A real-life Witcher school live-action role-playing event in Poland will be closing down, and its organizers have cited CD Projekt Red’s decision to pull its license as the reason behind the closure. 5 Żywiołów, the company behind the school that taught fencing, leatherwork, how to cast magical signs, and more, claimed in a Facebook post (via Eurogamer) that CDPR “terminated the license agreement” with a three-month notice back in February due to negative media attention that staff member Anna Wawrzyniak had generated.
Wawrzyniak, who is the wife of 5 Żywiołów founder Dastin Wawrzyniak, worked as a lawyer for the company from 2017-2019 and was commissioned by the ultra-conservative Polish Catholic organization Ordo Iuris to work on “the legal mechanisms for introducing and enforcing the vaccination obligation and the possible consequences of failure to comply with it.” She was also working on “the draft of a law penalizing illegal abortion,” according to the Facebook post.
Ordo Iuris has been reported to be an anti-abortion and anti-LGBTQ+ organization, according to Polish media reports, and after 5 Żywiołów contacted CD Projekt Red to explain why Wawrzyniak was in these news stories, the publisher decided to cancel its licensing agreement with the live-action role-playing school.
5 Żywiołów added that it had always strived to keep its employees’ personal and professional lives separate. “We still do not plan to evaluate the views and activities in the private sphere of our colleagues and participants,” it wrote in in response to a comment on the Facebook post. “This would open a Pandora’s box full of prejudices and quarrels.”
In a statement shared with 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.”
The company plans to launch a new LARP experience based on an original setting in Spring 2023. Meanwhile, The Witcher series is returning, with a new game in development that has just concluded its “research phase.” Unlike previous Witcher games, The Witcher 4 will be developed on Unreal Engine 5 as part of a multi-year development deal with Epic Games.