A former Disco Elysium lead designer is suing Studio ZA/UM

No word yet as to what the suit is about… but we can probably guess

Disco Elysium is widely regarded as one of the best narrative games of all time, and fans have been anxiously awaiting any news of a follow-up from its developer, Studio ZA/UM. Recently, however, there have been some internal issues with the studio, with the studio fracturing and many of the key Disco Elysium devs “involuntarily” splitting from the company entirely, namely writer and designer Robert Kurvitz, co-writer Helen Hindpere, and lead artist Aleksander Rostov.  It appears that the inter-studio drama will continue for a while, because now Kurvitz has filed a lawsuit against what remains of ZA/UM.

Originally reported by Tech News Space, a document appeared on the official website of the Estonian court filed on behalf of Kurvitz’s new company Telomer, with the defendant listed as Studio ZA/UM. We still don’t know what the nature of the case is as of yet, but we do know that the hearing is set for November 28 of this year. Some fans have started pondering whether the lawsuit could be in regards to the rights to the Disco Elysium IP, seeing as Kurvitz had previously published a novel set in the universe years before the game saw the light of day.

The whole situation is still shrouded in NDA-related red tape, but a post by former ZA/UM editor and co-founder Martin Luiga did shed some light on things, stating that “The reason for dissolving the cultural organization is that it no longer represents the ethos it was founded on.” Sounds to me like the studio became a victim of its own success — Disco Elysium is a nuanced, stylish deconstruction of capitalism, and when investors start dipping their hands in and messing with the artistic vision, well, it kind of defeats the purpose. This is all my own speculation of course, and for now we’ll just have to wait and see how this lawsuit between Telomer and ZA/UM is going to work out.

Noelle Warner