How The Witcher Franchise Became So Popular


In the realm of video games and literature, few franchises have achieved the level of acclaim and popularity that The Witcher has garnered. A mesmerizing blend of high-fantasy storytelling, intricate characters, and moral ambiguity, The Witcher franchise has captured the hearts of gamers and bookworms alike. Let’s embark on a journey through the history of The Witcher franchise, from its humble beginnings in Polish literature to its global multimedia success.

The Birth of a Literary Legend

The Witcher franchise was born in the mind of Andrzej Sapkowski, a Polish author who began writing short stories featuring Geralt of Rivia, a silver-haired monster hunter, in the late 1980s. The original short story collections, Sword of Destiny (1992) and The Last Wish (1993), laid the groundwork for all that was to come. Sapkowski’s tales introduced readers to a dark and morally complex world where sorcery, political intrigue, and mythical creatures intertwined. His works, which often subverted traditional fantasy tropes, resonated with readers and quickly gained a devoted following.

The publication of Sapkowski’s first book, Blood of Elves, in 1994 marked the official beginning of The Witcher Saga. Next came Time of Contempt (1995), Baptism of Fire (1996), The Tower of the Swallow (1997), and The Lady of the Lake (1999). In 2001, a film based on the books was released in Poland. The movie, entitled Wiedźmin (in English: The Hexer), was not well received, but the franchise prevailed. Over the next two decades, Sapkowski’s literary universe expanded with a 2013 novel titled Season of Storms, more short stories, comic books, and spin-offs, solidifying Geralt’s place as one of the most iconic figures in fantasy literature.

The Rise of Geralt in Video Games

It wasn’t until 2007 that Geralt of Rivia made his digital debut in the video game adaptation The Witcher. Developed by CD Projekt Red, this action RPG was a significant departure from the typical high-fantasy games of the time. It offered players a gritty and morally ambiguous world where choices had real consequences. Players took on the role of the Witcher, navigating a complex narrative filled with all the political intrigue, monstrous adversaries, and challenging moral dilemmas typically present in Geralt’s adventures.

While the game was not canon to the books and comics, its success was immediate, earning praise for its mature storytelling, well-crafted characters, and captivating open world. It also introduced gamers to the character-driven narrative that would become a hallmark of The Witcher franchise. The Witcher spawned two sequels, with The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (2015) being a critical and commercial juggernaut, earning numerous Game of the Year awards and cementing Geralt as a gaming icon.

The Witcher’s Leap to Television

While the video game adaptations of Sapkowski’s works brought The Witcher to a global audience, it was Netflix’s live-action television series that propelled the franchise to new heights. Premiering in December 2019, The Witcher series starred Henry Cavill as Geralt and introduced viewers to a rich and complex world filled with magic, politics, and dangerous creatures.

The series, while drawing inspiration from the books and games, carved out its own unique identity, captivating both existing fans and newcomers. It embraced the morally gray world of The Witcher, exploring themes of discrimination, destiny, and the consequences of choice. The show’s compelling characters, including Geralt, Yennefer, and Ciri, became fan favorites, and its blend of swordplay and sorcery set a new standard for fantasy television.

Expanding the Witcher Universe

As The Witcher franchise continued to soar, CD Projekt Red announced plans to expand the gaming universe with spin-off titles. Gwent: The Witcher Card Game (2018) brought the card game from the main series to life as a standalone experience. Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales (2018) provided a single-player RPG experience in the same universe, further enriching the lore.

Additionally, the success of The Witcher series on Netflix led to the development of spin-off projects, including the animated film The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf, which depicts the origin story of Geralt’s mentor, Vesemir, and a prequel series titled The Witcher: Blood Origin, exploring the origins of the Witchers and the world they inhabit. These projects aimed to deepen the franchise’s lore and satisfy the growing appetite of fans worldwide.


The Witcher franchise’s journey from the pages of Polish literature to the screens of video games and television has been nothing short of extraordinary. It has transcended cultural boundaries, enrapturing fans with its morally complex storytelling, memorable characters, and immersive worlds.

As The Witcher franchise continues to evolve and expand, it remains a testament to the enduring power of storytelling and the enduring appeal of Geralt of Rivia. Whether through books, games, or television, The Witcher has enchanted audiences around the globe, cementing its place as a beloved and enduring fantasy saga. With each new installment, it invites us to delve deeper into the dark, enchanting world of Geralt, where choices have consequences, and the line between hero and villain is often blurred.