Disco Elysium creator is suing developer ZA/UM

Disco Elysium
(Image credit: ZA/UM )

Disco Elysium lead designer Robert Kurvitz is suing developer Studio ZA/UM after recently being forced to involuntarily leave the company.

The Disco Elysium designer filed his grievance with Estonian Courts (via TechNewsSpace) against the game’s publisher Studio ZA/UM. Details and reasoning are not yet clear, though we know a hearing will be held on November 28. Due to the unceremonious departure of Kurvitz, alongside other key creatives at the studio, this isn’t a particularly surprising lawsuit. 

Alongside Kurvitz, writer Helen Hindpere, and art director Aleksander Rostov also left, meaning much of the creative driving force behind Disco Elysium is no longer with its publisher. At the time, ZA/UM founder Martin Luiga confirmed the departures, including his own, suggesting it was far from the team’s choice. He also seemingly confirmed in a cryptic reply to a fan that part of the reason for the departure was investor related. 

The exact claims of the lawsuit aren't clear, but there's speculation that it could be tied to the rights of Disco Elysium. Kurvitz wrote a book titled Sacred and Terrible Air which was published in 2013, set in the same world as Disco Elysium, and Kurvitz might try to claim the rights back from ZA/UM. For now, though, that is all speculation. 

This whole situation has thrown a prospective Disco Elysium sequel, and the creative team behind it into disarray. With such a beloved first game, it’s a sad state of affairs that the team and IP have been ripped apart after just one game. ZA/UM was said to be working on a game that involves sci-fi and space, but now it’s not clear what the future holds for any party. Hopefully, however this ends, something that recaptures the spirit and ideas of Disco Elysium can come from the creative minds behind the first. 

Want to know more about the game? Check out our feature on The Making of Disco Elysium.  

Guides Editor at TechRadar

Patrick Dane is currently the Guides Editor at TechRadar. However, he was formerly a freelance games journalist writing for sites and publications such as GamesRadar, Metro, IGN, Eurogamer, PC Gamer, and the International Business Times, among others. He was also once the Managing Editor for Bleeding Cool.