Metro 2033 Creator Calls The Witcher Author An 'Ungrateful Schmuck'

Ostrog: "Glukhovsky said that as a player himself he looks at Sapkowski as 'an old fool.” He went on to state that the Polish author “f**ked up,' and that the reason for his $16 million lawsuit against developer CD Projekt RED is due to his 'wife [nagging] him about it in the evenings, and [then] he tries to roll it back.'"

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Leeroyw1004d ago

A bit harsh. Maybe even partly true. But game developers in particular love to bang on and lecture how we should be treating others and this is what he had to say?!?

NovusTerminus1004d ago (Edited 1004d ago )

This is not a game creator, the man who said this is the author of the Metro 2033 books. And I really do agree with his sentiment.

He even say:
"He is just an elderly man, he missed his chance, and well, what can you do?’’ asked the Russian author. ‘’I feel sorry for the man.’’

The writer to The Witcher made a bad deal, but still signed a contract he has no one to blame but himself for not thinking the deal through.

Leeroyw1004d ago

Thanks. Good point.
Still.... Ouch. And a bad deal can be renegotiated if you feel you've been taken advantage of.

Mroc131004d ago

The Witcher writer made a bad deal. I read that he didn't sign the first contract because Geralt's name was spelt wrong. lol. He probably made a bad deal with his books too because he doesn't seem to be benefiting from the additional sales either. I bought and read all The Witcher books because of the Witcher 3 so he should be grateful for that benefit

fiveby91004d ago

@Leeroyw I don't think the author was taken advantage of by CDPR. Even CDPR probably didn't know the extent to which The Witcher game series would be successful. The author did not want a percentage of the profits but rather a payment upfront. Sounds like he expected the game to not be successful monetarily and asked for a lump sum payment up front. CDPR invested a lot of money and years of development and it paid off for them. Now the author wants to turn back the clock. A court should throw that out. Now if CDPR chose to throw a little cash his way out of gratitude that's one thing but I suspect having been sued but the author, he has poisoned that well.

hulk_bash19871004d ago

He wasnt taken advantage of, he had a choice of getting paid up front or by % of sales. It's not CDPRs fault that the author didnt believe the game series was gonna sell well.

abstractel1003d ago

Also, hindsight is 20/20. There was never any guarantee that the Witcher series was going to be so successful. If you believe in a project, you negotiate for proceeds, if you don't, you negotiate for a lump sum. Obviously he wanted cash up front.

Of course I have some sympathy for him, but less the amount he complains and now with the lawsuit. I don't know the circumstances but perhaps a couple of years back RED could have thrown him a bone due to the success but that was their moral choice.

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Darkwatchman1004d ago

He wasn’t taken advantage of. When approached for the rights to make a game based on his characters and world, the author was given the option to either get royalties for every copy of the games sold OR get a one-time flat rate. He believed the games would be a disaster so he went with the one time payment. He’s an old-ass out of touch guy that doesn’t game so it’s his fault for being so cynical and assuming the games wouldn’t do well

FilthyWeeb1004d ago

Context is important, this was at a time when videogames were even a fraction as popular as they are today. And the studio that approached the author were a small time studio that had only just ported a game as their claim, it's not like they had anything successful to use as leverage.

CDProjekt enjoyed a better deal than the author in the long run. If this was any other place that would just be a tough deal and you learn from it... But Polish law actually helps the guy out, so is it so wrong that he's using it to his advantage?

rainslacker1004d ago (Edited 1004d ago )


Doesn't matter what the context is. Video games were still at a point where their potential was already being realized by many media outlets, including hollywood, and certainly it was at a time when gaming was starting to come into its prime.

He was made a fair offer, and given a choice. He choose the least beneficial to him. CDPR saw the potential in themselves, the IP, and the industry, while the author didn't. That's not CDPR fault.

At the time, if he thought the studio wasn't capable, then he could have shopped the IP around, and maybe gotten the same or better deal elsewhere. But he took the money and forgot about it until it became successful, then complained a lot about how unfair the world is.

I still don't see how Polish law can help him. I think its dangerous territory to start allowing a contract to be renegotiated well after the fact because people just want a quick buck, then realize their mistake a decade or so later.

NapalmSanctuary1004d ago

@FilthyWeeb "Polish law actually helps the guy out, so is it so wrong that he's using it to his advantage?"

Law doesn't determine right and wrong. It just determines what the gov and the courts are able to burn your ass for. In this case the law allows one party in a legal transaction to renege on a perfectly legitimate contract deal. The law is, itself, unjust, because of this. Its not like he agreed to the terms under duress. They offered him a choice for royalties or a straight, one-and-done transaction. He made the choice. His unwillingness to accept the consequences for that choice speaks volumes about his lack of character.

rainslacker1004d ago (Edited 1004d ago )

I just can't fathom how such a law can exist in Poland. Or if it's actually pursued the way this author apparently wants to use it. I also wonder if what is being talked about here is the actual intent of the law.

Contract law is just that. A binding contract, and outside of instances where things were misrepresented greatly by one party, or when signed under duress, there shouldn't be any room for a party to come back later and say that they are deserving of something more, or potentially just rip the contract out from under the person who got more benefit from it.

I could see seriously bad repercussions for people to make a quick buck, maybe more than they'd deserve at the time of signing the contract, only to bank on something still being successful later so they can just come back and ask for more. Maybe it's different in Poland, but generally, changes to a contract are done through addendum, or a completely new contract, both of which explicitly state what is being changed, and what is now voided on the new contract.

My wife is a lawyer, and deals with contract law sometimes, and I asked her about this, and she was incredulous that the law would be what was stated in the original article about it. She said if that kind of thing happened in the US, it would be chaos in the courts systems, so to me, it seems that this law in Poland may be much more narrowly defined that what's been presented for this case. She did look up the law for me, but since it was a translated text, she couldn't really say for sure if it was what was being said...that someone could just decide to void a contract because they felt they got a bad deal later. Hell, I could easily see doing that on any car where you sign a contract, and just want to get out of payments without any ill effect on you whatsoever.

mogwaii1003d ago

It's not the fact he doesn't game, it's the fact that he looks down on gaming, he thinks it is pathetic and has no place in story telling, he arrogantly made the choice he did and now is crying about it, suck shit to him.

Lynx02071003d ago

He understood nothing about game industry, he wasn't/isn't clairvoyant. And did you see polish The Witcher movie? Noone can blame him for thinking the game would be a disaster too. It is perfect example of "taking advantage of" - when cdp succeeded, paying him more would be fair. That article from polish copyright is exactly for situations like this one.

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InTheZoneAC1004d ago

A bit harsh? Please understand the situation before commenting.

william_cade1004d ago

yeah, you missed the mark by a country mile.

Goldenhawk5211003d ago

I have never seen a comment on here that had so many downvotes with not ever just 1 upvote. Daaaaamn

TheDriz1003d ago

You may want to read the article.

AlexMuncatchy1003d ago

The Witcher author long believed that games have no power to convey narrative. They are a useless medium for storytelling. I have no pity for him.

rainslacker1003d ago

Spielberg and Lucas made similar comments. Not too long after, Spieldberg released a movie relying on the popularity of video games to tell a story.

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1004d ago
m2stech1004d ago

If the author was smart and wanted money he would've signed with Cd Projekt to help them with future witcher games and storylines.

frostypants1004d ago (Edited 1004d ago )

I'm sure he's already made/making plenty of money on increased book sales and the upcoming Netflix series.

rainslacker1004d ago

From what I've seen so far, I have a feeling that series is going to bomb hard. Admittedly, I haven't seen much, but still.

Plus, Netflix doesn't keep things going if they don't get people to sub, and no doubt people are going to be vocal about it if it sucks.

Michiel19891004d ago

The author is an idiot especially for asking 16m. Im all on CDPR on this one but it might be a smart move to give the guy like 200k-500k to just be rid of him. From what ive heard there is a part in polish law that if the deal doesnt match the profit made by one of the parties by a long shot it might be renogotiated in court.

cleft51004d ago

What he is asking for is actually very reasonable, however it's how he is going about the whole process that is the problem. First thing, CDPR didn't screw this guy over. The man took the one-time flat rate because he had no faith in them or their game. Well, obviously he was wrong.

Fair play, the guy screw up and didn't have faith in them. Instead of demanding and suing them to get more money, how about just be upfront and honest. Be sincere, say he was in the wrong, say this is his life's work, say he would like to have X amount of money, and apologize for not believing in them. Instead of doing any of that, he behaves like an asshole and walks around acting like they have to give him money. Since he is going to behave like an idiot then he can go through his lawyers to get even one more penny.

The sad thing is that the CDPR guys and gals are obviously a fan of his work, so if he had just treated them with respect he probably could have gotten the X amount of money he wanted and royalties. But instead of treating these guys and gals with the respect they deserve, he simply tries to bully them to get his way. Well, that isnt going to work at all.

Lynx02071003d ago

Why you assume that suing them is not respectful? Mayby they talk it over together and the suit is necessary because of the law? And how you know that it isn't going to work?

rainslacker1004d ago

My problem with it, beyond the concept of a 3rd party being able to decide if a contract is acceptable well after its been signed, is that he has done nothing to support the game to give it the success it has. At least not that I can tell. Sure, he wrote the books, and created the world, but to that end, he already sold the rights to use that work for a set amount of money. As far as I've seen, he even admits he didn't spend much time helping CDPR build the game or the story.

So, when it became wildly successful, he started getting bitter, at which time he started criticizing the devs, and talking down the games as if they weren't good enough compared to his work or vision. By the authors own admission, the games weren't good enough, so to ask for more money after actively trying to bring the game down, seems improper and unethical. It's not like he was out there pounding the pavement to get people to notice the game, and he only seemed to take issue with the profits after the third game became wildly successful, not when the first two were modestly successful.

This series became successful off the backs of CDPR. The author gave them the inspiration, but likely this series would have been just as successful if it weren't part of The Witcher franchise, and was just some randomly made up fantasy storyline. How many gamers had ever heard of The Witcher as being a book before it's release? Hell I didn't even know until the author made some comments about how he felt CDPR was ruining his work. I'm sure many people got into the books because of the games, but I'm also sure that their interest came from the games first.

cleft51003d ago

I wholeheartedly agree with you. Thats the main point I have been trying to make. At no point has this guy ever gave the CDPR devs the respect that they deserve. The reason the Witcher series blew up on an international level is because of the CDPR. CDPR took his world and made it into an iconic franchise.

Every step of the way the writer of the Witcher books has shown himself to be a short sighted fool. The only reason he is even getting a Netflix show is because of the game that CDPR worked their asses off to make into a huge success. CDPR did what he could not do and instead of being happy that his work is touching millions of lives, he has decided to be a complete moronic asshole.

He made a deal that he thought was good, obviously not. But instead of recognizing that he was in the wrong he decides to play victim. I truly cannot stand people who behave in that manner.

Kabaneri1004d ago

I partially understand his fruatration, but The Witcher game series is what made his work so popular in the first place.

Sirk7x1004d ago (Edited 1004d ago )

He signed his creation away for peanuts and turned down percentage of profits though. Although, profits CAN be easily manipulated, if you're familiar with Hollywood accounting. On paper, just about every movie ever made has made zero profit. Accountants manipulate numbers to avoid taxes. For example, most of the actors for the Lord of the Rings franchise got completely screwed, as they signed contracts for percentage of profits, but even after the series became one of the best selling in history, with billions in merchandise as well, it was reported to have never made any money. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, that movie made about a billion dollars world-wide, but after shady accounting practices recorded a loss over a hundred million. So yeah, profit percentage deals are normally apt to get you screwed.

rainslacker1004d ago

In general, royalties are paid off revenues, sometimes after a certain amount of revenue is made. The amount of royalties is typically renegotiated for every release in the IP, or sometimes after a set number of releases, or for anything outside the original stipulations.

Profit is rarely used as a royalty metric in gaming, and for indie devs that get angel funding, or use certain licenses of game engines, it means they may never make a dime on the game, as those groups or engine makers can easily take most of the money before they even start paying back their investment.

Its not so easy to hide straight revenue, as there are many ways to track it. Profit is certainly more abstract, as you point out, and open to some companies doing a huge write off one year to make future years look better.

You mention a couple movies, but I'd like to point out Harrison Ford's role in SW:TFA. He got I think .5% of the gross earnings(revenue). He'll get that in perpetuity for as long as the movie sells, and for the inevitable rereleases where they sell a new copy with an added 20 seconds of footage, or anytime a streaming service pays half a million dollars to have the movie, etc. not a bad raise compared to the $1,000/wk with no royalties he made on the original film.

Lynx02071003d ago (Edited 1003d ago )

Not really. He had huge fanbase before the first game. Even The Witcher movie (100% disaster) is 6 years older than the game. It was that fanbase that made the first Witcher game popular. Now he is more popular worldwide, that is true. But he don't care about that kind of popularity, because he don't like games and to be honest the Witcher games don't do a justice to the novels. They are extremely shallow in comparison. They are amazing games, sure, but The Witcher novels are far from being just another generic fantasy tale.

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