Disco Elysium studio declares ‘resolution’ of legal battle while two of its ousted founders insist the fight continues: ‘they will not silence us’

On March 14, Eurogamer (opens in new tab) and GamesIndustry.biz (opens in new tab) reported on a ZA/UM press release that declared the resolution of its legal dispute with founding member and Disco Elysium producer Kaur Kender, while also indicating that Disco Elysium project lead Robert Kurvitz and lead artist Aleksander Rostov’s wrongful termination suit was dismissed over lack of evidence. Since then, Kurvitz and “Sander Taal” (GamesIndustry.biz indicates that this is a pseudonym used by Rostov) have responded, stating that they will continue to pursue legal action. Meanwhile, ZA/UM released Disco Elysium’s first content update since December 2021’s “Jamais Vu” patch.

The ZA/UM saga, in brief

  • 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 GamesIndustry.biz (opens in new tab) 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.

This is the first public development in the story since ZA/UM CEO Ilmar Kompus paid €4.8 million back to the company and Disco Elysium producer Kaur Kender withdrew his own lawsuit against the developer (opens in new tab). In ZA/UM’s initial press release this week, it claimed that Kender has since paid Kompus for his legal fees, and GamesIndustry.biz shared a seemingly contrite message from the writer and entrepreneur:

Original Source Link

Related Articles

Back to top button