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Disco Elysium Fans Get More Bad News

Things are looking bad for a potential "Disco Elysium 2," as former Studio ZA/UM members accused owners of the studio of fraud, the studio itself has accused former members of the team of fostering a toxic work environment. In early October, several key members of the "Disco Elysium" development team, Martin Luiga, Aleksander Rostov, Helen Hindpere, and Robert Kurvitz, were all let go from Studio ZA/UM. Later, court documents revealed that Kurvtiz had filed a lawsuit against Studio ZA/UM, although it was not clear at the time the reason for the lawsuit.

Now, both the former members of the development team and Studio ZA/UM have released statements making accusations of misconduct. Studio ZA/UM's statement was shared by GamesIndustry.biz, which accused unnamed former members of the studio, likely referring to the four members let go, of not working and forcing their responsibilities onto others. They also allegedly created a toxic work environment, including verbal abuse and gender discrimination. Lastly, they are accused of attempting to sell Studio ZA/UM's property to other game developers without approval from the studio.

ZA/UM CEO Ilmar Kompas told the Estonian Express (via GamesIndustry.biz), "They treated their co-workers very badly. Despite talking to them repeatedly, things did not improve. Therefore, the company was forced to fire them. Robert [Kurvitz] is said to have been known for belittling women and co-workers in the past, but this was previously unknown to the company." However, those accused in the statement have their own accusations, blaming the company for fraud and attempted corporate takeover.

Kurvitz and Rostov's statement about Studio ZA/UM

Shortly after the release of Studio ZA/UM's statement, Kurvitz and Rostov made a Medium post about the studio's ownership. In the statement, the duo said that they were minority shareholders of the studio, with the majority of shares belonging to Margus Linnamäe, an Estonian businessman who provided the initial capital to make the studio. In 2021, Linnamäe was bought out by another set of minority shareholders, Ilmar Kompus and Tõnis Haavel, via their company Tütreke OÜ.

The statement alleges that these two used their new power as majority stakeholders to force Kurvitz and Rostov out of daily work functions, eventually letting them go entirely. They continued by accusing Kompus and Haavel of using studio funds, which would have gone to a sequel, to buy the shares, which would be considered fraud. They additionally provided a link alleging that Haavel had previously been convicted of defrauding investors in 2007. They have stated that they are working with lawyers to put together both civil and criminal cases in both the U.K. and Estonian. The Medium post did not address the accusations made by Studio ZA/UM and Kompus.