The Witcher author had little involvement with the Netflix series: 'I do not like working too hard'

(Image credit: Netflix)

Andrzej Sapkowski, the author the The Witcher short stories and novels that inspired CD Projekt's hit RPG trilogy, famously declined a profit-sharing deal with the studio when it first started working on the series. He opted for a cash-up-front deal instead, because he fully expected—not unreasonably, really—that nothing would come of it.

That eventually led to a bit of a beef between the author and the developer (although happily, it was resolved late last year), yet in a wonderfully honest, tell-it-like-it-is interview with io9 about The Witcher series on Netflix, Sapkowski hinted pretty strongly that his underlying approach to collaboration hasn't changed much.

  • On how involved he was in the production of the series: "Not very much, on my own request. I do not like working too hard or too long. By the way, I do not like working at all. 'Let he who is without sin cast the first stone at me.' John 8:7."
  • On the degree of control he had: "For the record: I strongly believe in the freedom of an artist and his artistic expression. I do not interfere and do not impose my views on other artists. I do not insist on anything and do not fight for anything. I advise. When necessary. And asked for."
  • His reaction to news that 500,000 Witcher books will be reprinted in the US: "How do you expect I answer this question? That I despaired? Shed tears? Considered suicide? No sir. My feelings were rather obvious and not excessively complex."
  • On what he's looking forward to in the future of the series: "Allow me to quote Joe Abercrombie, the author whose books are very much to my liking: 'Life is, basically, fucking shit. Best to keep your expectations low. Maybe you’ll be pleasantly surprised.'"

Sapkowski didn't reveal anything about the terms of his deal with Netflix (I'll bet he's got a profit-sharing provision in place, though), but he did say that the failure of multiple previous proposals left him "reluctant" to pursue this one. "But this specific offer was businesslike and the people behind it sympathetic," he said. "I had every reason to react positively."

The show was a huge success and has been renewed for another season, but unfortunately we're not going to see The Witcher season 2 until sometime in 2021. A Witcher anime film, Nightmare of the Wolf, is also in development, and you can toss a coin to the composers of The Witcher soundtrack (including that most excellent earworm) right now.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.