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Disco Elysium Creators Decides to Pursue Legal Action Despite Resolution of Dispute

By Xueyang
Mar. 20, 2023 updated 08:05

Disco ElysiumDisco Elysium

Eurogamer and reported on March 14 that ZA/UM had resolved its legal dispute with Kaur Kender, a founding member and producer of Disco Elysium. The press release also stated that the wrongful termination suit brought by Disco Elysium project lead Robert Kurvitz and lead artist Aleksander Rostov was dismissed due to insufficient evidence.

However, Kurvitz and Rostov, who goes by the pseudonym "Sander Taal," have since responded by stating that they will continue to pursue legal action. ZA/UM has also released Disco Elysium's first content update since the "Jamais Vu" patch in December 2021.

There's a brief version of The ZA/UM saga, organized by PC GAMER:

2000s: ZA/UM initially coalesces as an artist collective in Estonia.

2013: Robert Kurvitz publishes Sacred and Terrible Air, a novel and the first commercial work set in the Elysium setting.

2016: First public reveal of Disco Elysium as "No Truce With the Furies" (archived on Reddit) with predicted EOY 2016 release. Producer Kaur Kender seems to have been involved since earliest stages, with eventual investment from Tõnis Haavel and eventual CEO Ilmar Kompus. Around this time, ZA/UM becomes a formalized game developer. 

2019: Disco Elysium launches to critical acclaim.

March 2021: Disco Elysium: The Final Cut, a definitive edition of the game releases.

End of year 2021: Project lead Kurvitz, lead artist Aleksander Rostov, and writer/Final Cut lead writer Helen Hindpere "involuntarily" leave the company.

October 2022: Disco Elysium editor and former ZA/UM member Martin Luiga reveals the trio's departure, subsequently confirmed by ZA/UM and a letter from Rostov co-signed by the other two.

Trio alleges unfair ousting, as well as misappropriation of €4.8 million from ZA/UM to purchase majority share in company by CEO/investor Kompus and fellow investor Haavel with support from investor/Disco Elysium producer Kaur Kender.

Kompus, via ZA/UM, alleges toxic management style, belittling of female employees, and other abuses by Kurvitz and Rostov. No specific incidents or details elaborated, but cites an unknown number of anonymous sources to at least partially corroborate the narrative.

Kender sues Kompus and ZA/UM over misappropriation of €4.8 million, Kurvitz and Rostov file their own, separate suit against the company.

December 2022: Kender withdraws suit against ZA/UM, citing return of funds by Kompus, with no elaboration as to why he had the €4.8 million in the first place.