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

Mr. Phellps

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Apr 29, 2016
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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."
The games are their work, though. Even the story is their own, although based on the world he created.
He was the one who ultimately decided how much he deserved. He thought 9.5k was enough. He never wanted royalties. These deals are never either pay upfront or royalties, he could've demanded a lower amount upfront plus royalties, but he was greedy.
He deserves nothing more than what they agreed on.
 

Inviusx

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Jan 4, 2016
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To be fair, the Witcher wasn't a world wide phenmenon until 3. Witcher 1 and 2 were awesome but still flew under the radar for most people.
 

KonradLaw

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Aug 2, 2015
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I loved one comment on the net to this news:
"Sapkowski won't make the same mistake with Netflix. This time he will secure percent from all the add revenue for Witcher tv series"
:D
 
Aug 18, 2016
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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?
They were not even developers back then. They were just distributors (GOG).

But then there's this:

"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."
He has Rogert Ebert syndrome. I don't feel sorry for him.
 

Blade30

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Jan 15, 2014
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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.
Yes. He said he has no interest whatsoever in videogames.

The games are their work, though. Even the story is their own, although based on the world he created.
He was the one who ultimately decided how much he deserved. He thought 9.5k was enough. He never wanted royalties. These deals are never either pay upfront or royalties, he could've demanded a lower amount upfront plus royalties, but he was greedy.
He deserves nothing more than what they agreed on.
Of course it's his fault, but he also thought it wouldn't be that successful which to be fair wasn't until after the enhanced edition of the first game which gradually grew and expanded on consoles with the second and last game. Look at Metropolis who first approached him and tried making a game of it but ultimately it was scrapped.
 

WaterAstro

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Oct 27, 2015
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I wonder if CDPR gave him anything at all afterwards? They have no legal obligation, but it would be nice.
 

Kumquat

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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.
Story is that CDPR approached him with a percentage deal but he declined it and demanded an upfront payment because he thought it would fail.

Now he's bitter about doing it that way and hating on the games.
 

ethomaz

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Were his books translated into English before or after the game's popularity?
The first translated book to English happened some months before the game release.

Story is that CDPR approached him with a percentage deal but he declined it and demanded an upfront payment because he thought it would fail.

Now he's bitter about doing it that way and hating on the games.
He does not hate the game... neither hate CDPR for the deal they did.

He is bitter about people asking or referencing him about the game and not the book.

When he said he didn't get any penny from the games sold was to say that he has no involvement in the games.

The guys that did the interviews with him says that the translated interview looks harsh or bitter but when he is talking it is pretty light and fun.
 

Marcel

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Feb 16, 2012
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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."
People who you do business with are not your friends. He isn't owed anything.
 

Palmer_v1

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Jan 15, 2010
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Eh, I'm sure his books have sold a lot better thanks to the Witcher games, so it's not like he didn't benefit in the long run as well.
 

Bahorel

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Jun 23, 2016
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I'm almost done with the first book and I'm really enjoying it. (I'm doing the audio version from audible) I'm a little shocked how fun it is, it feels just like the game. I thought it would be more serious business like Game of Thrones but it's not dense and I am really glad I decided to start the series.
 

Mivey

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Oct 28, 2014
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You can do a lot with that much money. Well, I could anyway.
9500$ isn't exactly a great fortune. Even in Poland that would probably not even be enough to pay for a mortage (just as an example) or just barely. ( I guess it would depend on the state of the house, but you get my point. )
 

Zizbuka

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But trickle down economics..... I bought the Witcher books after playing the game, so he got that money too.
 

hamchan

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Jan 4, 2009
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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."
Don't worry, he'll be making more than 9.5k thanks to the increased exposure the Witcher now has thanks to CDPR's games.
 

Mass_Pincup

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Feb 25, 2014
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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.
You're right, gaming isn't something worthwhile for him and he doesn't what anything to do with them.

What's the problem here is that the game got so popular that they're taking over books with new edition featuring CDPR's Geralt render and him being manly interviewed regarding the game these days.
 

Raven77

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Jul 4, 2012
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Wait do I have this right? The original writer is mad that he sold his rights to the character he created and books back when they were not extremely popular outside of his country / Europe. And is mad that CDPR spent tens of thousands of hours and millions of dollars developing several AAA games out of his work, thus increasing the value of his characters and stories exponentially more than they would have been if he had never sold the rights to them?

Or is he mad that they don't represent his writings and characters much?
 

Mass_Pincup

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Feb 25, 2014
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Wait do I have this right? The original writer is mad that he sold his rights to the character he created and books back when they were not extremely popular outside of his country / Europe. And is mad that CDPR spent tens of thousands of hours and millions of dollars developing several AAA games out of his work, thus increasing the value of his characters and stories exponentially more than they would have been if he had never sold the rights to them?

Or is he mad that they don't represent his writings and characters much?
The latter.
 

WastedDeer

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Nov 16, 2013
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Wait do I have this right? The original writer is mad that he sold his rights to the character he created and books back when they were not extremely popular outside of his country / Europe. And is mad that CDPR spent tens of thousands of hours and millions of dollars developing several AAA games out of his work, thus increasing the value of his characters and stories exponentially more than they would have been if he had never sold the rights to them?

Or is he mad that they don't represent his writings and characters much?
You are wrong about both. He is annoyed that he gets asked about the games all the time instead of the books.
 

jett

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Jun 6, 2004
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The games are their work, though. Even the story is their own, although based on the world he created.
He was the one who ultimately decided how much he deserved. He thought 9.5k was enough. He never wanted royalties. These deals are never either pay upfront or royalties, he could've demanded a lower amount upfront plus royalties, but he was greedy.
He deserves nothing more than what they agreed on.
It's absolutely his fault, never said otherwise. It's such a paltry sum though.

People who you do business with are not your friends. He isn't owed anything.
Guess not.

Don't worry, he'll be making more than 9.5k thanks to the increased exposure the Witcher now has thanks to CDPR's games.
No doubt. That's the silver lining for the guy.
 

MartyStu

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Feb 16, 2012
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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.
The games are already effectively 'non-canon.'
 

WastedDeer

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Nov 16, 2013
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Well then why does the matter of how much he got paid for the licensing seem to always be the main point of the article title?
Everyone assumes he's bitter about the money he received relative to the success of the games. But he seems to admire what CDPR did with the games up to a point. The main issue is because they are popular he is asked about them over the books.
 

ethomaz

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Well then why does the matter of how much he got paid for the licensing seem to always be the main point of the article title?
I guess it was because when he was asked about the game he replied saying he didn't get money from the games sold in a way he has no involvement with the games.

So people started to say he was mad about money.
 

CrichtonKicks

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Everyone assumes he's bitter about the money he received relative to the success of the games. But he seems to admire what CDPR did with the games up to a point. The main issue is because they are popular he is asked about them over the books.
I just don't see how this is different than any other author who has had a movie or TV adaption explode in popularity compared to the book(s) it was based on. This is a very common occurrence.
 

Raven77

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Everyone assumes he's bitter about the money he received relative to the success of the games. But he seems to admire what CDPR did with the games up to a point. The main issue is because they are popular he is asked about them over the books.
Gotcha, yeah it just makes no sense, the main point always seems to be about the "low" amount of money he got paid but the actual info in the articles seems to be about the game overshadowing the books, etc. which he would obviously rather talk about since he created them.
 

A.Romero

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I think being displeased because now people think of him as a game writer first... I don't think he should care.

He is popular in his home country and most likely he would be less popular without the games.

I haven't read the books but I doubt for example G.R.R. Martin minds SOIAF is better known because of GoT and HBO. In fact, I'm pretty sure he is happy about all the money he is making.
 
Apr 1, 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.
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.
Yeah, I don't buy it. Sapkowski sounds full of bitterness to me, and he literally outright lies about all the books being available in English before the first game came out:

"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 the issue of decorating Sapkowski's books with graphics from the game.

"[The publishers] are aware that the people who started their Witcher journey with the games might buy the book. Might, because it's not that obvious that the gamers will read the book, or the readers will play the games. It happens, of course. I'm not denying that the game in some capacity might have boosted my sales." (Which we've an example of, here.)

But Sapkowski is on record as claiming that for every reader he gained thanks to the success of the games, he lost another. Does he still believe that?

"I think the result would be about equal, yes. If anything, there are more people who have played the games because they read the books. That's my count, but I'm not sure. I never did any studies."
I did like this quote from fellow author of Metro 2033 though:

Metro 2033 Redux and Metro: Last Light Redux screenshots courtesy of 4A Games/Deep Silver.

"I think that he's totally wrong, and that he's an arrogant motherfucker," says Dmitry Glukhovsky from his Moscow flat, in response to Sapkowski's claim.
 

sueil

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Jun 7, 2012
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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).
Warner Brothers own's DC Comics.
 

fargofallout

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Jun 6, 2012
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Considering the quality of the games, I bet they would have done ok without the license, but at that price, I suppose it makes a lot of sense to get whatever recognition you can.

Also, while the price seems low in hindsight, I bet the games being as successful as they are has sold quite a few more copies of the books than would have otherwise happened.
 

Mass_Pincup

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Feb 25, 2014
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Yeah, I don't buy it. Sapkowski sounds full of bitterness to me, and he literally outright lies about all the books being available in English before the first game came out:
He's technically right, the first book was published June 7th 2007 in the UK while the game was released in October of the same year.

I doubt the game had much impact if at all on the release of the English version.
 

RustyNails

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Yeah, I don't buy it. Sapkowski sounds full of bitterness to me, and he literally outright lies about all the books being available in English before the first game came out:



I did like this quote from fellow author of Metro 2033 though:
That quote from Sap has so much salt. What a small man.
 

funkystudent

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Apr 3, 2010
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As others have said. No wonder he is so salty.


I hope the Netflix thing works out well for him and he finally gets his solid gold house or whatever
 

CrichtonKicks

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He's technically right, the first book was published June 7th 2007 in the UK while the game was released in October of the same year.

I doubt the game had much impact if at all on the release of the English version.
There is a difference between one book being released and all of them. The UK release of Blood of Elves didn't make many waves and it wasn't guaranteed we would get the follow-ups. I would guess they skipped Sword of Destiny initially because the sales of a short-story anthology were seen as lackluster and they hoped that publishing the first novel would boost sales a bit.

But we didn't see another book translated for 4 years after that.

Couple of other items:

The original Orbit (UK) release stated on the back "The International Hit that Inspired the video game The Witcher" so I wouldn't be too sure that the game didn't play a role.

-The Last Wish actually became a New York Times Bestseller....in June 2015, less than a month after The Witcher 3's release. That, all by itself, disproves what Sapkowski states.
 

DemWalls

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He's technically right, the first book was published June 7th 2007 in the UK while the game was released in October of the same year.

I doubt the game had much impact if at all on the release of the English version.
But he said all the books were available in English, which is indeed a lie.

I think the English translation continued almost exclusively thanks to the games' success, otherwise I can't see why they waited so many years before publishing the sequel to Blood of Elves.
 

ethomaz

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But he said all the books were available in English, which is indeed a lie.

I think the English translation continued almost exclusively thanks to the games' success, otherwise I can't see why they waited so many years before publishing the sequel to Blood of Elves.
He says "all of my translations in the west"... that not include all books but only the translated in the west in 2007 lol