse, post: 3915062, member: 38411"
To be fair if it wasnt for CDPR then his books wouldn't of been that popular internationally. But since the game has been hugely successful then that should of drawn attention to his books so he would of made more revenue from books sales anyway then he normally would if they got translated.

Hes butthurt that his prediction of the game franchise being an absolute flop didn't come true.

He has absolutely no dignity as a man coming out to claim what he thinks he should be entitled to but isn't
Yep, he gambled wrong and he now wants a do-over while also being sleazy about it, the reason he's doing this later and not sooner because from whatever point he realized his mistake he wanted the games' sales and popularity to run it's course then come up with a figure where he wasn't shooting himself in the foot a second time after which show up with his hand out. He's owed nothing but someone showing him the door.
Posted on Reply
#4
StrayKAT
As much as I don't think they are obligated to redo any deal, I don't want to say anything bad about the guy either. It's pretty cool that a fairly unknown Polish writer has worldwide recognition now. Too bad he isn't happy about that.
Posted on Reply
#5
FordGT90Concept
"I go fast!1!11!1!"
CD Projekt will likely settle with him out of court. If he gets greedy, he'll get nothing.
Posted on Reply
#6
FreedomEclipse
~Technological Technocrat~
FordGT90Concept, post: 3915074, member: 60463"
CD Projekt will likely settle with him out of court. If he gets greedy, he'll get nothing.
Yup I was thinking the same thing. CDPR wants to keep on good terms with the Author so they might just throw him a bone.

Im not sure if one of his grandchildren discovered the game and ran to him saying that his original creation was a best seller, won many awards and was extremely well received among the gaming community -- something he didnt really care to find out and learn about before signing away the rights. He might be egged on by family members to try and get some of that treasure or you were right... its all premeditated and hes waited till the franchise has had great commercial success before coming out for the big money grab.
Posted on Reply
#7
StrayKAT
FreedomEclipse, post: 3915079, member: 38411"
Yup I was thinking the same thing. CDPR wants to keep on good terms with the Author so they might just throw him a bone.

Im not sure if one of his grandchildren discovered the game and ran to him saying that his original creation was a best seller, won many awards and was extremely well received among the gaming community -- something he didnt really care to find out and learn about before signing away the rights. He might be egged on by family members to try and get some of that treasure or you were right... its all premeditated and hes waited till the franchise has had great commercial success before coming out for the big money grab.
Pretty silly on his part. I've heard him badmouth games before... or something to that effect. Compared to some sci-fi/fantasy creators, he doesn't have a keen sense of other mediums it seems.
Posted on Reply
#8
FordGT90Concept
"I go fast!1!11!1!"
As CD Projekt said, he really didn't know the potential value of the rights when he signed them over. He has a 1970s worldview. TV and film adaptations are all the rage. Video games are a things nerds do in the parent's basement. He couldn't be further from the truth. CD Projekt basically took advantage of his ignorance. At the time, it made sense for CD Projekt because the risks involved were crazy. It almost didn't work too--Witcher's initial launch was terrible. Somehow they managed to make enough money to create the Enhanced Edition, and then catapult that success into Witcher 2. He came off of one failure and threw CD Projekt a bone because he was expecting another failure. He is not a lawyer nor a fortune teller.
Posted on Reply
#9
FreedomEclipse
~Technological Technocrat~
StrayKAT, post: 3915083, member: 174092"
Pretty silly on his part. I've heard him badmouth games before... or something to that effect. Compared to some sci-fi/fantasy creators, he doesn't have a keen sense of other mediums it seems.
I would prefer if CDPR gave him nothing.

FordGT90Concept, post: 3915085, member: 60463"
As CD Projekt said, he really didn't know the potential value of the rights when he signed them over. CD Projekt basically took advantage of his ignorance.
You cant really say they took advantage of him. He was the one that decided he would rather have one lump sum... By your comment. So what if the witcher series did end up flopping?? CDPR offered him sales based royalties I think they even tried to tell him about the gaming industry and what they did, but he wasnt interested in any of it.

They didnt take advantage of him. He took advantage of himself by not doing research and deciding to take that one lump sum. His own ignorance was his downfall. Nobody took advantage of him.
Posted on Reply
#10
StrayKAT
FordGT90Concept, post: 3915085, member: 60463"
As CD Projekt said, he really didn't know the potential value of the rights when he signed them over. He has a 1970s worldview. TV and film adaptations are all the rage. Video games are a things nerds do in the parent's basement. He couldn't be further from the truth. CD Projekt basically took advantage of his ignorance.
Yeah, I don't know. It was a 70s guy (or really a 60s guy) who got rich off of licensing everywhere (i.e. Lucas). And I think RA Salvatore helped create Kingdoms of Amalur.
Posted on Reply
#11
FordGT90Concept
"I go fast!1!11!1!"
Pretty sure he doesn't speak/read English. These things you're talking about are far removed from him. His publisher took care of translations to other languages.
Posted on Reply
#12
FreedomEclipse
~Technological Technocrat~
FordGT90Concept, post: 3915089, member: 60463"
Pretty sure he doesn't speak/read English. These things you're talking about are far removed from him. His publisher took care of translations to other languages.
And CDPR is a polish company. Im sure they would of spoke polish when they approached him about the rights to the witcher series.
Posted on Reply
#13
StrayKAT
FordGT90Concept, post: 3915089, member: 60463"
Pretty sure he doesn't speak/read English. These things you're talking about are far removed from him. His publisher took care of translations to other languages.
Fair enough. I don't think that'll be the case for much longer. Poland is becoming Great Again! :D
Posted on Reply
#14
John Naylor
I would rather they give him money and do Witcher 4, 5 and 6
Posted on Reply
#16
AsRock
TPU addict
FreedomEclipse, post: 3915062, member: 38411"
To be fair if it wasnt for CDPR then his books wouldn't of been that popular internationally. But since the game has been hugely successful then that should of drawn attention to his books so he would of made more revenue from books sales anyway then he normally would if they got translated.

Hes butthurt that his prediction of the game franchise being an absolute flop didn't come true.

He has absolutely no dignity as a man coming out to claim what he thinks he should be entitled to but isn't
Well wasn't NOT happy about CDPR and how the game series came out ?, why should he get even a penny as going by the crap he has come out with other the years the Witcher game is not what he wrote in the books.

Now he want's money ?, GTFO, but yeah i guess to keep the peice i guess they should but down shady quote incoming
quickly and quietly and possible
Yeah i bet he did HAHA.
Posted on Reply
#17
Prima.Vera
I guess some things never change in this world.
Like human greed and stupidity which will be forever infinite.
Posted on Reply
#18
GhostRyder
Such a fool, I think this makes him look ridiculous...

That said his case has a slim chance it looks like. I think from what I have read/heard from other commentators on the issue that the problem is the contract doesn't mention Witcher's 2 and 3 as it seems to imply on the first Witcher game (At least that sounds like where the lawsuit is being pushed on). Could be wrong but that's what I heard/read.

Based on that it will likely be settled out of court but either way I think that guys is an idiot and will have a terrible reputation beyond that point.
Posted on Reply
#19
TheGuruStud
FordGT90Concept, post: 3915085, member: 60463"
As CD Projekt said, he really didn't know the potential value of the rights when he signed them over. He has a 1970s worldview. TV and film adaptations are all the rage. Video games are a things nerds do in the parent's basement. He couldn't be further from the truth. CD Projekt basically took advantage of his ignorance. At the time, it made sense for CD Projekt because the risks involved were crazy. It almost didn't work too--Witcher's initial launch was terrible. Somehow they managed to make enough money to create the Enhanced Edition, and then catapult that success into Witcher 2. He came off of one failure and threw CD Projekt a bone because he was expecting another failure. He is not a lawyer nor a fortune teller.
But we all know this kind of deal isn’t taking advantage of him. He’s just stupid and didn’t negotiate properly, since he failed to correctly value his own work. Dummy deserves nothing but a kick in the ass.
Posted on Reply
#20
FordGT90Concept
"I go fast!1!11!1!"
The $9500'ish was appropriate for Witcher but not the subsequent games.
Posted on Reply
#21
Dexiefy
Typo here
developers approached Andrjez Sapkowski
and here
Andrjez Sapkowki's approach to the whole
and here :D
Of course, these sales and the incredible revenue that CD Projekt Red has derived form
Posted on Reply
#22
SetsunaFZero
Big mistake from Andrzej, in the Media business you always should look for % payment not for a onetime payment.
Posted on Reply
#23
Tsukiyomi91
guess a bookwriter didn't expect that a digital adaptation of one of his most underrated novel got more attention than traditional book that has no pictures, eh? didn't see that one coming huh, old man? Now you want to have "a big bag of cash" coz of CDPR's successes on the series? not gonna happen. You're getting decent payroll from bookstores that sells your book. Don't be greedy.
Posted on Reply
#24
techy1
I hope CDPR will give him 0,00$, because they owe him nothing, in fact CDPR is what brought to daylight Witcher books that brought him lot of coin. that being said, I do hope CDPR will sign with him some sort of new contract (with lot of zeros in "$" cell) for future, not that CDPR need it, but CDPR with Witcher game series right now are like: "what do we do now? trilogy ended, story ended... more gwent?" and the Author could fix it easy - it could be win=win and win for us - consumers too, so win=win=win situation
Posted on Reply
#25
Easo
Silly man.
He was offered a one time payment, or royalties and he made his choice. I would be more in his support if he hadnt said all those things he said after the Witcher games got off ground - IIRC, calling gamers dumb and games something similar to a joke, attempting to say that games SUUUUREEELLLYYY didnt influence sales of his books and even being angry that books were sold with the images of Geralt and others from the game on the cover (which goes together with the second point...).
Bitter old man, after all, which is a shame.
Posted on Reply
Add your own comment