'The Witcher 3' Success 'Harmed My Books,' Says Franchise Author Andrzej Sapkowski

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
The first round of free The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt content is headed to PS4, Xbox One and PC this week and we've got details on what The Witcher 3 community can expect from the game's first add-ons. Photo: CD Projekt Red

The Witcher 3 is a major success in the games industry with countless game of the year awards to its name, but The Witcher book author Andrzej Sapkowski isn’t too thrilled by its popularity. In a recent interview with Tygodnik POLITYKA, as translated by gbursztynek on Reddit, he voiced some surprising frustrations.

Chief among those was the assertion that “working on its own success, the game, unfortunately, harmed my books.” To Sapkowski specifically, it’s a matter of art appropriation. “Seeing a picture from the game on the cover of my book, many fans assumed that the game was first. And respectable fans of sci-fi and fantasy hold such derivative books in contempt …  I have to keep explaining to the fans that I wrote the book 12 years before the game was made and that the Sandworm is from the game, not the books. You couldn't find a Sandworm in the books even if you tried.”

In the latter instance, Sapkowski is referring to the modern U.S. cover of The Time Of Contempt, which features CD Projekt RED’s vision of Geralt battling a creature that looks like a Sandworm from Dune. The events are not relevant to how they appear in this author’s mind. Rather than be faithful to source material, he further claims that great game writers “write game-related stuff exclusively for money. And surely they write in a sloppy manner, half-heartedly.” In his mind, “one can pass on them.”

Yet, despite Sapkowski frustrations with game art, he didn’t have all bad things to say about The Witcher 3 in specific. “The issues that I have thanks to the games are not at all caused by the game itself,” he clarified. “I am not envious of the game's undeniable success, I'm far from it. … There is but one original Witcher. That one which belongs to me. And nothing will take it away from me.”

In addition to throwing a little flack at game developers, The Witcher creator also had to address some beef he recently threw at gamers in general. At the Polcon sci-fi convention in Poland, Sapkowski  said he didn’t know anyone that had played the games because he “stay[s] among intelligent fellows.” Having sparked a bit of Internet controversy, the backlash was downplayed by its source as an attempt “to cause a storm in a teacup” that’s best explained by “a chronic lack of sense of humor” from those that weren’t there to see everything in context.

The Witcher 3 and associated franchise books are available now.

Should Andrzej Sapkowski be more open to games like The Witcher 3? Does he have a point about art-related confusion? Tell us in the comments section!

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