At the Italian Lucca Comics & Games 2019, the original author of the Witcher books Geralt of Rivia uttered the phrase: "I am a master of video games, but I have not played any game." This is a pretty strong statement that made some laugh at him, and others nod their heads and praise their favorite science fiction writer. In both cases, the reaction to these words is exaggerated, since the author did not express his thoughts correctly. Rather, he meant that the master at The Witcher is from CD PR. At least this is how Gamepressure editor Christopher Mysiak, who calls himself Andrzej Sapkowski's biggest fan, interprets his words. We translated his thoughts on who Sapkowski is for the game industry, where he collected the author's brightest comments and analyzed them.
Journey to the Gaming Community
Of course, Sapkowski pissed off the players much earlier. Polcon 2016 can be considered a symbolic beginning of his confrontation with gamers. During the speech, the author uttered a few words with consequences:
“I know several people who have played this game [The Witcher] ... but not many. I prefer to be around smart people. ”
Few people noticed the irony that was put into this joke. At the same festival, he spoke without much enthusiasm about the influence of games on his work:
“Theories began to spread - I don't know who invented them; I suspect they were CD Projekt Red - if not for the video game, I would not have seen a single translation of my work in Western Europe in my entire life. Bullshit. All translations of my work were available much earlier than the video game. All of them. And it was the game that took advantage of my popularity, not the other way around. It's true.
Secondly, the only thing I "owe" to the game is shit, because foreign publishers started using images from the game as book covers. Thus, people did not buy books, thinking that this is nonsense, written specifically based on a video game (...) I had to wage a full-scale war to prove who was the first. So video games have seriously damaged financial affairs. ”
The question of who first gained popularity has been one of the main topics of online discussions, which has sparked massive controversy between gamers and book fans. It's funny that Andrzej Sapkowski has already made similar accusations against video games. Four years earlier, he told a similar story in an interview with the Polish Eurogamer. Except for the fact that he didn't talk about some kind of shit back then.
British Eurogamer decided to take advantage of his visit to London in 2017 and invited him for an interview. There he said:
“It's not that I don't like them or despise them. (...) I just don't play them! But I have nothing against video games or gamers. Nothing like that.
He also revealed some details of his collaboration with the studio in 2002, when it was just beginning.
“I was stupid enough to sell them the rights to all my work. They offered me a percentage of their profits. I said: “No, you won't have any profit at all - give me all my money right now! The whole amount. It was stupid. I was stupid enough to put it in their hands because I didn't believe in their success. But who could have predicted their success? Certainly not me ", - AS
But at the same time, he believes that the game itself is made excellently, and deserves all the awards and accolades it received
Apparently the bewilderment caused by his words on the unfortunate Polcon began to burden Sapkowski. This became apparent in 2018, when the host of the Warsaw Book Fair once again asked the writer about his attitude towards video games. Although he is usually more harsh when dealing with Polish journalists or fans than with people from abroad, this time he gave a less rude (and less emotional) response:
“I wish I could finally be well understood, especially before my opinion on video games gets another shit on the net. A game based on a book can be great, make a splash among the players - as the Witcher did. A literary-based comic may be the number one comic book. A movie with a script based on the book could hit the box office. If so, I'll be the first to rate it and take my hat off.
But nothing will change the fact that this is just an adaptation of literary works in another media, with an emphasis on “other”. All types of defects affect adaptation. You cannot put the book and its adaptation on the same level, compare them, because they are incomparable and incompatible things "
One way or another, Sapkowski failed to restore his reputation among the players. While he was already on the right track to bury the hatchet, the shocking news came in the fall of 2018 that he demanded $ 16 million from Projekt Red in compensation payments. And all this more than ten years after he sold the copyright.
Here is the author's comment on this situation from the same Lucca Comics & Games:
“As far as the conflict with CD Projekt is concerned, everything has grown on a large scale and is already beyond my control. I can only add that at this stage of my career money doesn't mean anything to me anymore, ”Sapkowski said.
Apparently, the mentioned stage of his career began quite recently, right after he was in the spotlight the $ 16 million conflict, or ... was this not the first time the Witcher's father contradicted himself? But let's leave that story behind. Moreover, the sudden lack of interest in money may be due to the personal tragedy of the writer, which happened at the beginning of this year when his only son passed away.
The Witcher on the side of the author
Let's go back to AC's relationship with video games. We already know that he hasn't played them in the past [specifically The Witcher]. But we also heard that he does not deny their quality. Much more was revealed at Fantasy Day 2014:
“I can't say what is good about the game from the point of view of a mechanic, or somehow appreciate the adventure itself, I can't say anything, because I don't know what was in the game. But when it comes to graphics, it's very exciting. Everything looks really nice. ”
You may have already noticed that Sapkowski, no matter what year he talks about this problem, always uses a single form to describe it: a game, not a game. Apparently, he doesn't know anything about [or maybe he forgot] that The Witcher, The Witcher 2 and The Witcher 3 are three different stories. Or [and I'd be willing to bet that it really is] he just doesn't care. And he probably didn't notice the evolution of graphics since 2007, as he said that graphics are breathtaking since the first part was released.
The author's lack of interest in what is happening in Polish game development is well illustrated by another quote from Polcon 2016. This time he spoke about the old version of The Witcher, which was developed by Metropolis studio in the late nineties under the leadership of Adrian Chmilarc: “I have no idea what that project looked like, because I have not seen it. CD Projekt at least honored me and gave me copies of the game, I literally received nothing from Chmilarts, not even the banal “kiss my ass” ... Not to mention the money. ”
Adrian Chmilarts, by the way, immediately responded to the accusations, saying that Sapkowski immediately received a fixed amount of money, also paid in advance. And the fact that the writer did not receive a copy of the game is due to the fact that it was canceled.
At the same time, Sapkovsky himself says that he played games at one time. So, when Atari was born, everyone around him was passionate about games and Andrzej too. However, his hobby lasted only a week and he quit. And since then he never played again.
As you can see from his comments, despite his absolute illiteracy in games, he at least knows that they exist. And he understands their great influence on modern culture. That's not bad for a guy born in 1948, right?
PC vs Meat Grinder
In general, Sapkowski is a more modern person than you might think. He writes books on his computer, finds historical information, both in libraries and in the depths of the Internet. He even appeared in the show, where he gave a great interview to Stanisav Beres, defended the Internet and smashed television:
“Television is a stupid control system, I emphasize: control! It feeds us not only with kitsch and lies, but also with stupidity and incompetence. We are powerless and we cannot change it. On the other hand, the internet is where we rule. We hold the helm and control the vessel, we are the customer and the owner at the same time. We choose what we want, we extract from these large reservoirs of information what we need and what we want. On television, especially in Polish, I have to watch things because I have no other choice. All these productions are made by slanderous graphomaniacs, performances by jesters, exhibitionists, morons and psychopaths.
Or should I be looking at pathetic politicians who gracefully combine all the characteristics I mentioned above? However, on the internet, I have a choice. I admit that the internet is also a dirty dump, but I don't care and I sink into it.
You see “horrible anal sex” on the Internet next to Henrikov's book, and you are stunned, outraged or confused. I skip sex, blogs, graphomaniac texts and websites for the illiterate. And I am looking for old German texts by Walter von der Vogelweide and old Bohemian chronicles of Wavrinets Brzezovsky among all this. Because I can't find them anywhere except the Internet, ”Sapkowski said.
In general, he is sure that any complaint about progress is the whining of an old freak who envies young people and the fact that they have canned peas when they had to take them out with their own hands in their youth.
Despite the fact that he actively uses a PC in his work, and often curses Microsoft, for the Witcher's father, progress itself ends where the earth's atmosphere ends and a vacuum begins. So, he is opposed to space exploration and considers them to be a waste of money. There is nothing in space.
This is also the root of why he never touches Sci-Fi, although he himself says that the genre itself is good and he respects well-known science fiction writers.
Continuation of what Sapkowski really means for the gaming industry, we will tell in the second part of the article.
The Topic of Article: ”I'm a video game master, but haven't played any game.” Who is Andrzej Sapkowski for the gaming industry? Part one.