Home Gaming Witcher author Andrzej Sapkowski has sent a demand for payment for 16 million USD to CD Projekt

Witcher author Andrzej Sapkowski has sent a demand for payment for 16 million USD to CD Projekt

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Andrzej Sapkowski, the author of the beloved Witcher books that become the inspiration for the games and the impending Netflix series famously opted to take a quick cash payment instead of royalties when he gave CD Projekt RED licence to make those games.

He’s also regularly shown disdain for the games, calling them a “free adaptation”

“The game – with all due respect to it, but let’s finally say it openly – is not an ‘alternative version’, nor a sequel. The game is a free adaptation containing elements of my work; an adaptation created by different authors.”

“Adaptations – although they can in a way relate to the story told in the books – can never aspire to the role of a follow-up. They can never add prologues nor prequels, let alone epilogues and sequels.

“Maybe it’s time to set the matters straight,” he went on. “‘The Witcher’ is a well made video game, its success is well deserved and the creators deserve all the splendour and honour due. But in no way can it be considered to be an ‘alternative version’, nor a ‘sequel’ to the witcher Geralt stories. Because this can only be told by Geralt’s creator. A certain Andrzej Sapkowski.”

He did come to regret his mistake there, admitting that selling the video game rights off was stupid.

“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.”

Now, he wants his due. According to CD Projekt RED, Andrzej Sapkowski has lawyered up and wants a settlement of at least 60,000,000.00 PLN – which is just over $16 Million US. Splowski asserts that the payment deal was only for the first game, and that he’s entitled to a cut of the sequels’ profit.

CDPR disagrees, of course.

“The notice indicates that Mr. Andrzej Sapkowski expects payment of additional royalties beyond what had been contractually agreed upon between himself and the Company.”

“In the Company’s opinion the demands expressed in the notice are groundless with regard to their merit as well as the stipulated amount. The Company had legitimately and legally acquired copyright to Mr. Andrzej Sapkowski’s work, i.a. insofar as is required for its use in games developed by the Company. All liabilities payable by the Company in association therewith have been properly discharged.”

CDPR also said that it would like to come to a mutually beneficial agreement and settle things amicably, but that Sapkowski’s demands are egregious.

“It is the Company’s will to maintain good relations with authors of works which have inspired CD PROJEKT RED’s own creations. 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.”

I suspect that Sapkowski’s own words quoted above – where he says he sold rights to the whole bunch – may kill his chances of the grand payment he’s after, but that’ll be up to courts to decide unless some sort of settlement is reached.

Last Updated: October 2, 2018

51 Comments

  1. Caveshen Rajman

    October 2, 2018 at 10:20

    He can fuck off.

    Reply

    • Geoffrey Tim

      October 2, 2018 at 10:21

      Tell us how you really feel.

      Reply

      • Gr8_Balls_o_Fire

        October 2, 2018 at 10:29

        Yea Cav. I’ve never seen such a short comment from you 😀

        Reply

  2. Admiral Chief

    October 2, 2018 at 10:24

    Spyt kom altyd te laat

    Reply

  3. Admiral Chief

    October 2, 2018 at 10:26

    I’m sure if he approached them in a civil manner and asked to be included, the CDPR legends would definitely have included him or worked something out. Now, he seems like a money hungry douche-pumpernickel

    Reply

  4. Gr8_Balls_o_Fire

    October 2, 2018 at 10:28

    Swak bru.

    Even saying that they are absolutely not canon, merely “free adaptations” means that he can’t take credit for the adaptations. Gun pointed at foot and fired.

    Reply

    • Guz

      October 2, 2018 at 10:59

      Yip its just fan fic your honor XD

      Reply

    • Admiral Chief

      October 2, 2018 at 11:13

      Bang

      Reply

  5. Draco Lusus

    October 2, 2018 at 10:29

    I feel bad for him in a way, but if you are not business smart, really shouldn’t make hasty decisions about your life’s work like that. Rather take the gamble for percentage profits, versus a moderate payout up front. “But who could foresee their success? I couldn’t.” Right there…

    Reply

    • For the Emperor!

      October 2, 2018 at 10:32

      I would go “gimme X amount now, and Y% profits later”, balancing the X and Y to mutually agreeable values. Going for either one only is risky business.

      Reply

      • Draco Lusus

        October 2, 2018 at 10:42

        Fair point, but back then with Witcher 1, they were a tiny little dev house. So I rate they “lump sum” he took was more like a dollop of cash if anything. Wouldn’t have made much of a difference. If it was Bethesda or someone like that offering you a lump sum, then yeah, take both.

        Edit: See his payment was $9500, which is around what I would have expected.

        Reply

        • For the Emperor!

          October 2, 2018 at 10:49

          Yeah, and we live in a new world now where games have the potential to really “blow up” and make lots more money than back then. Oh well, “poor” him 🙂

          Edit: $9500 OUCH!

          Reply

          • Draco Lusus

            October 2, 2018 at 10:52

            Very big ouch, LOL

        • Guz

          October 2, 2018 at 10:56

          Is that really all he got? No wonder he’s pissed

          Reply

    • BakedBagel

      October 3, 2018 at 09:14

      This is why you never handle this shit yourself, you hire people to fight for you.

      Any lawyer with a brain could have told him to fight for royalties

      Reply

  6. Hargrim

    October 2, 2018 at 10:29

    Creative genius does not make a man smart

    Reply

  7. HvR

    October 2, 2018 at 10:39

    Would love to see his book sale figures following every game release.

    Reply

    • Original Heretic

      October 2, 2018 at 10:58

      Witcher 1 introduced me to his work and I’ve bought them all because of the games.
      Pretty sure a lot of other people did the same.

      Reply

      • Alien Emperor Trevor

        October 2, 2018 at 11:13

        Exactly. I only read the books because of Witcher 1.

        Reply

      • Matthew Holliday

        October 2, 2018 at 12:58

        Also bought them all because of the games, but only bought them when TW3 came out / was announced or something.

        Reply

    • Matthew Holliday

      October 2, 2018 at 12:58

      translations for the books were super slow, pretty sure before TW3 came out he only had two books translated.
      Translations for the rest came out quite quickly, with the 5th book being translated/released in the past few months.

      So the stats would be slightly biased. But the statistic for his book sales just post TW3 would be interesting to see.

      Reply

      • BakedBagel

        October 3, 2018 at 09:13

        You could probably say with high certainty that one of the only reasons the majority of the books where translated for the Western Market was because of the games.

        Reply

  8. G8crasha

    October 2, 2018 at 10:40

    Good luck Mr. Sapkowski. Chances are CDPR have an army of lawyers. Maybe if CDPR wins the court case, as a sign of goodwill, they can maybe give him something. They’ve always been the poster child for good game development studios, so I would hate to see that image tarnished, even if, legally, they are in the right.

    Reply

    • Guz

      October 2, 2018 at 10:58

      I agree 100% Yes I would say give him some backdated royalties like a few percent of the profits as a sign of goodwill, but on the other hand he seems to be coming at the from the wrong angle very douchey

      Reply

    • Guz

      October 2, 2018 at 10:58

      I agree 100% Yes I would say give him some backdated royalties like a few percent of the profits as a sign of goodwill, but on the other hand he seems to be coming at the from the wrong angle very douchey

      Reply

      • Original Heretic

        October 2, 2018 at 10:59

        Totally wrong attitude. If someone came at me like that, I wouldn’t want to help them at all.

        “Fuck me? NOOOO! Fuck YYOOOOOOUUUUU!”

        Reply

        • Guz

          October 2, 2018 at 11:03

          Fair enough Im not saying the pay him out loads of cash but just a gesture, Just thinking about the optics for the CDPR company brand if they come off looking like a bunch of tools. even if they are in the right

          Reply

          • Original Heretic

            October 2, 2018 at 11:06

            Reading the above and seeing what he’s said, the only one looking like a tool here is him.
            He screwed up. He admits as much.
            Now he wants to hold others responsible for his mistake.

            When CDPR made W1, they also had NO idea it would get as big as it did. They offered him a percentage, he turned it down.

            Nah, as much as I love his work and respect what he’s done, I cannot back him in this at all.

          • Draco Lusus

            October 2, 2018 at 11:16

            Yeah, his attitude to the whole thing from the start was flippant and disdainful. I wouldn’t give him anything either

  9. Original Heretic

    October 2, 2018 at 10:46

    Sorry, Sapkowski, you screwed yourself. Now continue to live with the consequences of your poor decision.

    Reply

    • Charles Bosse

      October 2, 2018 at 16:21

      And really, for the author of some frankly fairly generic fantasy novels, he’s done well by the deal. TW3 wasn’t amazing because of the source material. It was amazing because every little detail felt like it mattered, at least to someone.

      Reply

      • Original Heretic

        October 2, 2018 at 16:23

        Generic? Um, I honestly would not describe his work as such.

        Reply

  10. Gavin Mannion

    October 2, 2018 at 10:46

    as the resident expert of being sued by douche bags, I can’t see how he has a case but the legal system often bites you in the ass.

    The only caveat I can see here is the merchandise sales, IF they didn’t have an agreement with that he could claim 100% of the income from those sales, not even the profit. That will all depend on what the judge views as being videogame sales I guess

    Reply

    • Admiral Chief

      October 2, 2018 at 11:16

      Must you always Spit on the fine comments Section with such Action?

      😛

      Reply

    • Matthew Holliday

      October 2, 2018 at 13:04

      Only solution I see is CDPR being nice and throwing him a bone, to “maintain good relations with the author”
      I dont think even they expected TW3 to do quite this well.

      Although their wording does kinda seem like “we wanna make everyone happy, but bro, you sold what you sold.”

      Reply

    • BradeLunner

      October 3, 2018 at 00:29

      Ahh Gavin, that was such a fascinating time in history. I hope those fkrs are suffering now

      Reply

      • Magoo

        October 3, 2018 at 10:31

        They are not.

        Reply

  11. Ghost In The Rift

    October 2, 2018 at 10:46

    Apparently he is quite a bitter man to work with…Who’s next? Netflix?

    Reply

  12. Kenn Gibson

    October 2, 2018 at 10:47

    He wrote some good novels, is probably making some money out of the Netflix adaptation, but the CD Project Red games especially Witcher 3 are probably biggest regret for him. According to Wikipedia the series as a whole has sold 33million copies. Thats a couple of Randela’s.

    Reply

  13. Guz

    October 2, 2018 at 10:53

    Like when you make a bad decision in an RPG and you regret it later and its too late to load a save game to rethink your options.

    He screwed the pooch, he will just have to live with it

    I think he is just upset about his work becoming so successful and not getting anything meaningful for it, its a pretty bitter pill to swallow

    Reply

    • Matthew Holliday

      October 2, 2018 at 13:07

      The Witcher series is more CDPR than Sapkowski atm, thats gotta suck.

      Reply

  14. Gr8_Balls_o_Fire

    October 2, 2018 at 11:07

    I can bet his wife is making him do this.

    Reply

    • Admiral Chief

      October 2, 2018 at 11:14

      HAHAHA

      Reply

  15. Admiral Chief

    October 2, 2018 at 11:16

    CDPR lawyers came with a really good counter argument:

    “NO U”

    Reply

  16. Lilcactis 312

    October 2, 2018 at 13:52

    Typical behavior of an impatient author. Give me my money right now, then demands more after the success that CDPR made. In my opinion CDPR earned that money. They made the gamble with his content and won, not him. What a whoreson :/

    Reply

  17. Deceased

    October 7, 2018 at 16:19

    “You either die a hero – or live long enough to see yourself become the villain”

    I think that applies here…

    Reply

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