Netflix’s TV adaptation of The Witcher, as we know, is based directly on Andrzej Sapkowski’s original novels rather than CD Projekt Red’s game series, but if you’ve played the games and watched the show, you may have noticed a hint or two that there’s at least a little crossover. A musical sting near the end of an episode uses a vocal melody from The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, for instance. Showrunner and writer Lauren Hissrich has confirmed that she took at least a couple hints from the Witcher games in shaping her vision of the world.
Hissrich appears on episode 85 of The Writer Experience podcast, and talks at length about the creation of season one of The Witcher. The discussion is wide-ranging, and it’s all interesting stuff for long-time fans of Sapkowski’s fantasy world – whether you arrived there through the books, the games, or the TV series.
Toward the end, though, Hissrich lets on that while she isn’t a gamer herself, she did find some inspiration for the show while watching a friend play the games.
“I took in the visuals of the world, and what I will say is that’s probably the biggest thing I took from the games,” Hissrich said. “Oftentimes, people think of fantasy as being very dirty and gritty and horrible and everything’s dark, and the truth is, The Witcher has a lot of colour, it has a lot of light, a lot of everything to it.”
While the Witcher games certainly don’t shy away from griminess or grit, it’s certainly true that they’re also beautiful – particularly Assassins of Kings and Wild Hunt. Riding through a field of sunflowers in the Witcher 3 during a sunset, for instance, produces a vivid and beautiful spectrum of colour.
“That’s something that I saw in the game, I saw how beautiful the world could be,” Hissrich said. “What a great balance for fantasy! This is real life, right? Even in tragedy in real life, the sun still rises, and it sets, and that can still be beautiful, even if there’s a war going on next door.”
Hissrich also said she wanted to make sure that fans of the games got a few knowing nods from the show.
“There’s a lot of little Easter eggs in the show,” she said. “[They’re] basically just there to let videogamers know that we know you’re here too, and we know that you love The Witcher… and we just want to throw out a few little things to you as well.”
Sapkowski has taken his own approach to interviews since The Witcher debuted on Netflix, saying that he was initially reluctant about the prospect of a TV adaptation, but saying it “wouldn’t be decent” to lavish praise on it now – since his name is in the credits, too.