The world of The Witcher is a filthy and depressing place by design. If you’re not being conquered by foreign armies or robbed by bandits, you’re being haunted by ghosts or eaten by trolls. But, it appears some of that unpleasantness has spilled into the real world, as the author of the original book series has gotten into a bit of a legal spat with CD Projekt RED.
Shortly before CD Projekt RED started producing the first game, the books had received an abysmal live-action adaptation in the form of The Hexer. So, when the company approached author Andrzej Sapkowski for the rights to make the game, he assumed it would bomb like the show and opted for a lump sum instead of a percentage. Now, Sapkowski feels he was shortchanged and is pursuing legal action to get the money he feels he deserves.
Earlier today, CD Projekt RED announced it received an “official demand of payment” by plenipotentiaries (a term usually reserved for ambassadors) who represent Sapkowski. According to the company, the demands are “groundless” since the studio “legitimately and legally acquired copyright to Mr. Andrzej Sapkowski’s work,” but the plenipotentiaries and their demand (which thankfully has been translated into English) claim the original agreement only applies to the first game, not the second and third. Right now, Sapkowski and his plenipotentiaries are seeking the “standard royalty rates” of 5-15% of the profits, which would amount to 60,000,000 Polish Zlotys, or about $16,000,000.
While CD Projekt RED wishes to “maintain good relations” with Mr. Sapkowski and “ensure amicable resolution of this dispute,” it maintains it did nothing wrong. Plus, one must wonder what took Sapkowski so long. After all, the first The Witcher game came out in 2007, which means the game franchise is over a decade old.
We will keep our ears to the ground for further developments in this story.