The Polish company behind a LARP experience inspired by the Witcher series is facing bankruptcy after the event's license was pulled by CD Projekt Red.
In a recent Facebook (opens in new tab) post (via Eurogamer (opens in new tab)), Polish events company 5 Żywiołów explained that in late February, CDPR "took away our license for Witcher School with a three-month notice." Four previous-scheduled School events have continued to take place, but now that those events are done, the Witcher School is unlikely to return. According to company co-founder Dastin Wawrzyniak and his brother Dominik, that's likely to mean bankruptcy for 5 Żywiołów when compounded with the difficulties of the Covid pandemic.
The brothers allege that CD Projekt Red opted to pull the license due to the activity of a former staff member, Ania Wawrzyniak, Dastin's wife. Ania, who worked for the company in a legal capacity for two years between 2017 and 2019, has since been providing "legal expertises [sic]" for a company called Ordo Iuris. Described as "ultra-conservative," Ordo Iuris is a Polish-Catholic think tank, and is known for its right-wing activism around issues including abortion and LBGT rights.
In their post, Dastin and Dominik repeatedly state their company's apolitcal nature, claiming that "we categorically separate the private sphere of employees' lives [...] from the professional sphere." However, when Ania's involvement with Ordo Iuris was made known in Polish media earlier this year, CD Projekt Red removed the license from the school "with immediate effect."
Dastin and Dominik suggested back in February that as the company approach bankruptcy, they would turn their focus to a documentary about cancel culture, to be paid for by a fundraising effort. According to Eurogamer, however, that fundraising effort doesn't seem to have manifested at time of writing.
In a statement provided to Eurogamer, CD Projekt Red said "In February we decided to end our cooperation with the organisers of Witcher School and now the contractual notice period of three months has ended. For more context, this cooperation was about the LARP itself, and potential merchandise tied to it. We do not provide further details on the matter."
While the LARP might be coming to an end, the rest of the Witcher franchise is in impressive health. Work on The Witcher 4 is underway alongside another Gwent-style game, and filming has already begun on The Witcher season 3 on Netflix.
We're some way of The Witcher 4, so here are some new games 2022 to look forward to instead.