Polish fantasy author, Andrzej Sapkowski, has demanded $16 million from CD Projekt Red in copyright royalties after originally selling the rights for a fixed sum as he doubted Projekt's success.
The Witcher video games are based on a series of novels written by Andrzej Sapkowski. The games and the novels share the same characters and setting, but the stories are totally different from each other.
Andrzej Sapkowski may be talented at writing, but his business skills leave something to be desired. When CD Projekt Red approached Sapkowski about making video game adaptations of his The Witcher novels, they offered him a percentage of the profits. Sapkowski didn't think they would make a dime, so he insisted on a single lump sum payment in exchange for the rights.
The Witcher video games would go on to make millions of dollars, which Andrzej Sapkowski never saw a penny of, due to the terrible deal he made. The silver lining is that The Witcher video games helped the novels become an international hit, which he would have profited from.
It seems that Andrzej Sapkowski finally wants a piece of The Witcher video games, as CD Projekt Red has released a statement on their website that says that Sapkowski has demanded the equivalent of sixteen million dollars from the company due to the success of the game's series.
CD Projekt Red has made it clear that they wish to abide by the original agreement, though they have stated that they want an amicable resolution to the situation.
It's possible that the buzz surrounding The Witcher Netflix series has prompted Andrzej Sapkowski to become bold and fight for a piece of The Witcher games. It would have made more sense to have pressed his claim when The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt was first released, which was when the series was most in the public's consciousness and CD Projekt Red may have been more willing to settle in order to avoid bad publicity.
It also would have made more sense to wait until The Witcher Netflix show was closer to release, in order to ride on the publicity of the show. As it stands, The Witcher is still in the pre-production stage of development.
You can't fault Andrzej Sapkowski for wanting to try and fight for a piece of The Witcher video games, as he has been missing out on millions of dollars for years now. The only question is whether he has any chance of winning any kind of legal battle, as his original legal agreement with CD Projekt Red is still in effect.