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Default CD Projekt RED - What Andrzej Sapkowski Thinks about the Games @ Eurogamer

November 8th, 2012, 00:45
Eurogamer has an interview with the Andrzej Sapkowski, the author behind the Witcher books. He has some interesting points about games:
"I do not play computer games as they are far beyond my sphere of interest," he remarked. "I've never played any computer games, be it fantasy or others. Sometimes I read through dedicated gaming magazines or watch television programmes. Graphics and technology, sometimes, I admire. I cannot say anything about the plots, though. Apart from the fact that some types of games seem to lack any story whatsoever. Those seem to be all about the hack and slash."
And Sapkowski's take on the Witcher games:
The Witcher game told an alternate story with The Witcher world. Was Sapkowski happy with it?
"The game - with all due respect to it, but let's finally say it openly - is not an 'alternative version', nor a sequel. The game is a free adaptation containing elements of my work; an adaptation created by different authors," he noted. "Adaptations - although they can in a way relate to the story told in the books - can never aspire to the role of a follow-up. They can never add prologues nor prequels, let alone epilogues and sequels.
And here's his take on the crossover between books and games:
"I realise that current times accustom us - which I find terrible - to the strange convergence of media and the freedom of mixing them. To me as a writer, the idea to write 'adjuvant content' and create something 'complementary' to a game or a comic is an absolute pinnacle of idiocy."
There's no chance of The Witcher games influencing the outcome of the The Witcher books, then.
"I will definitely skip any 'alternative ideas'," Sapkowski promised. "It'll come easily to me anyway, as I don't know any of them. And even if I knew, it would be funny and silly were I to write based on the game's suggestions. I suppose I have made myself clear when I said that I will never accept any ideas and concepts of 'complementarity plots' and 'building coherent stories'. A story can only be contained in a book."
After the interview with Sapkowski, Adam Badowski from CDPR chimed in to say this:
"Our cooperation has a strict and defined direction. I can't imagine Andrzej Sapkowski playing a game to do research for the new novels. This is unlikely and would look like writing a book for a game or movie release, which ends badly in most cases; the novel winds up in a collector's edition and then covers with dust somewhere on the gamer's shelf. "We want to develop The Witcher's universe in other media, not only video games. We have Mr. Sapkowsk's blessing and what we create is in line with his vision of the world, no matter how the saga will evolve.
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November 8th, 2012, 00:45
I would love to read his books but sadly only a few books are available in English. Those books are of course not the main series just side stories.

As for Sapkowski on games and other media it's common for authors to hate games/movies/fanfics/ and anything else that alters or tries to change there vision.

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November 8th, 2012, 01:01
Sounds a little sour that it took a game for his ideas to have a broader appeal. Maybe he should be thankful instead, oh ya, pride.
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November 8th, 2012, 01:24
The games have shit story. the writing in them is so meh i fully relate.
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November 8th, 2012, 02:35
Originally Posted by borcanu View Post
The games have shit story. the writing in them is so meh i fully relate.
I actually liked the first game story much better than his books`… As for the second game, I don`t know yet since I have not played it. To this day I still remember the plot of Witcher 1 but I don`t really recall the books even though I read all of the english ones. Go figure…
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November 8th, 2012, 06:13
I don't understand his attitude. Many gamers have got to know his wonderfull books because of witcher series. Shouldn't he be even a tiny bit gratefull for that? Is he afraid that the value of his work is somehow diminished because of witcher games? The games which were made by people whom were so inspired by his work? I thought every writer would be proud of such accomplishment. In particular when games were such high quality.

I get that Sapkowski isn't interested in videogames. After all he said it with so many words. I can also somewhat agree that storytelling in videogames can never have same depth like a good book does.

Still that being said, I don't get why he is so eager to contemn what he doesn't understand or is not willing to understand. Don't judge book by it's cover as it is said.
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November 8th, 2012, 07:48
Sounds like he is seriously conservative.

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November 8th, 2012, 08:13
A lot of people just don't get what a kick in the teeth it is after pouring your soul into your work, having someone else put his dirty fingers in and mix things up in ways that you never intended, that disregard the messages you wanted to convey (or sometimes even worse- that they succeed at conveying them more efficiently than you, leaving you feeling incompetent) and then be expected to congratulate them, bless them and be grateful too because your gained some popularity or money, not because of what you achieved, but because of what someone else did to your work. There's nothing wrong in taking pride in your work and it makes perfect sense not liking seeing it being altered in any way. Unless of course you're only interested in personal gain.

I liked the first game a lot - in fact I liked it more than the books of his I've managed to read - but he is absolutely right in wanting to distance himself from it. In fact I think he was rather diplomatic about it and 'free adaptation' sounds spot-on to me.



And I couldn't agree more with this by the way:
the idea to write 'adjuvant content' and create something 'complementary' to a game or a comic is an absolute pinnacle of idiocy.

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November 8th, 2012, 08:32
Originally Posted by holeraw View Post
A lot of people just don't get what a kick in the teeth it is after pouring your soul into your work, having someone else put his dirty fingers in and mix things up in ways that you never intended, that disregard the messages you wanted to convey (or sometimes even worse- that they succeed at conveying them more efficiently than you, leaving you feeling incompetent) and then be expected to congratulate them, bless them and be grateful too because your gained some popularity or money, not because of what you achieved, but because of what someone else did to your work.
Yeah, poor Sapkowski. Quick! Someone arrest the guy who held a gun to his head when he signed away the video game rights!
Oh, and it surely must be really painful to see your super-intellectual literary work based on a monster slayer be raped by CDP's lowly crappy monster slayer games.
I mean, seriously, we all know that Sapkowski is right up there with Franz Kafka, Thomas Mann and Immanuel Kant, right? What was CDP thinking when they made a monster slayer RPG? Quick! Someone call a lawyer or something!
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November 8th, 2012, 08:49
"I do not play computer games as they are far beyond my sphere of interest,"

Well, that's the problem right there. Though I think considering he's an artist I find it more strange that he sees the convergence of media entirely critical. While I can certainly see that sometimes this is just used in a hype and marketing machine, I find the potential in mixing and juxtaposing different kind of media has a huge creative potential, and games in particular are in a great (though woefully underused) position to take advantage of that.

But I happily forgive him his narrow focus, because he created the base for the most interesting world in current CRPGs - maybe pride, focus, and ego are necessary to create something that convincing.
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November 8th, 2012, 09:07
Originally Posted by Dez View Post
I don't understand his attitude. Many gamers have got to know his wonderfull books because of witcher series. Shouldn't he be even a tiny bit gratefull for that? Is he afraid that the value of his work is somehow diminished because of witcher games? The games which were made by people whom were so inspired by his work? I thought every writer would be proud of such accomplishment. In particular when games were such high quality.

I get that Sapkowski isn't interested in videogames. After all he said it with so many words. I can also somewhat agree that storytelling in videogames can never have same depth like a good book does.

Still that being said, I don't get why he is so eager to contemn what he doesn't understand or is not willing to understand. Don't judge book by it's cover as it is said.
Maybe he wants to write to tell stories, making money to support himself in his undertaking. Just saying. There are still a few artists out there who keep balancing the necessity of making a living and their artistic license.

Adding more customers to his readership? This might only increase the pressure from customers to change the evolution of the storytelling, to get their demands passed through the narrative.

As to not understanding video games, he might understand them very well and get to the same final conclusion.

Different media brings different constraints. The video game medium is weak at supporting scripted narratives due to structural deficiencies. If this author is interested in telling a scripted story, he would be a fool to restrict his narrative art by coupling the book narrative art to a video game narrative limitations.
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November 8th, 2012, 09:10
I'm amazed he let anyone make The Witcher games at all..
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November 8th, 2012, 09:11
Originally Posted by Moriendor View Post
Yeah, poor Sapkowski. Quick! Someone arrest the guy who held a gun to his head when he signed away the video game rights!
How comes?
He signed away the rights in terms that suited him, fitting his vision of writing.
The remark could be worth something if indeed he got the feeling the video game series had forced him to degenerate his works. But he was mature enough to know what to expect and got it enforced.
The video game narrative wont influence his work. This is what he wanted.
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November 8th, 2012, 09:11
Originally Posted by Moriendor View Post
Yeah, poor Sapkowski. Quick! Someone arrest the guy who held a gun to his head when he signed away the video game rights!
Oh, and it surely must be really painful to see your super-intellectual literary work based on a monster slayer be raped by CDP's lowly crappy monster slayer games.
I mean, seriously, we all know that Sapkowski is right up there with Franz Kafka, Thomas Mann and Immanuel Kant, right? What was CDP thinking when they made a monster slayer RPG? Quick! Someone call a lawyer or something!
I see… We don't consider his books masterpieces and he didn't fall victim to physical violence so we can do whatever the hell we want with them without taking their creator's vision into account.

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November 8th, 2012, 09:14
Reminder that it is the opposite of the Cyberpunk 2077 writer direction who expects to involve himself a lot in the production of the next studio game.

Cyberpunk 2077 is a RPG and therefore, story telling is secondary to it. The demand for artistic integrity puts less pressure.
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November 8th, 2012, 09:22
Originally Posted by GhanBuriGhan View Post
While I can certainly see that sometimes this is just used in a hype and marketing machine, I find the potential in mixing and juxtaposing different kind of media has a huge creative potential, and games in particular are in a great (though woefully underused) position to take advantage of that.
Or he might have figured out that mixing up a medium that is extremelly weak at delivering scripted narrated content with the medium of reference is just a waste of time: he will only obtain performing inferiorly to the book medium.

Actually, these mixings happen to hide the lack of creativity. The creativity should come not from the content but from the container. Unfortunately, the container is weaker than any of its components.

Scripted narrated content is better delivered in books.
Non scripted narrated content (which does not involve a professional author) is better delivered in books.

But I understand that the necessity of making a living and providing a pretention to novelty is a big pressure.

Today, it is just much of the same soup served in different bowls, which are not even new but a mixing of older containers.
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November 8th, 2012, 09:43
He's a person completely ignorant about the subject at hand, so his opinion is of very little interest to me.

Also, I like how he says stories can only be contained in books. That tells me he's not just ignorant - but closed-minded.

It's like when Roger Ebert talked about games as art. It's like asking a man how he feels about pregnancy. It just doesn't compute.

Interesting opinions need to be informed - or they're just random speculation based on an emotional disposition.
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November 8th, 2012, 10:11
To be honest, the Witcher novels are not that great. I liked the short stories much better, and Sapkowskis Hussite trilogy is much better anyways.

Still, I found the Witcher games to have a quite solid story. Which doesnt mean that Sapkowski should feel like integrating any of the games authors ideas into the world he imagined. I wonder where he got the idea. The whole thing sounds like cooperation between the writer and the game studio didnt work that well. Which is a shame.
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November 8th, 2012, 10:39
I suspect that his publisher wants him to chash in on the success of the Witcher games, by writing more Witcher stories, preferably with content closer to the games than he would like. It would make perfect sense from a business perspective, while it would also compromise his artistic integrity, which he obviously feels very strongly about.

I'm not all that impressed by his books, but I admire his stubbornness here. It would have been easier and more profitable for him to just go with the flow and churn out more Withcer books along with the games.
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November 8th, 2012, 11:06
Originally Posted by Mr Smiley View Post
I suspect that his publisher wants him to chash in on the success of the Witcher games, by writing more Witcher stories, preferably with content closer to the games than he would like. It would make perfect sense from a business perspective, while it would also compromise his artistic integrity, which he obviously feels very strongly about.
This.

I see some say that a writer is closeminded. Man. A writer full of ideas is closeminded… Unbelievable.
Stubborn, oh yes he is. Ignorant about games, certainly. He probably doesn't have a facebook account, some will take that as another sin of his. But I respect him for that. Why would it be "more normal" to just sell himself? He doesn't want to.
Not everyone is George Martin.
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