CD Projekt Red pulls the plug on real-life Witcher school

A group of LARPers at the Witcher School.
(Image credit: 5 Żywiołów)

A real-life Witcher school in Poland has had its license pulled by CD Projekt Red—a move that the organisation's co-founders claim is related to a former staff member's employment by the ultra-conservative organisation Ordo Iuris.

5 Żywiołów (5 Elements) launched its Witcher school LARP in 2015, conducting 40 events over seven years with around 3,000 participants. But in February, co-founders Dominik and Dastin Wawrzyniak announced in a lengthy Facebook post that CDPR had revoked the Witcher license (thanks, Eurogamer).

The two claim that the reason is due to Dastin's wife, Ania Wawrzyniak, and her ties to Ordo Iuris. It's a pretty bigoted Catholic anti-abortion organisation that has for years attempted to quash the rights of both women and the LGBTQ+ community. Along with working at 5 Żywiołów for two years as a lawyer, Ania also provided "legal expertise" for Ordo Iuris, including: "the legal mechanisms for introducing and enforcing the vaccination obligation and the possible consequences of failure to comply with it, and the draft of a law penalising illegal abortion."

Posted by 5zywiolow on 

The post alleged that Ania's work for Ordo Iuris did not reflect her own views, continuing: "Our team has always consisted of people representing the entire spectrum of political, social and moral views, including people whose views on many issues were extremely different (also involved in the activities of organisations no less controversial than OI)—the only criterion for their employment was their professional competence."

CD Projekt Red did not comment on whether Ania's involvement with Ordo Iuris was the reason for removing 5 Żywiołów's license, instead citing merchandising. "In February we decided to end our cooperation with the organisers of Witcher School," the developer said in a statement to Eurogamer. "Now the contractual notice period of three months has ended. For more context, this cooperation was about the LARP itself, and potential merchandise tied to it. We do not provide further details on the matter."

Regardless, 5 Żywiołów said in a recent update that it was planning to forge ahead without the Witcher brand. "We are creating a new world," a Facebook post from May read. "Our own universe, which will be thought-out in such a way that LARPs organised in it are as good as possible and that it will enable unlimited possibilities in the future." The company is also planning to release a short movie acting as "a kind of memorial dedicated to the Witcher School."

Mollie Taylor
Features Producer

Mollie spent her early childhood deeply invested in games like Killer Instinct, Toontown and Audition Online, which continue to form the pillars of her personality today. She joined PC Gamer in 2020 as a news writer and now lends her expertise to write a wealth of features, guides and reviews with a dash of chaos. She can often be found causing mischief in Final Fantasy 14, using those experiences to write neat things about her favourite MMO. When she's not staring at her bunny girl she can be found sweating out rhythm games, pretending to be good at fighting games or spending far too much money at her local arcade.