Disco Elysium Sequel Development in Peril with Studio’s Troubled State

Everyone is blaming each other.

ZA/UM CEO says that the fate of Disco Elysium is now vague after it was revealed that the state of the studio is in big trouble.

Disco Elysium Dev CEO Accused of Fraud

In an interview with People Make Games, CEO Ilmar Kompus made a statement in regard to his getting asked about his buyout of shares in the company and whether or not he illegally used company money to do so.

“The status of this sequel is something that has been jeopardized by this PR campaign as such, and the conflict as such,” Kompus said. ZA/UM is still facing another legal battle, this time with writer Robert Kurvitz who claims he was fired under false premises. He was let go together with Aleksander Rostov and Helen Hindpere. There was a lawsuit filed by former executive producer Kaur Kender but that was dropped.

Kurvitz, Rostov, and Hindpere Fired

It was revealed that the three execs were let go in late 2021, but were announced publicly just under a year later. Kurvitz claimed that he and Rostov were fired when they started asking about Kompus’ share buyout by using fraud. The studio also accused Kurvitz and former minority shareholder Saander Taal of “belittling women and co-workers,” which created a toxic environment and intending to steal IP. Hindpere was fired after this.

Accuse the Accuser

In their interviews, the three former execs stated that they were being separated from the development team by management. Hindpere recalls that she was not told about deadlines for the script during the development of The Final Cut.

CEO Accuses Writer of IP Theft

In the video of PMG, Kompus detailed the allegation of IP theft. He claims that Kurvitz had asked lead technologist Petteri Sulonen to share the game’s source code with him. It was his intention to take the source code and start a new studio to work on the sequel. Sulonen did not say what really happened between him and Kurvitz, but he did confirm to PMG that he agreed with the statement made by Kompus.

Staff Share Experiences with Trio

Other team members have also shared their experiences working with Kurvitz, Rostov, and Hindpere. One of the writers, Argo Tuulik said that Kurvitz’ feedback is demoralizing, short, and inconsiderate. Tuulik and their fellow writer Justin Keenan and lead artist Kaspar Tamsalu claim that the trio neglected their development duties for The Final Cut.

Kurvitz is alleged to have an inner circle and started to discuss taking a select few people with him to start a new project. Others claim that they have been approached by Kurvitz for this project. Kurvitz was alleged to have wanted Keenan and Tamsalu to have creative control over the project and once it was a success they would tell the executive producers that Kurvitz could be trusted to be reinstated as creative director of Disco Elysium 2.

Kurvitz was accused of improper behavior. He asked to set a task for two junior writers with the potential of earning themselves a place on the core writing team for the sequel. Kurvitz was going to give them feedback, but asked Keenan to do it for him instead. “Just tell them the work was really good.” He was also told that Kurvitz has made the decision that they are not going to be on the core team right away. Kurvitz assured Keenan that he had looked at the work done by the junior writers, only to find out from one of those writers that Kurvitz lied to him.

Kurvitz Denies Allegations

Kurvitz dismissed these allegations when asked for a comment, saying that these were just bait by Kompus and his business partner Tonis Haavel to distract from their alleged fraud.

Sequel Development is Doomed

No one knows who is telling the truth from this video, but one thing is for certain: Disco Elysium 2’s future is doomed.

Former News Editor