The Witcher series collectively are some of the greatest RPGs of the last few years – perhaps even of all time. The Witcher 3 especially has racked up tons of sales and tons of awards. The most recent title catapulted CD Projekt RED to fame and riches, but unfortunately the author of the book series that the games are based on was left behind.
It’s important to emphasize that this situation isn’t a fault on CD Projekt Red’s part. Rather, it was a short-sighted and pessimistic view of the studio’s potential by Andrzej Sapkowski that led to a monumental error in judgement. In an interview today with Eurogamer, Sapowski, the author of the Witcher series, spoke on the payment structure that isn’t really working in his favor:
“I was stupid enough to sell them rights to the whole bunch. 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.”
Frankly, it’s hard for me to feel bad for Sapkowski. Sure, his situation is unforunate, but other media outlets and commenters around the web are making CD Projekt Red out to be the bad guy. The author chose a short term payout over a long term reward, and the consequences lie solely on his shoulders.
The Witcher video game series has had such a meteoric rise that many times fans think that the book saga is based on the games, a sore spot for Sapkowski. If you happen to run into the disappointed author you might be best to avoid mentioning the video games – they’re only filled with bad memories and daydreams about the riches he left behind.