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Things Are Looking Grim For Disco Elysium 2

The unique genre-fusing RPG "Disco Elysium" was something of an surprise hit, especially when one considers that it was the first release from UK-based game development studio ZA/UM. Its non-traditional playstyle, gorgeous artstyle, and existentialist story made it a near-instant hit with the gaming community, and its success has even led to the development of a "Disco Elysium" TV series on Amazon Prime Video. After winning several awards, including Best Narrative, Best RPG, and Best Indie at the 2019 Game Awards, it's no wonder there are plans to make a sequel. Fans of "Disco Elysium" may he disheartened to learn, though, that core members of the team at ZA/UM were forced to leave the studio.

In a blog posted to Medium on October 1, 2022, ZA/UM founding member Martin Luiga announced that the original collective that established the ZA/UM Studio would be dissolved, as it "no longer represents the ethos it was founded on." In the post, Luiga revealed that not only does he no longer works for the studio, three other members of the team were also "involuntarily let go" at the end of 2021, confirmed by lead designer Aleksander Rostov. This means that Rostov, writer Helen Hindpere, and lead writer Robert Kurvitz have not been involved with the company for almost an entire year. 

Many fans weren't aware of these changes, and a number of gamers have already expressed their disappointment in the turn of events. Some have even begun to worry about the "Disco Elysium" sequel.

ZA/UM and the future of Disco Elysium 2

Founded in 2009, the ZA/UM cultural association is a collective of artists, designers, and writers whose creative visions aligned well before "Disco Elysium." Aleksander Rostov, Helen Hindpere, and Robert Kurvitz were part of this group and were the fundamental creative force behind "Disco Elysium." Nobody knows exactly why they were let go at the end of 2021, and Martin Luiga replied to a Twitter commenter that he doesn't know who owns the rights to "Disco Elysium," and doesn't want to find out, as he fears "someone would be violating their NDA." 

Fan speculation as to what's going on with "Disco Elysium" is all over the place, from blaming the TV show to higher-ups looking to milk the IP with spin-offs and live service titles. Nothing is confirmed, though, except that the TV series and "Disco Elysium 2" are still in development.

When taking the sometimes controversial nature of "Disco Elysium" and the beliefs of the ZA/UM cultural association into account, some fans consider it deeply ironic that the studio is going this direction, since the collective has previously explained that the first game could only have been made without the intervention of "money people." 

In a statement to IGN, ZA/UM focused on the future, and said that development on the "Disco Elysium" series is still "a collective effort, with every team member's contribution ... valued as part of a greater whole."