Disco Elysium is never getting a sequel or spin-off, says final original writer to be laid off at ZA/UM

2 months ago 90

“The individuals of ZA/UM, the cultural movement, have left the corporate body behind.”

Harrier Du Bois and Kim Kitsuragi in Disco Elysium. Image credit: VG247/ZA/UM

The last writer who worked on the original Disco Elysium to be laid off by ZA/UM has said that he believes that it “will forever stay a one-game studio”, amid layoffs that are reportedly coming as part of the cancellation of an expansion for the game.

It’s been a turbulent time for those working at the studio that released the very unique and interesting detective game back in 2019, as a documentary released by People Make Games in May last year explored.

Now, according to a report from GLHF, ZA/UM is planning to make somewhere in the region of 24 staff redundant after the studio cancelled a standalone Disco Elysium expansion. This project, codenamed X7, was reportedly “one to two years away from completion”, and if it’s been called off, it would join a Disco Elysium sequel and an unnamed new sci-fi game on the list of projects that ZA/UM has either abandoned or paused in recent years.

In a separate report, two of the writers on X7, Argo Tuulik and Dora Klindžić have discussed the current atmosphere at the studio, with Tuulik, the last writer from the original Disco Elysium to be left at the studio, suggesting that he thinks it “will forever stay a one-game studio.”

“The individuals of ZA/UM, the cultural movement, have left the corporate body behind like the King Cobra slithering out of its dead skin,” he said: “Remember, we promised: Un jour je serai de retour près de toi.”

Klindžić, meanwhile, told GLHF that “the last two months of X7 were rife with crunch, burnout and conflict”, and likened having joined the studio in 2022 to “being born into Yugoslavia in the '90s”.

The report describes a meeting led by ZA/UM CEO Ilmar Kompus, his brother-in-law Tõnis Haavel and studio president Ed Tomaszewski, which saw the cancellation of X7 be announced along with redundancies. This was reportedly followed by letters from HR being delivered to affected staff that Tuulik alleges told them “that each employee is gonna have a score assigned to them based on objectively applied selection criteria and the lowest scoring people are gonna go on the chopping board.”

Klindžić also claimed regarding the layoffs and issues around X7: “a lot of the people who were impacted the hardest and who raised complaints about working conditions ended up being the people targeted for redundancy today.”

We at VG247 have reached out to ZA/UM about these reports and will update this article as soon as is possible if/when we receive a response or if ZA/UM issues a public statement.

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