Martin Lugia, an editor and founding member of Studio ZA/UM, has announced that several key members of the team have left the company in an “involuntary” manner. The news comes via a post on Medium, where Lugia also announced the dissolution of the ZA/UM cultural association, which should not be confused with the development studio itself.
In the blog post, Lugia details that the lead writer and designer Rober Kurvitz, writer Helen Hindpere, and art and design lead Aleksander Rostov have not been working at the company “since the end of last year,” adding that “their leaving the company was involuntary.” Lugia also explained the reasoning behind dissolving the ZA/UM Cultural organization, stating that it “no longer represents the ethos it was founded on.”
The reasons behind the departure remain unknown but Luiga has hinted that differences between the creatives and investors were a factor in the departure of the key team members.
For fans of the studio and its hit game, this may be a worrying development, but Lugia seemed to be a bit more hopeful in his replies on Twitter, saying “I think that things with the sequel are actually sweet enough, you might even get it the way it was meant, it might take a [expletive] ton of time but RPG fans are sorta accustomed to waiting, ain’t they”
Since this blog post, ZA/UM has released a statement in response to the news stating “Like any video game, the development of Disco Elysium was and still is a collective effort, with every team member’s contribution essential and valued as part of a greater whole.” They provided no other comment other than to assure fans that development on the next project remains the team’s main focus. Kurvitz, Hindpere, and Rostov also took to Twitter to confirm their departure.