Eurogamer has conducted an interesting interview with the man who penned The Witcher novels, Andrzej Sapkowski, talking at length about his humble beginnings as a travelling salesman, the Witcher video games, and beyond. During the interview, he reveals how he was approached by Adrian Chmielarz (Bulletstorm, The Vanishing of Ethan Carter) among other developers for the games until CD Projekt RED came along with a good proposal and “a big bag of money.” Unfortunately for him, however, he underestimated how well the adaptations were going to perform.
Sapkowski admittedly didn’t care about video games. He left the studio to do whatever it felt best, and as the titles started hitting store shelves and earning critical acclaim, it made CD Projekt RED immensely popular. As a result, some people think Sapkowski is writing novels based on the games, not the other way round. “It was f***ing bad for me,” he said. “It happened. I can remember my reaction: I know many bad words and I used all of them, in many languages.”
He’s evidently worried about people recognizing the games more than his work and name. But there’s another problem: Sapkowski doesn’t get a penny out of the profits that the games make.
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.
Don’t get him wrong, however. Sapkowski holds no grudges. In fact, he feels that the games are “very well” made, “very good,” and “well done.” “They merit all of the beneficiaries they get from it,” he believes.
Interestingly, when people turn up to have copies of Witcher games signed by him, Sapkowski does it.
I do it. Because first of all, when people come to sign, I consider them fans, so if they come and present me the game to sign, I cannot say no to that because it would be very impolite. Stand in a long queue, bring the game, what can I say? ‘Please go away, I will not sign it’? It will be very impolite.
If you’re a fan of The Witcher series, head over to the link below for the full interview. It’s quite an interesting read and also touches upon the 69-year old’s journey from selling his first Witcher novel at age 38 until now.