Andrzej Sapkowski, the original author of The Witcher series of short stories and novels, has officially demanded further compensation from CD Projekt Red, developers of the highly successful Witcher games based on his work.
Via Kotaku, CD Projekt Red released an official report on the matter today, addressing that the company has received an official demand for further payment from Sapkowski, indicating that he expects additional royalties “beyond what had been contractually agreed upon between himself and the Company.”
The contents of the notice were included in CD Projekt Red’s report and indicate that Sapkowski is aiming to receive at least 6 percent of the profits obtained by the developer off his property, saying he’s looking to earn 60 million Polish Zlotys (over $16 million USD) in compensation.
Sapkowski’s party says it is "prepared to settle the matter in an amicable – and more importantly – expeditious and quiet manner.” The notice says Sapkowski’s party is willing to meet with the developer so long as it replies within 14 days, and that the meeting occurs no later than Oct. 19.
CD Projekt Red calls these demands “groundless” saying it had “legitimately and legally acquired copyright to Mr. Andrzej Sapkowski’s work” for use in games developed by the company. Still, the developer noted that it wishes to maintain good relations with authors of works that have inspired its own creations, and that it will put effort in to make sure the dispute is resolved amicably.
The notice claims that the original agreement only counts for the first Witcher game (though CD Projekt Red denies this) and cites Article 44 of Poland’s Act on Copyright and Related Rights, which states "In the event of gross discrepancy between the remuneration of the author and the benefits of the acquirer of the author's economic rights or the licensee, the author may request the court for a due increase of his/her remuneration."
Sapkowski originally agreed to a one-time payment from the developer over royalties based on the game’s profits, even though CD Projekt Red initially offered the later. According to an interview with Eurogamer, Sapkowski declined the offer, saying "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."
For reference, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt sold over six million copies in six weeks and the series as a whole passed 25 million units sold last year.
CD Projekt Red is currently developing Cyberpunk 2077, a video game based off of the 1988 tabletop game Cyberpunk 2020, which IGN had the chance to play with its creator Mike Pondsmith. For more on Cyberpunk 2077, read about how Geralt’s voice actor isn’t a part of the game (yet), take a look at a few of the concerns we have about the game, and check out the developers discussing the first public demo of the Cyberpunk 2077.
Colin Stevens is a freelance writer for IGN, and he’d like $16 million too, please. Follow him on Twitter.