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

Jul 25, 2014
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As much as I respect the man as a brilliant creator.... Damn. At least he ended up living to see success with book sales and other deals.

I'm glad he wasn't "another Tolkien".
 

erawsd

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Apr 5, 2012
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Id bet his "saltiness" is less about the money and probably more that there is a huge global audience that only knows the games and considers the Witcher a CDPR creation.
 

Mass_Pincup

Banned
Feb 25, 2014
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hes either salty or delusional that the games blew up the ip
He's totally within his right to view the game in that light when they've been reprinted to feature the in game version of Geralt.

It's like if a sanctioned fanfic became so big that it influenced the appearance of mainline books. Or when editors use a render of Daniel Radcliffe and the others for the books.

I can understand why he wouldn't particularly like it since from what I gathered he didn't had any imput regarding the depictions of its characters. So for them to overtake his vision can be quite upsetting.
 

boskee

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Jan 4, 2013
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You can't sell "all rights" in EU.
Unless Series were explicitly mentioned in the deal, it isn't covered.
He sold the rights to games to CDPR and movie rights to Baginski. Seeing how the Netflix series is called The Witcher CDPR must have signed a deal with Netflix to let them use their registered trademark (as CDPR owns trademark for both games and tv shows)
 

Elixist

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Apr 6, 2010
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He's totally within his right to view the game in that light when they've been reprinted to feature the in game version of Geralt.

It's like with a sanctioned fanfic became so big that it influenced the appearance of mainline books. Or when editors use a render of Daniel Radcliffe and the others for the books.

I can understand why he wouldn't particularly like it since from what I gathered he didn't had any impur regarding the depictions of its characters. So for them to overtake his vision can be quite upsetting.
fair enough. and who really knows in a different timeline if the books would've gotten big on there own.
 

Blade30

Unconfirmed Member
Jan 15, 2014
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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...
Why should it be canon though? He is the creator of the world and it is his baby which the game is based on and continues the story. I love the games and I still have to read the books yet but from what I heard the game did made some changes/adjustments compared to the books, so it's not quite an accurate adaption.
As you said it yourself Andrzej didn't even write for the games or was involved in any way on making the game, so I don't see why it should be canon to him.
 

Charamiwa

Banned
Aug 1, 2016
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How many times will GAF have a thread to call him a salty loser? He doesn't like the games, but people keep asking him about it. That's it really. Some people act like he's always talking about it and coming up with new ways to shit on the games, when really he is just asked the same thing over and over when he's probably promoting other stuff.

Anyway this reminds me of Inside Llewyn Davis, pretty much the same thing happens to him. When you're in need of cash upfront, you take a big risk.
 

ethomaz

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Mar 19, 2013
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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.
The books was a success with even a movie made before the game.

Here in Brazil the 1st book was at the 4th or 5th edition when the game got recognized and they released a game book cover edition... today they release every new book with a normal book cover and the game book cover (there is a movie book cover for the first books too but that one stopped to be made).

I buy the standard cover because it looks better and I start to read them way before the game.
 
D

Deleted member 325805

Unconfirmed Member
Id never heard of Witcher before the game, I'm guessing it boosted book sales a lot.
 

ethomaz

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Mar 19, 2013
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Id never heard of Witcher before the game, I'm guessing it boosted book sales a lot.
It was pretty popular before the game... it received translation for a lot of languages and a movie was made.

That said of course it sold more books with the game because some guys only find the série after the game.
 
Oct 21, 2016
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Well, no one could have foreseen CD Projekt Red turning his IP into a worldwide gaming phenomenon. My take is he didn't believe in his own IP enough to ask for more or at least a percentage of the profits.

Just bought the Complete Edition for PS4, and playing it like a souls game is a blast.
 

Floody

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Dec 4, 2014
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Id bet his "saltiness" is less about the money and probably more that there is a huge global audience that only knows the games and considers the Witcher a CDPR creation.
I think that's pretty clear honestly, I think it was even CDPR's art being used in some western releases of his books that really set him off. He probably doesn't even know just how huge the games became with The Witcher 3, just that they're very popular.
 

ethomaz

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Mar 19, 2013
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Also, I read that Sapkowski doesn't really consider TW games as canon?
Why should he consider canon if the story is way different?

That is my view but the game story didn't touch a finger of the book story but that is fine because it is a game after all with different focus.

But there is no way to recognize it as canon.
 

Blade30

Unconfirmed Member
Jan 15, 2014
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Interesting, I haven't read that interview yet.

When The Witcher 1 came out in 2007, things began to change. Book publishers saw it as a way of reaching a new audience and so republished the series with game-related images and blurbs. It muddied the waters, making the distinction between game and author less clear. Not a problem in Poland, where Sapkowski was a household name, but to English audiences, where he wasn't published until 2008... "It was f***ing bad for me," he says.


As CD Projekt Red's star rose with each game released, the problem worsened. Take a look at the covers of the English books now and see for yourself. You can imagine why someone would mistakenly ask Sapkowski if he was the guy writing books about the games. "It happened," he says. "It happened. I can remember my reaction: I know many bad words and I used all of them, in many languages.
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."
 

Koutsoubas

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Jan 24, 2015
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So he only sold the rights for the 1st game at this price. Seems fair. Game didnt sell that good
 

ethomaz

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Mar 19, 2013
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Interesting, I haven't read that interview yet.
It is pretty interesting these reads.

After the games in Brasil they replubished all books with game covers but they promised to release both covers for the new books... that indeed happened but I had to order my new book with original cover from the own publisher site because every bookstore I visited only had the game cover.

The publishers used the game success to attract more readers.
 

llien

Gold Member
Feb 1, 2017
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He sold the rights to games to CDPR and movie rights to Baginski. Seeing how the Netflix series is called The Witcher CDPR must have signed a deal with Netflix to let them use their registered trademark (as CDPR owns trademark for both games and tv shows)
If he explicitly sold movie rights, then that's it for him.
He might will have a chance when new kind of content comes.

If you make a 1.000$ brand worth 1.000.000.000$ you didn't rob anyone.
Fair enough.
 

Bansai

Member
Oct 16, 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.

Zieliński's comment on Facebook - in Polish
I chuckled when I read here that he was "outraged" because signatories mispelled Geralt, hahaha. That sounds so like him.

If he explicitly sold movie rights, then that's it for him.
He might will have a chance when new kind of content comes.
He's going to be a 'special advisor' for the tv show so I'm guessing he'll be at least getting some salary.
 

ethomaz

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Mar 19, 2013
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BTW about movie it is called The Hexer in US... I found it good for a low budget movie... it was launched in 2001.

Maybe some GAFers wants to give a look ;)
 

JayWood2010

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Sep 16, 2014
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his books are making a lot more now because the popularity of the game. Not a complete loss for him.
 

Blade30

Unconfirmed Member
Jan 15, 2014
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It is pretty interesting these reads.

After the games in Brasil they replubished all books with game covers but they promised to release both covers for the new books... that indeed happened but I had to order my new book with original cover from the own publisher site because every bookstore I visited only had the game cover.

The publishers used the game success to attract more readers.
I can understand the intention, but honestly I'd prefer the books to not have the game covers but their own. They should have had at least used artworks of the game.

Or sth neutral like the german covers.



instead of this



Ironically Sapowski believes the Witcher games are successful due to his books, and not the other way around. He's extremely bitter and delusional about it.


In a sense he is correct and he was already successful before the games came out, he just didn't have a worldwide reach. The books and games helped each other.
 

ethomaz

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Mar 19, 2013
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Ironically Sapowski believes the Witcher games are successful due to his books, and not the other way around. He's extremely bitter and delusional about it.
The game could not exists without his books... while you need to have a good studio making the game it is true that the original story come from the books.

BTW the books was already successful before the game... the game success increases the number of readers from a new market.
 

TatteredHat

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Jun 3, 2013
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The franchise wouldn't be nearly as popular as it is now if it weren't for the video games. He has no place to complain.
 

xuchu

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May 8, 2011
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Didn't they offer him royalties straight up first but he refused since he hates and think video games have no purpose? Probably thought he was winning, at the time, by taking the one off pay check.

To this day, he still asserts that the games have done nothing to raise awareness and increase sales of the books. If anything he thinks it's the other way around. Maybe in Poland but certainly in the rest of world the games are more popular but have resulted in an increase in book sales for him.

He comes as very bitter and ignorant.
 
Apr 1, 2013
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In a sense he is correct and he was already successful before the games came out, he just didn't have a worldwide reach. The books and games helped each other.
The game could not exists without his books... while you need to have a good studio making the game it is true that the original story come from the books.

BTW the books was already successful before the game... the game success increases the number of readers from a new market.
Sure; the games took their setting and lore from the books, but do you guys honestly think that the games aren't responsible for like 90% of the franchise's increased popularity over the last decade or so? I don't even think the books were published outside of a small number of central Eastern Europe countries prior to the games.
 

ethomaz

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Didn't they offer him royalties straight up first but he refused since he hates and think video games have no purpose? Probably thought he was winning, at the time, by taking the one off pay check.

To this day, he still asserts that the games have done nothing to raise awareness and increase sales of the books. If anything he thinks it's the other way around. Maybe in Poland but certainly in the rest of world the games are more popular but have resulted in an increase in book sales for him.

He comes as very bitter and ignorant.
Let's be clear here because looks like there are a lot of misnterpletation...

- Sapkowski acknowledged the popularity of the games increased the book sales (it reached a new market)
- He praised the games for it technical excellence and art style.
- He said he doesn't play games at all... he doesn't like it (games in general) because in his opinion he has better things to do.
- He was sucessful before the games with the market of people that read books... the book has adapted to movie, comics, TV series before the games happened.

Now from what I understandood he is bit about people recognizing him as a game writer instead his book writer... it is something that happens because the new market (gamers readers) are more active across internet than the book readers... so there are a lot of question in interviews about the games instead the books.

I believe he is being fair.
 

Alastor3

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Jun 28, 2012
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Maybe off topic but, i am just curious, are the books really that good? Never read any of the novels.
you have no idea how good they are. Also if you are too lazy to read, there are audiobook with an incredible narrator called Peter Kenny.

Let's be clear here because looks like there are a lot of misnterpletation...

- Sapkowski acknowledged the popularity of the games increased the book sales (it reached a new market)
- He praised the games for it technical excellence and art style.
- He said he doesn't play games at all... he doesn't like it (games in general) because in his opinion he has better things to do.
- He was sucessful before the games with the market of people that read books... the book has adapted to movie, comics, TV series before the games happened.

Now from what I understandood he is bit about people recognizing him as a game writer instead his book writer... it is something that happens because the new market (gamers readers) are more active across internet than the book readers... so there are a lot of question in interviews about the games instead the books.

I believe he is being fair.
You are completely right.
 

xuchu

Member
May 8, 2011
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475
Let's be clear here because looks like there are a lot of misnterpletation...

- Sapkowski acknowledged the popularity of the games increased the book sales (it reached a new market)
- He praised the games for it technical excellence and art style.
- He said he doesn't play games at all... he doesn't like it (games in general) because in his opinion he has better things to do.
- He was sucessful before the games with the market of people that read books... the book has adapted to movie, comics, TV series before the games happened.

Now from what I understandood he is bit about people recognizing him as a game writer instead his book writer... it is something that happens because the new market (gamers readers) are more active across internet than the book readers... so there are a lot of question in interviews about the games instead the books.

I believe he is being fair.
https://waypoint.vice.com/en_us/article/a-no-bullshit-conversation-with-the-authors-behind-the-witcher-and-metro-2033

This waypoint interview contradicts some of your points but maybe he has changed his tune now about the popularity of the games. I have read and loved most of the books before ever touching the games but I'm not a fan of his personal viewpoints.
 

Nipo

Member
Oct 7, 2013
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Let's be clear here because looks like there are a lot of misnterpletation...

- Sapkowski acknowledged the popularity of the games increased the book sales (it reached a new market)
- He praised the games for it technical excellence and art style.
- He said he doesn't play games at all... he doesn't like it (games in general) because in his opinion he has better things to do.
- He was sucessful before the games with the market of people that read books... the book has adapted to movie, comics, TV series before the games happened.

Now from what I understandood he is bit about people recognizing him as a game writer instead his book writer... it is something that happens because the new market (gamers readers) are more active across internet than the book readers... so there are a lot of question in interviews about the games instead the books.

I believe he is being fair.
Were his books translated into English before or after the game's popularity?
 

Alastor3

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Jun 28, 2012
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Were his books translated into English before or after the game's popularity?
After, I think the first english book came out when the first game it the shelves and the fourth book of the saga (5 books in total) came out the day the last expansion for Witcher 3 came out.
 

billmcdougal

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Sep 3, 2010
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you have no idea how good they are. Also if you are too lazy to read, there are audiobook with an incredible narrator called Peter Kenny.
Woah, there's audiobooks?
I may need to re-"read" these soon.
Not sure my fiance could handle geralt read by someone other than Doug Cockle though.
 

jett

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Jun 6, 2004
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It's unfortunate how little foresight this man had. Whether he's an asshole or not, CDPR built their success on his works. He definitely deserves more than 9.5k for his "troubles."
 

Alastor3

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Jun 28, 2012
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Woah, there's audiobooks?
I may need to re-"read" these soon.
Not sure my fiance could handle geralt read by someone other than Doug Cockle though.
Geralt by Peter Kenny is really really good! I also like his version of Yennefer also.
 

MrS

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Apr 6, 2014
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Sapkowski finds himself in a situation not dissimilar from the events described in the song Sk8r Boi by Avril Lavigne.

Sucks for him but hopefully he will make bank with the Netflix programme and hopefully a new Witcher film.
 

CrichtonKicks

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Nov 6, 2004
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Were his books translated into English before or after the game's popularity?
The first book (short story collection "The Last Wish") was published in the UK in 2007 and IIRC pre-dated the release of the game by a few months. It was released in the US in 2008.

They skipped the next short story collection and instead published the first novel "Blood of Elves" in the UK in 2008 and the US in 2009.

At that point the series didn't see another release until 2013. I don't know if the delay was due to translation issues (they switched translators IIRC) or low sales of the first two releases but I don't think it's coincidence that the english translations didn't truly gain steam and start getting regular releases until the lead up to The Witcher 3.

It is my personal opinion that without the game series there is a very real possibility that the series would never have seen a complete english translation.
 

Randy Monk

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Sep 3, 2011
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A lot of Captain Hindsights here

When the Witcher 1 came out, it was a new IP and significant risk to the developers. I remember playing the extended version on PC that came with a map, guide and soundtrack. The game was a bit janky and had a memorable Euro feel to it, loved the sex cards you get when Geralt beds one of the fairer sex.

I don't think it sold that many at first but they ploughed the profits back into the sequel and here we are today.

I know several gamers including myself who have bought the novels and graphic novels. The author has done well all things considered and should be proud that his stories and characters are so revered in gaming.
 

s_mirage

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Jan 2, 2012
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I can understand why he wouldn't particularly like it since from what I gathered he didn't had any imput regarding the depictions of its characters. So for them to overtake his vision can be quite upsetting.
Wasn't it his own choice to have no involvement? If he was so concerned he should have had a veto clause put in the contract. I dare say that he could have had involvement in the writing of the games, and/or he could have made royalties off them, but instead saw them as a lesser artform that he could use to make a quick buck.

I can't feel sorry for Sapkowski; he made a calculated but short-sighted choice that bit him in the ass years down the line.