Much like the story in its runaway hit Disco Elysium, the plot surrounding European development studio ZA/UM keeps getting thicker. Following on from the news at the beginning of the month that several key members of the Disco Elysium dev team had departed the studio under unclear but allegedly “involuntary” circumstances, it would appear that at least one former staff member has fired the opening salvo in what could be significant legal proceedings against the developer.
As spotted by Tech News Space, Disco Elysium lead designer Robert Kurvitz has filed a lawsuit against ZA/UM in his native Estonia. The suit is filed in the name of Kurvitz’s company, Telomer OÜ, with a hearing scheduled for November 28, but it’s unclear at present exactly what the aim of it is. The only extra tidbit was dug up by Kotaku AU, which noted that a listing on the website for the Estonian Ministry of Justice declares the purpose of the hearing “to obtain information and review documents.”
It’s not a difficult leap of deduction to presume that this lawsuit is directly related to the departure of Kurvitz, who parted ways with ZA/UM “involuntarily” at the end of last year alongside writer Helen Hindpere, art director Alexander Rostov, and editor Martin Luiga. It is entirely possible that the suit could be a preamble to an attempt to reclaim the intellectual property rights to Disco Elysium, which would no doubt scupper any plans ZA/UM might have for a sequel to the hit RPG. Kurvitz and the others allegedly took issue with the direction investors chose for the studio, so the endgame could be to establish a new creative-led development studio with the IP rights for a popular game in its back pocket. At present, though, that’s all speculation, at least until further details surface about the hearing in Estonian courts in November.