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The Witcher coming to Netflix as a TV series

TimeOdd Stories - Netflix

Netflix announced today that it is working with Polish production and visual effects company Platige Image to create an English-language TV series based on the world of The Witcher.

The series is technically based directly on the Witcher novels and story collections by Polish writer Andrzej Sapkowski, according to the announcement, But those stories (and the world in which they’re set) have become internationally famous primarily through a series of video game adaptations by developer CD Projekt Red. Earlier this year, the developer announced that the game series had sold over 25 million copies since its launch in 2007.

“I’m thrilled that Netflix will be doing an adaptation of my stories, staying true to the source material and the themes that I have spent over 30 years writing,” Sapkowski, who will serve as creative consultant on the series, said in a statement. “I’m excited about our efforts together, as well as the team assembled to shepherd these characters to life.”

“The Witcher stories follow an unconventional family that comes together to fight for truth in a dangerous world,” added executive producers Sean Daniel and Jason Brown (both of whom worked on The Expanse). “The characters are original, funny and constantly surprising, and we can’t wait to bring them to life at Netflix, the perfect home for innovative storytelling.”

A new direction for game adaptations

The Witcher is far from the first video game to be adapted to a less interactive small-screen format, of course, but most previous video game-based TV shows have been animated cartoons targeted at children. The few live-action game-to-TV examples have usually been game shows like Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego, promotional Web series like Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn, or odd live-action/animated hybrids like the Super Mario Bros. Super Show.

The last standard live-action drama based on a game to air on American TV was Mortal Kombat Conquest, which ran in syndication and on TNT in 1998 and 1999.

Live-action adaptations of video games have primarily been reserved for the movies. In fact, the production companies behind the new Witcher series originally planned to make a Witcher movie back in 2015. And while game-based movies are almost always critically panned, they can occasionally be very lucrative at the box office. Plenty of unlikely games have been optioned for movie adaptations in recent years (see: plans for a Tetris movie), though those deals can often get mired in development hell (see J.J. Abrams’ long-stalled movie collaboration with Valve).
The popular Witcher property might have an easier time of adaptation than those examples, though. The complex, sword-and-sorcery-infused saga seems tailor-made for a television environment where every network and streaming service is chasing after their own Game of Thrones-style hit.

The Witcher announcement follows a report from last year that Netflix was working on a Legend of Zelda series, though Nintendo eventually denied those reports and no new details have since emerged.

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Written by TimeOdd

TimeOdd is a leading technology media property, dedicated to obsessively profiling startups, reviewing new Internet products, and breaking tech news.

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