In a move I'm sure almost nobody saw coming, Andrzej Sapkowski, author of the Witcher novels that inspired the game series, is demanding CD Projekt RED pay him R232 million on top of what has been agreed upon when the company initially acquired the rights to the Witcher universe for their games.
According to CDPR "the demands expressed in the notice are groundless with regard to their merit as well as the stipulated amount. The Company had legitimately and legally acquired copyright to Mr. Andrzej Sapkowski’s work, i.a. insofar as is required for its use in games developed by the Company. All liabilities payable by the Company in association therewith have been properly discharged."
Initially Sapkowski did not want to accept a percentage of CDPR's profits from the games since he did not believe the games would be successful and instead agreed to a lump sum for the rights. However, now that the game(s) have sold countless copies and probably made a nice profit for CDPR, Sapkowski is demanding more money. A lot more. 60 000 000 Polish złoty to be exact, roughly R232 million.
The demand claims that "Careful reading of your contracts concluded with the Author might lead one to conclude that, if the company did effectively acquire any copyright at all, it concerned only the first in a series of games, and therefore distribution of all other games, including their expansions, add-ons etc., is, simply speaking, unlawful..
As a huge fan of both the books and the games this is news saddens me deeply. I respect Sapkowski for the amazing world he has created and the truly memorable characters and creatures he has filled it with, but this is truly a low blow. He was offered a royalty when approached by CDPR years ago, but he did not believe in the games and wanted a lump sum of money on the spot instead. He already got his piece of the pie. Now years after the fact he realises he made a mistake and could have made so much more and now he's demanding that they pay him some crazy amount plucked from the air. That's really unreasonable and a pretty unclassy move on his part.
I have lost respect for Sapkowski. He made a mistake and has to live with it. It's too late to come asking for a hand-out now. The first game was already successful, why wait 3 years after the release of the last major game in the franchise before asking for more money. Am I wrong here or what do you think about this?
At least the creator of Cypberpunk, Mike Pondsmith, is 100% involved in the development of the game and we shouldn't see anything similar happen with that franchise.