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Disco Elysium Studio Sheds Key Staff In "Involuntary" Shake-Up

A recent Medium post suggests that several creative staff behind Disco Elysium have "involuntarily" departed from the ZA/UM company.


A Medium post from a co-founder of Disco Elysium studio and art collective ZA/UM raised eyebrows over the weekend by suggesting that several of the key creative leads behind the game have left the company. Now, three of those staffers have confirmed that they no longer work at the acclaimed developer, leaving fans wondering just what happened.

The three staffers in question are lead writer and designer Robert Kurvitz, lead artist Aleksander Rostov, and writer Helen Hindpere. The Medium post in question, written by Martin Luiga--a founding member of ZA/UM and an editor on Disco Elysium--announced the dissolution of ZA/UM as an art collective, as well as the departures of Kurvitz, Rostov, and Hindpere.

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In the post, Luiga states that the staffers left the company sometime near the end of 2021, and that their leaving the company was "involuntary." He also says that this means "bad news" for fans who are waiting for a follow-up to Disco Elysium. The three creatives confirmed that they no longer work at the company via a tweet from Rostov's account. In a comment on the post, Luiga seems to point to the initial investors in the game as the source of the discord, comparing them to "a kleptomaniac manipulating dozens of people to steal from themselves."

After news of the departures broke, ZA/UM (the studio) sent the following statement to IGN:

"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."

Overall, this is a messy situation that we may never get the full details on. In a follow-up tweet, Luiga said that fans might have reason to be optimistic, and that the sequel may turn out just fine. However, given that these three staffers represent a large portion of the talent that went into Disco Elysium--including Kurvitz, who first detailed the setting of the game in the novel Sacred and Terrible Air--it's unclear how this might impact the development of a sequel or follow-up to what is widely considered one of the greatest RPGs of all time. In fact, it got a rare 10/10 score from us here at GameSpot.

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