It was revealed in March this year that Polish author Andrjez Spakowski, the mind behind the Witcher saga, took a lump sum payment as opposed to royalties for the rights to the stories. A rumour then appeared a few weeks ago that Head of Metropolis Adrian Chmielarz, creator of The Vanishing of Ethan Carter and Bulletstorm, paid Spakowski 15,000 Polish Zloty ($4,000 US in today’s terms) for the rights.
Of course, Chmielarz’s The Witcher was never released, and over to CD Projekt RED the rights went. However, a fresh rumour has now surfaced, suggesting that it was CD Projekt RED who offered Spakowski a deal for Geralt and his adventures for 35,000 Polish Zloty ($9,500 US).
If this is to be believed, Spakowski would have missed out on a fortune in royalties. It was revealed in CD Pojekt RED’s 2016 financial report that over 25 million copies of The Witcher series have been sold since the first game in 2007. It’s likely, due to the popularity of the third instalment and its expansions, that the number is even higher today.
In terms of the actual money The Witcher 3 brought in, within 1.5 years revenue topped 1.5 billion Polish Zloty…that’s $400 million. There’s no way of ever knowing what percentage Spakowski and CD Projekt RED would have agreed in royalties, and any guess is hypothetical. Hindsight is also a wonderful thing, and there was no knowing how popular the video game franchise would become. Yet there’s little doubt that the amount in royalties would have exceeded the initial $9,500 payment.
How exactly does the author feel about it? In his interview with Eurogamer he said:
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.
Would you have taken the risk? Let us know in the comments section below.