A real-life Witcher school in Poland has had its license pulled by CD Projekt Red—a move that the organisation's co-founders claim is related to a former staff member's employment by the ultra-conservative organisation Ordo Iuris.
5 Żywiołów (5 Elements) launched its Witcher school LARP in 2015, conducting 40 events over seven years with around 3,000 participants. But in February, co-founders Dominik and Dastin Wawrzyniak announced in a lengthy Facebook post (opens in new tab) that CDPR had revoked the Witcher license (thanks, Eurogamer).
The two claim that the reason is due to Dastin's wife, Ania Wawrzyniak, and her ties to Ordo Iuris. It's a pretty bigoted Catholic anti-abortion organisation that has for years attempted to quash the rights of both women and the LGBTQ+ community. Along with working at 5 Żywiołów for two years as a lawyer, Ania also provided "legal expertise" for Ordo Iuris, including: "the legal mechanisms for introducing and enforcing the vaccination obligation and the possible consequences of failure to comply with it, and the draft of a law penalising illegal abortion."
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The post alleged that Ania's work for Ordo Iuris did not reflect her own views, continuing: "Our team has always consisted of people representing the entire spectrum of political, social and moral views, including people whose views on many issues were extremely different (also involved in the activities of organisations no less controversial than OI)—the only criterion for their employment was their professional competence."
CD Projekt Red did not comment on whether Ania's involvement with Ordo Iuris was the reason for removing 5 Żywiołów's license, instead citing merchandising. "In February we decided to end our cooperation with the organisers of Witcher School," the developer said in a statement to Eurogamer. "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."
Regardless, 5 Żywiołów said in a recent update that it was planning to forge ahead without the Witcher brand. "We are creating a new world," a Facebook post (opens in new tab) from May read. "Our own universe, which will be thought-out in such a way that LARPs organised in it are as good as possible and that it will enable unlimited possibilities in the future." The company is also planning to release a short movie acting as "a kind of memorial dedicated to the Witcher School."