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Andrzej Sapkowski sold the rights to CDPR's Witcher 1 for $9500

boskee

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Jan 4, 2013
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Few weeks ago, a rumour apparead on the Internet, which claimed, that Andrzej Sapkowski received just $4000 for the license to the never released Witcher game by Metropolis Software. This claim has since been denied by Adrian Chmielarz, CEO of the defunct studio.

However, in the comments section of his Facebook post, Sebastian Zieliński, former (original) head of CDPR stated, that the amount paid for the license to The Witcher 1 was 35000PLN paid in two instalments - 15000PLN and 20000PLN. This translates to around $9500 in today's money.

Zieliński kept a copy of the first draft of the contract, which was rejected by Sapkowski, because CDPR misspelled Geralt's name as Gerald.

Zieliński's comment on Facebook - in Polish

Polish article about it
 
Jun 25, 2016
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I don't think the low price is that notable, since the games they created with the license is what gave the Witcher brand its worldwide recognition.
 

Outrun

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Oct 7, 2014
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No one put a gun to his head.

Both parties are winners because the author got cash that he needed at the time, and the dev got rights to an IP that has served them well.
 

MadChapelier

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Dec 9, 2016
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Zieliński kept a copy of the first draft of the contract, which was rejected by Sapkowski, because CDPR misspelled Geralt's name as Gerald.
Dunno why but I think it's a bit funny.

Also, I read that Sapkowski doesn't really consider TW games as canon?

I can understand that since he didn't write them, but thankfully (to me and it seems, a lot of people) the games are good.

It would be nice to see him write a Witcher game but I doubt it ever happens, sadly...
 

Alienous

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Jan 20, 2013
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Few weeks ago, a rumour apparead on the Internet, which claimed, that Andrzej Sapkowski received just $4000 for the license to the never released Witcher game by Metropolis Software. This claim has since been denied by Adrian Chmielarz, CEO of the defunct studio.

However, in the comments section of his Facebook post, Sebastian Zieliński, former (original) head of CDPR stated, that the amount paid for the license to The Witcher 1 was 35000PLN paid in two instalments - 15000PLN and 20000PLN. This translates to around $9500 in today's money.

Zieliński kept a copy of the first draft of the contract, which was rejected by Sapkowski, because CDPR misspelled Geralt's name as Gerald.


Zieliński's comment on Facebook - in Polish

Polish article about it
Man, this was entrapment.

How could Sapkowski have expected CDPR to know what they were doing after seeing that?
 

Oynox

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Jul 10, 2013
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He shouldn't have sold the rights as a one time off payment... but yeah, I guess at that time it was great for both parties.
 

KyleCross

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Apr 3, 2014
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Whenever these topics come up there's usually someone going "He has every right to be pissed. CDPR should give him royalties." I just wanna get in front of those and say; Dude was an ass who had no faith in video games and demanded his money now and for the developers to piss off. He made his bed, he should sleep in it without bitching.
 

artsi

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Apr 7, 2014
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Contract is a contract, why accept the money if it was too small amount? And if he didn't sell it to CDPR who knows if Witcher would be as popular as it is now?

He might make a fortune from the IP he still owns thanks to the "investment" he made by selling the game rights for cheap.
 

wrowa

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The license is specifically for Witcher 1? It'd be interesting to know then what they paid him afterwards when they presumably negotiated for an unlimited license.
 

KAOz

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Mar 30, 2009
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Man, this was entrapment.

How could Sapkowski have expected CDPR to know what they were doing after seeing that?
If I remember correctly, they also offered percentage on top of that. Which he declined outright.
 

Alienous

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Jan 20, 2013
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Rocksteady: "Hey, this is Rocksteady Games, we would like to make a game about Butman. We will pay you pennies."

DC: *sigh* "Ok Rocksteady. Have fun, and good luck" - (God bless them, they won't make it a week).
 

Floody

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Dec 4, 2014
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We don't know that, do we? He sold rights to Baginski few years ago.
I'm pretty sure he's working with them on the show, so either way is likely getting paid well.
He was part of the announcement, so is at least directly involved with it at some level.
 

Isurus

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Mar 24, 2007
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I don't see any issue here. He signed a contract that, at the time, he apparently felt was adequate in terms of fair market value for what he was selling / giving up.

All I see is a situation where a guy had an asset that, at the time, wasn't worth much. So, he sold it for a nominal amount to another group of individuals who turned it into something. He isn't owed a damn thing, so hopefully that isn't being insinuated.
 

Spukc

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Jan 24, 2015
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Contract is a contract, why accept the money if it was too small amount? And if he didn't sell it to CDPR who knows if Witcher would be as popular as it is now?

He might make a fortune from the IP he still owns thanks to the "investment" he made by selling the game rights for cheap.
Yeah he only wrote some boring ass books
Cdpr made witcher what it is today.

A great story/world with shitty combat
 

hamchan

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Though he's sold exponentially more books than he did before thanks to the games, so it's probably still worth it for him, even if he doesn't want to admit it.
 

zonezeus

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Let's be fair - who would have thought back then that some small, no name studio from Warsaw will someday be an industry giant?
 

wrowa

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Yeah he only wrote some boring ass books
Cdpr made witcher what it is today.

A great story/world with shitty combat
CDPR sure as hell is responsible for Witcher being what it is today: which is, a series more than a handful of people outside of Poland know.

It's easy to act as if CDPR screwed him over (disregarding that he didn't want royalties and that Witcher simply wasn't a very valuable IP yet when the deal got made), but he indirectly benefitted a lot from the games. From a surge in book sales to the Netflix show, this stuff wouldn't have happened if it weren't for the games making the series popular.
 

KillLaCam

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Man, this was entrapment.

How could Sapkowski have expected CDPR to know what they were doing after seeing that?
I mean even if I expected it to fail I would have still told them to give me 1% of series sales with the $9k. Just because you never know what will happen
 

zkorejo

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Apr 6, 2014
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They had an agreement. Andrzej Sapkowski AGREED to sell the rights to CDPR. He can pe pissed all he wants but we all know he is pissed at himself.

I am happy for him about the netflix show. But you cant go on hating on the games/cdpr because YOU made a wrong choice.
 

Nameless

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Though he's sold exponentially more books than he did before thanks to the games, so it's probably still worth it for him, even if he doesn't want to admit it.
That's now he see's it. From Waypoint:

"The belief, widely spread by CDPR, that the games made me popular outside of Poland is completely false. I made the games popular. All of my translations in the West—including the English one—were published before the first game."
and then there's this little gem which makes it easy to see why he didn't put much stock in a lowly videogame:

"A video game serves a different purpose," Sapkowski tells me. "It works differently. How much substance can there be in the lines of text when the hero walks through the woods and talks to a squirrel? Where's the literature in that? Where's the room for depth or sophisticated language with which games could elevate culture? There's none."
 

Floody

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Let's be fair - who would have thought back then that some small, no name studio from Warsaw will someday be an industry giant?
I don't think anyone can really blame him for taking the deal, hell he was right to the first time, but can't really blame people for finding it funny he got so little, after all the shit he spews about the games either.
 

CaviarMeths

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Yeah not really seeing how CDPR are the bad guys here. Not only did they turn Witcher into a globally popular brand, but Sapkowski is now reaping those benefits in the form of greatly increased book sales and a Netflix deal. He's just mad at himself for not opting for royalties 20 years ago.
 

Wagram

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Sad thing is they actually offered him more, but he wanted a lump sum payment.

Idiot.
 

Kain

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He's just salty over the fact that he chose poorly by not demanding royalties, nothing more. He has nothing against games and he doesn't resent CDPR, it was just a bad choice on his part and he's somewhat pissed. He's a cool guy, there was an interview on Eurogamer where even the interviewer was surprised that he wasn't a grumpy douche like some think.
 

Mass_Pincup

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Why do people keep repeating that he's salty? He don't even care about the added sales the games brought to the franchise.

He's just an old man who see no depth to storytelling in games, I don't see why that makes him salty.
 

Mivey

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If I remember correctly, they also offered percentage on top of that. Which he declined outright.
For moral reasons? I mean at that point someone is offering you free money for life, even it if it is total peanuts. No obligations on your part. Weird dude. Didn't he study also economics or something?
 

DemWalls

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Well, of course now that seems a paltry amount, but that's still a decent sum of money in Poland, and even more so at the time. Add to that Sapkowski's skepticism towards videogames, and how it had gone with the previous attempt at making a Witcher game, and I can kinda understand his choice.

Doesn't change the fact that it was rather unwise of him.
 

Elixist

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Why do people keep repeating that he's salty? He don't even care about the added sales the games brought to the franchise.

He's just an old man who see no depth to storytelling in games, I don't see why that makes him salty.
hes either salty or delusional that the games blew up the ip
 

TheExorzist

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Damn, i'd be pissed too lol
Why should he be pissed? Who knows how much money Sapkowski made because gamers bought his books after playing the game. I sure bought and read all 7 books because of the games.
 

Bigby

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Well, of course now that seems a paltry amount, but that's still a decent sum of money in Poland, and even more so at the time. Add to that Sapkowski's skepticism towards videogames, and how it had gone with the previous attempt at making a Witcher game, and I can kinda understand his choice.

That doesn't change the fact that he was rather unwise of him.
Great way to put it. GAF has some weird hate for this guy.

I love the guy, I hope he writes another novel about Geralt (making games non-canon - the salt here would be amazing), hopefully similar to Baptism of Fire, that one shits on everything CDPR came up with.
 

Perona

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"He doesn't begrudge CD Projekt Red's accomplishments all the same. In many ways he couldn't have asked for a better studio. Credit where credit is due. "The game is made very well," he says, "and they merit all of the beneficiaries they get from it. They merit it. The game is very good, well done, well done.""

"In many ways he lives up to his reputation then, but in other ways he surprises me too. Contrary to popular belief he claims actually not to hate video games at all. "It is not that I don't like them, that I despise them," he says. Hang on, didn't you just call games "stupid"? "I just don't play them! But I have nothing against games, I have nothing against gamers. Nothing.""

" Many of his comments look so harsh on paper because they're divorced from the way in which he delivers them, with a kind of naughty theatricality; a contrarian courting controversy, if you like. There are even moments where, dare I say it, he borders on friendly."

from this eurogamer article: http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2017-03-24-meeting-andrzej-sapkowski-the-writer-who-created-the-witcher
 

zonezeus

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I don't think anyone can really blame him for taking the deal, hell he was right to the first time, but can't really blame people for finding it funny he got so little, after all the shit he spews about the games either.
Well, true. Plus his saltiness is embarrassing.

Back then CD Projekt was a large Polish game distributor. They're well known in Poland, where they were the market leader as well as in CEE.
I made a pretty nice bank on their shares but really, even I had my doubts they are going to take off. Sapkowski and his generation had no clue.