Disco Elysium
Image: ZA/UM

It's been confirmed that key creative figures behind the remarkable RPG Disco Elysium are no longer employed at developer ZA/UM.

The news initially broke via Martin Luiga, a founding member and Secretary of the ZA/UM cultural association, who announced in a blog post that the cultural association would be dissolving. Although this is a separate entity to the ZA/UM development company, he mentions that lead writer/designer Robert Kurvitz, artist Aleksander Rostov, and writer Helen Hindpere had left ZA/UM involuntarily:

"I, Martin Luiga, 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 (not to be confused with the ZA/UM company, on which subject I would note that neither Kurvitz, Hindpere nor Rostov are working there since the end of last year and their leaving the company was involuntary. Which would seem like bad news for the loving fans that are waiting for the Disco sequel.)"

The news was subsequently confirmed by all three developers in a brief statement posted to Rostov's Twitter page:

Eurogamer has also reported on a statement issued by ZA/UM itself, confirming that the studio remains focused on the development of its next project:

"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."

As for what exactly this project might be, the general consensus is that it is likely a sequel to Disco Elysium. Indeed, Martin Luiga more or less confirmed as much in a Twitter response, stating that "I think that things with the sequel are actually sweet enough, you might even get it the way it was meant, it might take a s**t ton of time but RPG fans are sorta accustomed to waiting, ain't they".

Regardless, the impact of Kurvitz, Rostov, and Hindpere leaving the company cannot be overstated. Disco Elysium was, of course, Kurvitz's baby; the game is set in the same universe as the novel Sacred and Terrible Air, a piece of work wholly written by Kurvitz and released in Estonia back in 2013. How much of Disco Elysium's sequel Kurvitz managed to work on is unknown at this stage, but his departure may signal a drastic change in direction for the company going forwards.

What do you think of this news from ZA/UM? Are you still hoping for a Disco Elysium sequel in spite of this? Let us know with a comment.

[source medium.com, via twitter.com, eurogamer.net]