Witcher Writer Doesn't Feel Like a Co-Author of the Game

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Witcher Writer Doesn't Feel Like a Co-Author of the Game

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Andrzej Sapkowski, writer of The Witcher series, admires the adaptation but isn't a video game fan.

Andrzej Sapkowski isn't what anyone would call a gamer; Polish fantasy author Sapkowski has read a few gaming magazines, but that's about it. His Witcher series has done very well for gaming studio CD Projekt Red, but Sapkowski says he doesn't even feel like a co-author of the game. While Sapkowski admires the games and thinks their success is well deserved, he doesn't consider them sequels or alternative versions of the Geralt tales; just adaptations containing elements of his work.

"The visual effect [of a game] will be stunning," Sapkowski says, "the players delighted - some might even consider it to be better and easier digestible than the original book .... Some will never even reach for the original book; as for them, the game will be enough." But Sapkowski believes the book - the original, in other words - takes precedence over what is, ultimately, a copy. "Without the book the adaptation would not exist at all," Sapkowski says.

It's probably not a good idea to ask him to create tie-in content for the Witcher games. "To me as a writer," Sapkowski says, "the idea to write 'adjuvant content' and create something 'complementary' to a game or a comic is an absolute pinnacle of idiocy."

CD Projekt Red studio head Adam Badowski acknowledged the distinct difference between Sapkowski's books and the game adaptations, agreeing that there was no way the fantasy author would look to a video game for writing inspiration.

"We have Mr. Sapkowsk's blessing and what we create is in line with his vision of the world," said Badowski, "no matter how the saga will evolve ... We just have to carefully and diligently do our thing."

Source: Eurogamer

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Andrzej Sapkowski's response to the adaptation is respectable. He didn't whine about it like Alan Moore does every damn time. Yeah the From Hell and League of Extraordinary Gentlemen movies sucked, but The Watchmen was decent(just way overhyped) and V for Vendetta was awesome.

Glad to see the Witcher's author isn't the usual stick in the mud.

AzrealMaximillion:
Andrzej Sapkowski's response to the adaptation is respectable. He didn't whine about it like Alan Moore does every damn time. Yeah the From Hell and League of Extraordinary Gentlemen movies sucked, but The Watchmen was decent(just way overhyped) and V for Vendetta was awesome.

Have you read the original V For Vendetta? The Wachowski Brothers gutted pretty much everything that was good about it in order to make a heavy handed allegory about the Bush Administration. I'm of the opinion Alan Moore can moan as much as he likes. With the exception of Watchmen (and even then...) Hollywood has repeatedly taken his works and raped them in a ditch.

OT: Well, that's a very even handed response. The man deserves respect for not being a gamer, but allowing the games to be their own thing. I personally think it's excellent that both works, the books and the games, exist as their own semi-independent thing. It means each can go with whatever works best for their respective medium without ruining or cheapening the other.

The game actually made me read the books. And they are awesome (well 1-6 are on an ok level as far as fantasy goes, but nr.7 makes them all awesome).

We need more people with this type of attitude.
You do your thing I'll do my thing.

Kind of sounds like Adam Moore after the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen movie. He's got every right to feel that way, though I do disagree with him.

It's like comparing silver with steel.

It's too bad they each have different visions of their stories in the Witcher universe, as it actually would have been kind of neat to say that the original author actually got on board and wrote the third game in the series or something. But regardless, they each handled the criticism well and that's hard enough to ask for in the gaming industry, so good on them.

j-e-f-f-e-r-s:

Have you read the original V For Vendetta? The Wachowski Brothers gutted pretty much everything that was good about it in order to make a heavy handed allegory about the Bush Administration. I'm of the opinion Alan Moore can moan as much as he likes. With the exception of Watchmen (and even then...) Hollywood has repeatedly taken his works and raped them in a ditch.

I have read the original. V for Vendetta was still a good movie regardless, and it defiantly was NOT an allegory for the Bush Administration. Have V for Vendetta's book not existed, the movies would still be called a good movie. Same can't be said for From Hell or League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.

Hollywood has made 4 movies based off of Moore's works. 2 of them sucked, two of them can be called good. Moore complained about Watchmen even with Peter Gibbons (the guy who drew the book) serving as art adviser, before the movie even came out.

Point is in my opinion Alan Moore will complain any time Hollywood makes a movie of his works whether the movie is good or not. At least Neil Gaiman was smart and acquired the rights to any Sandman media just in case he didn't like what would be done with it.

It's probably not a good idea to ask him to create tie-in content for the Witcher games. "To me as a writer," Sapkowski says, "the idea to write 'adjuvant content' and create something 'complementary' to a game or a comic is an absolute pinnacle of idiocy."

I could be misinterpreting this as it could be a legitimate shot at supplementary stuff written for games like Asunder for Dragon Age, which I guess is a valid opinion, but does anyone else seem kind of insulted by that line?

Moosejaw:

It's probably not a good idea to ask him to create tie-in content for the Witcher games. "To me as a writer," Sapkowski says, "the idea to write 'adjuvant content' and create something 'complementary' to a game or a comic is an absolute pinnacle of idiocy."

I could be misinterpreting this as it could be a legitimate shot at supplementary stuff written for games like Asunder for Dragon Age, which I guess is a valid opinion, but does anyone else seem kind of insulted by that line?

Yeah, seems like he's a bit stuck up his own ass frankly, I love books that tie into universes I already know. I love the Guild Wars books for that very reason, I already know the places, I've been there in game, I know the world, so it's nice to see what else is happening in that world that doesn't revolve around my character.

Though I think it's cool the attitude they both have about it all, he does seem really far up his own backside. Frankly I didn't even know it was a book series at all, I just thought it was a game series.

I think his reaction was OK, I'm glad he didn't whined about his work being somehow butchered by the games, I like his stance over the matter and I respect his decision, he keeps writing his books and it's up to CD Projekt to continue developing their games around them, not this guy writing his books around the games.

Elate:

I could be misinterpreting this as it could be a legitimate shot at supplementary stuff written for games like Asunder for Dragon Age, which I guess is a valid opinion, but does anyone else seem kind of insulted by that line?

Yeah, seems like he's a bit stuck up his own ass frankly, I love books that tie into universes I already know. I love the Guild Wars books for that very reason, I already know the places, I've been there in game, I know the world, so it's nice to see what else is happening in that world that doesn't revolve around my character.

Though I think it's cool the attitude they both have about it all, he does seem really far up his own backside. Frankly I didn't even know it was a book series at all, I just thought it was a game series.[/quote]

Exactly. And while novel tie-ins mostly aren't an apotheosis of literary genius, they usually make for a fun read. And what is literature supposed to do if not entertain the reader?

Moosejaw:
I could be misinterpreting this as it could be a legitimate shot at supplementary stuff written for games like Asunder for Dragon Age, which I guess is a valid opinion, but does anyone else seem kind of insulted by that line?

I think that what he meant was that writing something from the starting point that it will be some sort of filler (adjuvant content) is a poor idea, and you should stick to write "full content" books and games. I don't think he is particularly wrong on this one, you should strive to make a book or game, not "something that is marginally related to a successful brand in order to cash in" (at least, I think this was the spirit).

Elate:

Moosejaw:

It's probably not a good idea to ask him to create tie-in content for the Witcher games. "To me as a writer," Sapkowski says, "the idea to write 'adjuvant content' and create something 'complementary' to a game or a comic is an absolute pinnacle of idiocy."

I could be misinterpreting this as it could be a legitimate shot at supplementary stuff written for games like Asunder for Dragon Age, which I guess is a valid opinion, but does anyone else seem kind of insulted by that line?

Yeah, seems like he's a bit stuck up his own ass frankly, I love books that tie into universes I already know. I love the Guild Wars books for that very reason, I already know the places, I've been there in game, I know the world, so it's nice to see what else is happening in that world that doesn't revolve around my character.

Though I think it's cool the attitude they both have about it all, he does seem really far up his own backside. Frankly I didn't even know it was a book series at all, I just thought it was a game series.

I don't know - he seemed really generous to the interviewer. How would you like it if someone asked if you would consider writing tie-in material for an adaptation of an intellectual property that you created? The interviewer is basically saying, "why don't you change your novels so they agree with the video games based on your novels?"

fair enough, i agree with what they said but it seems like he took a bit of a pot shot and video games, while some of my favorite books have been adaptations/writings around the series. (such as the halo books)

Moosejaw:

It's probably not a good idea to ask him to create tie-in content for the Witcher games. "To me as a writer," Sapkowski says, "the idea to write 'adjuvant content' and create something 'complementary' to a game or a comic is an absolute pinnacle of idiocy."

I could be misinterpreting this as it could be a legitimate shot at supplementary stuff written for games like Asunder for Dragon Age, which I guess is a valid opinion, but does anyone else seem kind of insulted by that line?

I don't take it as an insult. The IP is originally his. He wrote five novels and two volumes of short stories for his Witcher saga long before anyone thought of making a game based on it. It strikes me as fairly natural for an author to resist being reduced to tie-in work on what is essentially fanfiction. He likes what CDPR has done, but he regards it as non-canonical. That's fair enough.

What isn't being said is that he got burned pretty badly by Polish television when they tried to adapt the Witcher material for a series (and a movie edited from the series--guess how well that worked out). The series is "meh" on its own and awful as an adaptation of his work, so his general approval of CDPR's take on his universe is high praise indeed.

DVS BSTrD:
It's like comparing silver with steel.

Yes, each is good at it's intended purpose.

I have read the the two books translated into English, but it seems to be taking forever to translate the rest. From what I have read, the games do capture the feel of the books very well and are obviously made by people who love and respect the source material.

Moosejaw:

It's probably not a good idea to ask him to create tie-in content for the Witcher games. "To me as a writer," Sapkowski says, "the idea to write 'adjuvant content' and create something 'complementary' to a game or a comic is an absolute pinnacle of idiocy."

I could be misinterpreting this as it could be a legitimate shot at supplementary stuff written for games like Asunder for Dragon Age, which I guess is a valid opinion, but does anyone else seem kind of insulted by that line?

I don't know who wrote Asunder and other books like it, but my guess would be on it being the same writers who were behind the actual games.

I took it more as "being a professional writer it'd be kinda silly to create what's essentially fan-fiction when I have the means and ability to create my own stories".

I mean if he were to create complimentary material for some game or comic he'd be bound by that in his creative freedom. His characters most likely couldn't be the truly central characters, his plot could at best be ancillary to the real plot, all his work would be a side-note to that game or comic.

And if you have the ability to be more than a side-note I'd say that it could be argued that it's idiocy to not be more.

AzrealMaximillion:
Hollywood has made 4 movies based off of Moore's works. 2 of them sucked, two of them can be called good. Moore complained about Watchmen even with Peter Gibbons (the guy who drew the book) serving as art adviser, before the movie even came out.

Moore was a lot more open to film adaptations until filmmakers started jerking him around. Several times filmmakers have stated "Alan Moore likes this adaptation" when Moore said nothing of the kind. So instead of nodding and smiling and taking a cut of the money, he decided to show some integrity, tell those guys where to go, and tell them to give his share of the money to his collaborators.

AzrealMaximillion:
Point is in my opinion Alan Moore will complain any time Hollywood makes a movie of his works whether the movie is good or not.

That's his right. DC/Warner has made millions from Moore's work while tossing him pennies, and then have the gall to try and put words in his mouth. And while some of the adaptations are competent, none of them are great. They'll certainly never revolutionize films the way the books revolutionized comics.

AzrealMaximillion:
At least Neil Gaiman was smart and acquired the rights to any Sandman media just in case he didn't like what would be done with it.

Neil Gaiman doesn't own any rights to Sandman.

"To me as a writer," Sapkowski says, "the idea to write 'adjuvant content' and create something 'complementary' to a game or a comic is an absolute pinnacle of idiocy."

Trey Parker and Matt Stone disagree. Why is it that authors are so pretentious compared to other writers?

Alan Moore can ignore movies because he is a warlock and movies suck.

Smeatza:

"To me as a writer," Sapkowski says, "the idea to write 'adjuvant content' and create something 'complementary' to a game or a comic is an absolute pinnacle of idiocy."

Trey Parker and Matt Stone disagree. Why is it that authors are so pretentious compared to other writers?

you mean the writers of South Park? A comedy? Where things that are otherwise idiotic are good ideas? Yup, totally valid comparison

Smeatza:

"To me as a writer," Sapkowski says, "the idea to write 'adjuvant content' and create something 'complementary' to a game or a comic is an absolute pinnacle of idiocy."

Trey Parker and Matt Stone disagree. Why is it that authors are so pretentious compared to other writers?

Because in Poland he is a fantasy literature icon on par with Tolkien. The problem is, he's not that popular any more. Some fans actually hated him after the last part of the saga came out and he is known for acting like a buffoon with all this "I am a great writer" attitude. He also continuously disregards modern media, video games especially and refuses them any sort of serious recognition.

When CDP started to make the first game there was a lot of doubt if they can pull this off, since the Witcher books are a big deal over here and none of the fans wanted anything that would share the same fate as the awful movie adaptation. But Sapkowski gave his blessing, and once the games came out, everyone was happy... Except for Sapkowski, who for some reason insists on treating games like idiots' entertainment. That does not mean he is not happy to make money of them, not to mention the books themselves being translated into English and being available to the western audience. Personally I think he is burned out as a writer. The last two books of the Witcher saga are considered a disappointment by many fans (at least the ones I know) and after that he wrote a few short stories, including the infamous Alternative Witcher Saga Ending, which the fans hated him for, and something called Narrenturm, which some people liked and others hated, but eventually everyone lost interest.

j-e-f-f-e-r-s:

Have you read the original V For Vendetta? The Wachowski Brothers gutted pretty much everything that was good about it in order to make a heavy handed allegory about the Bush Administration. I'm of the opinion Alan Moore can moan as much as he likes. With the exception of Watchmen (and even then...) Hollywood has repeatedly taken his works and raped them in a ditch.

Justice League Unlimited: For the Man Who Has Everything.

Best adaptation of an Alan Moore comic ever. Granted not Hollywood, but still fantastic.

Monsterfurby:

Elate:

I could be misinterpreting this as it could be a legitimate shot at supplementary stuff written for games like Asunder for Dragon Age, which I guess is a valid opinion, but does anyone else seem kind of insulted by that line?

Yeah, seems like he's a bit stuck up his own ass frankly, I love books that tie into universes I already know. I love the Guild Wars books for that very reason, I already know the places, I've been there in game, I know the world, so it's nice to see what else is happening in that world that doesn't revolve around my character.

Though I think it's cool the attitude they both have about it all, he does seem really far up his own backside. Frankly I didn't even know it was a book series at all, I just thought it was a game series.

Exactly. And while novel tie-ins mostly aren't an apotheosis of literary genius, they usually make for a fun read. And what is literature supposed to do if not entertain the reader?[/quote]

Erm, it's a bit unfair to call his novels 'tie ins' considering they predate the games. The developers based their games on his books. With that in mind, I think his response is awfully fair minded. Its not like we'd expect George Lucas to come up with supplementary material for every EU Star Wars novel or anything.

Good on him, that's a respectful way of looking at it. Aside from his idiocy comment about books based of games/comics etc.

I'm currently reading through The Last Wish collection of short stories, the first major book has been translated, but none of the others, so the games at least let those that can't read Polish to get more out of that world whilst we wait for the translations to come through. They seem to be taking ages though.

jollybarracuda:
It's too bad they each have different visions of their stories in the Witcher universe, as it actually would have been kind of neat to say that the original author actually got on board and wrote the third game in the series or something. But regardless, they each handled the criticism well and that's hard enough to ask for in the gaming industry, so good on them.

Careful what you wish for, unless you want everyone to start randomly dying. Sapkowski has a frustrating ways of creating characters that are actually likable and you care about them (which is quite an achievment in our times) and then he kills them. They don't get a cheroic death, oh no, they just die, doing one decent thing too many. This is actually one of the "dirtiest" qualities of Sapkowskis low fantasy. Death is so... normal and unforgiving. You care about them, and then they just die, and you feel bad.

mmaruda:

Smeatza:

"To me as a writer," Sapkowski says, "the idea to write 'adjuvant content' and create something 'complementary' to a game or a comic is an absolute pinnacle of idiocy."

Trey Parker and Matt Stone disagree. Why is it that authors are so pretentious compared to other writers?

Because in Poland he is a fantasy literature icon on par with Tolkien. The problem is, he's not that popular any more. Some fans actually hated him after the last part of the saga came out and he is known for acting like a buffoon with all this "I am a great writer" attitude. He also continuously disregards modern media, video games especially and refuses them any sort of serious recognition.

When CDP started to make the first game there was a lot of doubt if they can pull this off, since the Witcher books are a big deal over here and none of the fans wanted anything that would share the same fate as the awful movie adaptation. But Sapkowski gave his blessing, and once the games came out, everyone was happy... Except for Sapkowski, who for some reason insists on treating games like idiots' entertainment. That does not mean he is not happy to make money of them, not to mention the books themselves being translated into English and being available to the western audience. Personally I think he is burned out as a writer. The last two books of the Witcher saga are considered a disappointment by many fans (at least the ones I know) and after that he wrote a few short stories, including the infamous Alternative Witcher Saga Ending, which the fans hated him for, and something called Narrenturm, which some people liked and others hated, but eventually everyone lost interest.

Emm... So you say he is burned out but then you mention Narrentum, basically a proof that he is still writing really decent stuff? Narrentum is pretty awsome, and it's underrated almost solely based on the fact that witchertards just want more Witcher, and he'll be always seen only through the Witcher books.

As for hating to write tie-in books, I understand him. Books based on games or trying to bridge the gap are varying in level from god awful to meh level, and I stopped reading them altogether.

j-e-f-f-e-r-s:

Erm, it's a bit unfair to call his novels 'tie ins' considering they predate the games. The developers based their games on his books. With that in mind, I think his response is awfully fair minded. Its not like we'd expect George Lucas to come up with supplementary material for every EU Star Wars novel or anything.

I wasn't talking about his novels, but about, well, tie-ins. That's what his comment seemed to aim at.

With him being as old as he is, this really is the best possible outcome. I wouldn't ever expect an old polish author to even know of any videogames.

AzrealMaximillion:
Andrzej Sapkowski's response to the adaptation is respectable. He didn't whine about it like Alan Moore does every damn time. Yeah the From Hell and League of Extraordinary Gentlemen movies sucked, but The Watchmen was decent(just way overhyped) and V for Vendetta was awesome.

Glad to see the Witcher's author isn't the usual stick in the mud.

Actually Alan Moore has good reason to be upset. His work generally conveys very specific messages and imagery. The movie adaptions have generally missed the point of his work.

The issue isn't whether the movies themselves are any good or not, it's that they are being directly linked to his works. "V For Vendetta" for exmaple was a good movie, but they should have made it it's own thing, and not named it after the graphic novel, or connected it in any way, because the movie totally, 100%, misses the point of that graphic novel and what it was about. "V For Vendetta" was not a movie about a freedom fighter up against an oppressive goverment, it was about a lunatic anarchist who didn't care about who he hurt or what damage he did, he was totally out for revenge. Some of the people he went up against were bad, others were not, Mr. Susan (replaced by Sutter in the movie) for example was very well intentioned and was doing a lot of good. A huge reveal in that story is that V himself hacked into the central computer controlling everything and was actually causing a lot of the problems that were going on and the authorities were being blamed for.

To be honest I always thought it was kind of interesting that Anonymous took on the Guy Fawkes Mask. I get the impression they largely did it because of the movie, and the whole Hactivism thing (I haven't checked the timing), but given that Anonymous has largely been an elemental force of chaos before the relatively positive "hacktivist" press, they do bear a bit of a similarity to the maniac from the graphic novel.

At any rate, the point is I think it's a bad analogy. A big part of the differance in how the writer of "The Witcher" is reacting and how Alan Moore reacts, is that "The Witcher" is a respectful version of the work, and while differant, stays pretty close to the original vision and spirit of the world and characters. It's sort of like comparing the Conan comics and other non-canon stories to the original stories by the creator (or ones written during Howard's life when other people wrote him occasionally), it's differant, and can't be confused with the canon mythology, but still spiritually the same thing and pretty bloody respectful of the themes. "Sherlock Holmes" and the canon vs. non-canon stories is another decent example.

Alan Moore really did have the guys who held onto the rights of his work take a huge dump all over them in the pursuit of money. I actually respect him for not selling out, which he apparently had more than one oppertunity to do. In general there is NO similarity between "V for Vendetta" the graphic novel, and the movie, except superficially, spiritually they are entirely differant works. "Watchmen" was probably the closest to his original work, but even so I can see why he distanced himself from it, because it missed a number of key points, many of which would have been very difficult to do in any other medium except for the original (which is one of the reasons I think trying to make movies out of some things is just a plan bad idea). The change in Ozymandia's plan and what he was specifically doing is a key element to the problem with the movie, his motivation was pretty much the same, but there was a bit behind the specifics of his plan that I think were integral to the story and tying everything together the way it was intended.

In the end the biggest point of all though (for those that read this far) is the guy who created "The Witcher" gave his approval for the games to be created. Alan Moore never specifically agreed to have these movies made, he pretty much got screwed on contracts. Ultimatly the guys doing these movies have the legal right to do so, but aren't doing it with the blessings or support of the creator, but rather in defiance of him.

cieply:

jollybarracuda:
It's too bad they each have different visions of their stories in the Witcher universe, as it actually would have been kind of neat to say that the original author actually got on board and wrote the third game in the series or something. But regardless, they each handled the criticism well and that's hard enough to ask for in the gaming industry, so good on them.

Careful what you wish for, unless you want everyone to start randomly dying. Sapkowski has a frustrating ways of creating characters that are actually likable and you care about them (which is quite an achievment in our times) and then he kills them. They don't get a cheroic death, oh no, they just die, doing one decent thing too many. This is actually one of the "dirtiest" qualities of Sapkowskis low fantasy. Death is so... normal and unforgiving. You care about them, and then they just die, and you feel bad.

Huh, interesting. I see where he's coming from though, treating characters like real people who won't always get a hero's death. Though in terms of storytelling for entertainment's sake, that would definitely be frustrating, especially when it comes to the ever rare likable character.

mmaruda:
Sapkowski, who for some reason insists on treating games like idiots' entertainment.

He's in his mid-60s... not like that attitude is uncommon amongst his generation.

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