Eastern European author Andrzej Sapkowski is best known for writing the books that the popular video game series The Witcher is based on. One would imagine that the global success of The Witcher game series would have translated into stronger book sales for Sapkowski, but he doesn’t believe so, and in fact, thinks that his books are what made the games popular – not the other way around.
Speaking to Waypoint in a rather blunt interview, Sapkowski spoke at length about his opinion on video games. To sum it up, Sapkowski doesn’t think highly of the storytelling capability of video games, saying, “Where’s the room for depth or sophisticated language with which games could elevate culture? There’s none.” Sapkowski went on to blame the popularity of the games for spoiling his market, and then denied the claim that the popularity of the games has made him popular outside of Poland.
“The belief, widely spread by CDPR, that the games made me popular outside of Poland is completely false. I made the games popular. All of my translations in the West—including the English one—were published before the first game.”
Sapkowski’s claim that the first book in The Witcher series was published in English before the first game was released is true. However, it seems odd that he believes his books made the games popular. There are likely a great deal of people that don’t even realize that the games are based on books, as Sapkowski himself admits in the interview that “you need a microscope” to see that The Witcher games are based on his books.
So, Sapkowski is trying to make two claims that contradict each other. On one hand, he believes that CD Projekt Red “conceals the game’s origins,” and that people don’t realize that the games are based on books as a result. On the other hand, he believes that since his first Witcher novel was published in Western territories before the game was released, then his book must be why the games became so popular.
Regardless, the interview with Sapkowski paints a picture that he doesn’t think very highly of video games, which some might find odd given the incredible success of the video game series based on his books. In the future, Sapkowski’s feelings on the gaming industry may prevent him from licensing any of his other works to game developers, but in the meantime, The Witcher series is still going strong, with plenty of sales and Game of the Year awards to its name.
The latest game in the series, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, is available now for PC, PS4, and Xbox One.