Some of the main developers behind the popular 2019 indie RPG Disco Elysium, including the author of the novel it is based on, no longer work at the studio that created it. The news was revealed in a blog post penned by one of the game’s editors, Martin Luiga, who claims studio leadership at ZA/UM ousted lead designers in late 2021 and has kept them secret ever since. The studio has also not been transparent about exactly what happened to the staff, according to two sources familiar with the situation.
ZA/UM started out as a collective of artists in Estonia before later transforming into an eponymous studio to develop one of its members’ books into one dungeons-inspired exploration of political economy and self-loathing. Studio ZA/UM is based in the UK and was released in 2019 Disco Elysiumwhich became a critical and financial success, earning multiple Game of the Year awards.
“I, Martin Luiga, founding member and secretary of the ZA/UM cultural association, as well as gathering together most of the core team, hereby dissolve the ZA/UM cultural association (not to be confused with the ZA/UM company, although I would like to note that since At the end of last year, neither Kurvitz, Hindpere nor Rostov work there and they left the company involuntarily,” said the former ZA/UM developer wrote in a Medium post on Oct. 1. “What would seem like bad news for the loving fans waiting for the disco sequel.”
Continue reading: A year later I still can’t stop thinking about it Disco Elysium
Robert Kurvitz was the main designer whose novel the game was based on. Aleksander Rostov was the leading artist whose impressionist oil paintings shaped the game’s aesthetic. And Helen Hindpere was one of the lead writers on the extraordinary screenplay of the game that took home the Best New Indie Game of the Year award Presenter Reggie Fils-Aime at the Game Awards 2019. Rostov confirmed the departures in a tweet attributed to all three members.
According to two sources familiar with the situation, the studio’s announcement of Kurvitz’s departure late last year also included threats of possible legal action against him. Any breakup would have been made even messier with Kurvitz and Rostov as shareholders of the studio, the sources said. It is also clear that ZA/UM did everything possible to try to keep the situation calm. kotaku picked up an interview with Kurvitz in February. The studio declined on his behalf, but gave no indication that the developer had already left the company.
While it’s not exactly clear why Kurvitz, Rostov, and Hindpere no longer work at ZA/UM, Luiga’s post and subsequent comments and tweets insinuate that the core team has been ousted from the studio’s business side. “The money people come from a background that says you have to grab when you can, even if it doesn’t make much sense economically,” he says tweeted.
In response to a commenter who claimed “the suits killed Disco,” Luiga posted a picture of the game’s executive producers, Tõnis Haavel and Kaur Kender. Haavel had previously been convicted Investment scams in Estoniawhile Kender was the one who initially convinced Kurvitz to write the book that would later inspire Disco Elysium. “Once we brought Kaur on board, everything just started to flow because Kaur has this superpower that’s very important in capitalism,” says Kurvitz said player radar in 2020. “He understands money.” Earlier this year, Amazon has signed a deal with DJ2 Entertainmentthe production company is currently planning film adaptations of Disco Elysium and a bunch of other games.
While ZA/UM has not officially announced a sequel to Disco ElysiumKurvitz had previously spoken about wanting to do something Baldur’s Gate 2 did for Baldur’s goal 1, strongly suggesting one was in the works. Job offers spotted earlier this year Including one for an environmental artist who mentioned extended worlds and “sci-fi” and one for a retail monitization specialist.
The studio has not yet commented directly on the latest allegations. “As with any video game, the development of Disco Elysium has been and continues to be a collective effort, where the contribution of each team member is essential and valued as part of a larger whole,” a spokesperson for ZA/UM told Kotaku in a statement. “At this time we have no further comment to make other than that the creative team at ZA/UM remains focused on developing our next project and we look forward to sharing more news on this soon.”
Luiga, Kurvitz, Rostov and Hindpere did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
https://kotaku.com/disco-elysium-2-zaum-amazon-allegations-narrative-rpg-1849608540 Disco Elysium Studio is accused of scrapping creators as sequel Looms