Back in 1997, CD Projekt Red which at the time only localized Western games in Polish reached out to Andrzej Sapkowski, author of The Witcher novels about turning his story into a video game. 21 years later, the company is worth about $2 Billion and Andrzej Sapkowski isn’t happy about the deal they had originally settled on and now is demanding more than $16 million in royalties.
Last year, website Eurogamer interviewed Sapkowski who gave some insight on the original deal, “I was stupid enough to sell them rights to the whole bunch.” He added, “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.”
So how much did Andrzej Sapkowski get in the agreement? It’s been rumored that the total agreed amount was somewhere around 35000PLN (Polish Zlotych) split into two payments, which would be around $9,500 USD today. He originally stated that he was glad for CD Projekt Red’s success but it seems now he wants more.
According to Sapkowsk’s lawyers, the request for more payment is partially based on the belief that the agreement between the two parties was based on “the first in a series of games.” So anything aside from that wasn’t part of the deal and that “distribution of all other games, including their expansions, add-ons etc., is, simply speaking, unlawful.”
As for CD Projekt Red, they would like to stay on good terms with Andrzej Sapkowski, “Consequently, the Board will go to great lengths to ensure amicable resolution of this dispute; however, any such resolution must be respectful of previously expressed intents of both parties, as well as existing contracts.”
In a way, you can’t honestly blame Andrzej Sapkowski. Yea he is going about it the wrong way, there was a contract established and now he wants to go back and that which is making him look pretty bad. It’s thanks to the video game that the novels are getting more attention seeing at the time the books were only in Polish making it unknown to the rest of the world until the game put it front and center. I mean if it wasn’t for The Witcher games, do you think Netflix would have really been interested in picking up the rights for the show that Andrzej Sapkowski is a creative consultant on?
Here is the announcement from CD Projekt Red.