The Disco Elysium Collage mode releases today, a sudden free update that's clearly going to have the fan community salivating, as it's an art tool/photo mode that allows players to create scenes within the game itself! Any character, any location, any dialogue, with a range of filters, poses and more to tinker with. Revachol is about to get even more surreal.
I got to toy with Collage Mode for a couple of days in advance, and in accordance with the tone of the game, the results varied from tragic farce to farcical tragedy, from sudden brawls to cosmic absurdities. Plus I made the Insulindian Phasmid buy snacks from the Frittte Kiosk. Poor guy was stick-thin as it was.
The whole world's a wooden house…
I'm not sure if there's a name for this kind of mode beyond simply calling it an art tool, but I found myself thinking of it as a "scenemaker", a mode where you can place NPCs in environments of your choice and overlay various effects. Once you like what you see – snap! Hit the photo icon to get a screenshot saved and downloaded to your device.
And credit to it, it's pretty elastic as these things go. Every single NPC in the game is included, including a bunch who you probably don't even remember and others who you'd assume wouldn't have made the cut, like the murder victim and the rich guy who manifests as a singularity of light. The vast majority of these characters have a huge range of poses you can put them into, and you can tinker with scale, rotation and positioning as much as you want.
Beyond that, the environment is pretty compliant too. Almost any location in the game is up for grabs, and while you can't choose the angle because of DE's forced three-quarters perspective, you can zoom in and out, change weather, the time of day, then add various prop/stickers, filters and frames on top of the whole thing. You can even construct your own dialogue boxes that match those in the game, if you're so inclined – string some of these images together and you could build elaborate Disco Elysium comic books!
… And you're a goddamn flamethrower
As a diehard Disco Elysium fan, I found the whole thing pretty fun to play with, if muddled by a slightly fiddly UI at times. The range of poses for characters really is vast (even if it caused a few outliers to clip into themselves at times), and ZA/UM's watercolour-smeared abstract impressionism has always been hauntingly beautiful. And even then, the comedic asides that the game is famous for mean that practically any scene can be justified, even if it's just thought of as Harry's drug-addled dreaming.
Aside from the Phasmid stopping at the corner shop, I also had embarrassing selfies with Harry and Kim, a martial arts showdown over a broken albatross, an even more chaotic karaoke night at the Whirling-in-Rags, and a few mandatory artsy-fartsy shots with monochromatic filters over them. My only major complaint was a filmic filter that I couldn't work out how to get rid of, though whether that was an option I just couldn't find or a genuine limitation of the mode, I never did deduce.
But regardless, the whole thing is very charming, and in a press release with the developers, they let it be known that future updates may add even more content! Some of Collage Mode's stickers were already created by a paid fan of the game, and the Disco devs do seem to listen to their audience pretty closely as a rule. And while there's no dedicated sharing mode attached – that's what Twitter and Reddit are for, right?
The Disco Elysium Collage Mode is a free update for the game available today, so if you want to make Evrart Claire ballet dance or watch Measurehead get pushed into the sea by Cuno – now's the perfect time.
Keep track of all of the releases on the horizon with our roundup of new games for 2023.