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Witcher game studio inks new deal with author. What does it mean for franchise?

Following a yearlong feud concerning compensation, CD Projekt announced today that it has inked a new deal with The Witcher author Andrzej Sapkowski.

According to CD Projekt, this new agreement “solidifies and reinforces” the professional relationship between the developer and Spakowski and serves to clarify the “requirements and expectations of both parties.” More importantly, the studio confirmed that this new agreement allows it to retain its rights to any and all video games, graphic novels, board games, and merchandise based on The Witcher intellectual property.

Late last year, Sapkowski demanded the company fork over $16 million in royalties for its use of The Witcher license after the franchise outperformed Sapkowski’s initial expectations. When Sapkowski originally agreed to license The Witcher, the author wanted CD Projekt to issue him a one-time payment instead of providing him with a percentage of the game’s profits. “No, there will be no profit at all — give me all my money right now! The whole amount,” Sapkowski said in a 2017 interview with Eurogamer. “It was stupid. I was stupid enough to leave everything in their hands because I didn’t believe in their success. But who could foresee their success? I couldn’t.”

Following its release in 2015, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt has been met with both critical and financial success, making up more than half of the series’ 40 million copies sold. Alongside a successful series of books and video games, The Witcher franchise has also been adapted into a TV show, with the first season releasing in December 2019 on Netflix, and a second season announced ahead of the season 1 premiere. In addition to writing The Witcher novels, Andrzej Sapkowski has also worked on other books, including the historical fantasy series The Hussite Trilogy.

While The Witcher 3 served as a conclusion to the story of Geralt of Rivia, CD Projekt has mentioned previously that it has not ruled out a sequel to the series and that it was open to working on future projects set in The Witcher universe. Currently, the company is working on a new video game IP called CyberPunk 2077 based on the popular tabletop RPG game by Mike Pondsmith.

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