Developer ZA/UM has responded to the news that key members of the Disco Elysium team have departed the studio involuntarily.
In a statement to IGN, a ZA/UM spokesperson put emphasis on Disco Elysium being a team effort, and said development continues on the studio’s next game:
“Like any video game, the development of Disco Elysium was and still is a collective effort, with every team member’s contribution essential and valued as part of a greater whole. At this time, we have no further comment to make other than the ZA/UM creative team’s focus remains on the development of our next project, and we are excited to share more news on this with you all soon.”
Following Martin Luiga’s message, Robert Kurvitz, Helen Hindpere and Aleksander Rostov confirmed that they were no longer with the studio. No further information has been offered about the circumstances of the departures.
According to Martin Luiga, an editor on ZA/UM’s Disco Elysium, key members of the company, including lead writer and designer Robert Kurvitz, writer Helen Hindpere, and lead of art and design Aleksander Rostov, have left the company in an “involuntary” manner.
Luiga shared the update on Medium.com, saying that he, a “founding member and Secretary of the ZA/UM cultural association, as well as the assembler of most of the core team, am hereby dissolving the ZA/UM cultural association.” Luiga also notes that these three core members had not been working at ZA/UM “since the end of last year and their leaving the company was involuntary.” Furthermore, he says this would “seem like bad news for the loving fans that are waiting for the Disco sequel.”
The ZA/UM cultural association is different from the studio ZA/UM that developed Disco Elysium, and Luiga says that he chose to dissolve the cultural organization as it “no longer represents the ethos it was founded on.”
“People and ideas are meant to be eternal; organizations may well be temporary,” Luiga continued. “I find that the organization was successful overall and most of the mistakes that were made were contingent, determined by the sociocultural conditions we were thrown into. I still encourage people to organize, and I would say that one of the qualities that the ZA/UM cultural organization sorely lacked was pretty much any formal structure. For a while, it was beautiful. My sincerest thanks to all that have rooted for us.”
In the comments of the post, Luiga appears to place some of the blame for this situation on the investors of ZA/UM while also admitting Disco Elysium may not have happened without them in the first place.
“Imagine a kleptomaniac, if you will,” Luiga said. “Only that instead of stealing, say, ‘A Lolly pop,’ they take pains to manipulate dozens of people to steal, in the end, from themselves, just because they happen to be very proficient in that kind of an operation. It’s what they always do, really. One of them was the first guy to be convicted for investment fraud in Estonia. All the same, idk if we would have managed to get the initial investment without these people.”
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While this may not be the best news for those waiting on the sequel to Disco Elysium, Luiga wrote on Twitter that he believes “things with the sequel are actually sweet enough, you might even get it the way it was meant, it might take a shit ton of time but RPG fans are sorta accustomed to waiting, ain’t they.”
In our rare 10/10 review of Disco Elysium – The Final Cut, we said that it is a “unique blend of noir-detective fiction, traditional pen-and-paper RPGs, and a large helping of existentialist theory,” and the Final Cut elevates the game from “an already phenomenal RPG to a true must-play masterpiece.”
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Adam Bankhurst is a news writer for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter @AdamBankhurst and on Twitch.