The history of The Witcher: beyond the Road With No Return

By Stephany Nunneley, Monday, 26 January 2015 15:01 GMT

We take a look at The Witcher franchise, from the original short stories to its blockbuster video games.

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The world was first introduced to Geralt through a set of short stories called The Witcher (English translation) written by author Andrzej Sapkowski. The first short story was published in the Polish fantasy and science fiction magazine Fantastyka as part of a contest held by the magazine, where it won third place.

The Witcher Short Stories

  • The Witcher (1986) (four short stories, including The Road with No Return)
  • The Sword of Destiny (Collection) (1992) (English – UK 2015; US – TBA)
  • The Last Wish (Collection) (1993) (English – UK 2006; US – 2008)

All fifteen of the short stories were collected into three books and published by superNOWA.

The Witcher Saga

  • Blood of Elves (1994) (English – UK 2008; US- 2009)
  • Time of Contempt (1995) (English 2013)
  • Baptism of Fire (1996) (English 2014)
  • The Swallow’s Tower (1997) (English – UK 2016; US – TBA)
  • Lady of the Lake (1999) (English – UK 2017; US TBA)
  • Something Ends, Something Begins (2000) (contains two stories from The Witcher saga)
  • Season of Storms (2013)

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The popularity of the books in Poland eventually led to the release of comics as well as the critically panned film and the short-lived television series based on the adventures of Geralt called The Hexer.

Six comics were also produced based on the novels and were created by Maciej Parowski (story), Bogusław Polch (art), and Andrzej Sapkowski.

Comics (1993-1995)

  • The Road with No Return
  • Geralt
  • Lesser Evil
  • The Last Wish
  • Border of Ability
  • Betrayal

Dark Horse comics announced in 2014 it would release House of Glass, a series based on The Witcher games and written by Paul Tobin. Art was handled by Joe Querio with help from colorist Carlos Badilla.

  • The Witcher #1 (Darkhorse, March 2014)
  • The Witcher #2 (April 2014)
  • The Witcher #3 (May 2014)
  • The Witcher #4 (June 2014)
  • The Witcher #5 (July 2014)
  • The Witcher: Volume One – contains all five releases (September 2014)

Dark Horse announced a second series during NYCC in October 2014. Called The Witcher: Fox Children, issue number one will be released on April 15, 2015.

A hardback book titled The World of the Witcher is also in production and will be released on May 20, 2015. It contains 184 pages in which prominent characters from The Witcher provide a guided tour of the locales, deadly beasts and the weapons “used to put them down.”

Film and television

  • The Hexer (2001 film)
  • The Hexer (2002 TV series)

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Let the games begin

The Witcher short stories and novels were so popular in Poland, obviously the next step was the development of a video game series.

CD Projekt RED wasn’t the first studio to thing of the idea: Polish development studio Metropolis started developing a 3D action-adventure game called The Witcher in 1996. The game’s director was Adrian Chmielarz (The Vanishing of Ethan Carter), fomer co-owner of Bulletstorm developer People Can Fly. Chmielarz was the one who originally translated and coined the term “The Witcher” during the development process.

TopWare was set to publish the game, but development was eventually halted as other projects were more of a priority. Chmielarz left Metropolis in 1999.

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The Games

  • The Witcher (2006 – PC)
  • The Witcher Enhanced Edition (2008)
  • The Witcher: Director’s Cut (2009)
  • The Witcher: Rise of the White Wolf (2009 – canceled port for PS3, Xbox 360)
  • The Witcher: Crimson Trail (2007 – mobile)
  • The Witcher: Versus (2008 – discontinued  Flash-based browser fighter)
  • The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings (2011 – PC; 2012- Xbox 360)
  • The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings – Enhanced Edition (2012)
  • The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (May 2015 – PC, PS4, Xbox One)
  • The Witcher: Battle Arena (2015 – mobile MOBA)

Card games

  • The Witcher: Adventure Cardgame (available in Polish gaming stores)
  • The Witcher Promo Card Game (included in Collector’s Edition of The Witcher)
  • Gwent (The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt in-game card game; physical version included with Limited Edition for Xbox One)

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Board game: The Witcher Adventure Game (2014 – digital and physical versions)

More on The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

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