Disco Elysium creator Robert Kurvitz files to sue ZA/UM

A new Estonian court listing reveals a lawsuit filed against Studio ZA/UM for undisclosed reasons.
disco elysium lawsuit

In early October 2022, a Medium blog post pencilled by Disco Elysium developer Martin Luiga confirmed major changes behind the scenes at Studio ZA/UM. Amidst allegations that several high profile members of the studio had been forced to leave involuntarily, Luiga announced the ‘cultural association’ of the company – the bulk of the Disco team – was being dissolved. This move was described as ‘bad news’ for those awaiting a Disco sequel.

Since the post was made, everyone has watched ZA/UM and its former cohort with a keen eye. A Disco Elysium sequel, as well as an Amazon TV show adaptation, have both been discussed in the past. This alleged company turmoil, which was later confirmed by impacted staff, seemed to put the beloved franchise in jeopardy.

Now, the situation has progressed further – with website Tech News Space spotting an Estonian court filing between lead game designer Robert Kurvitz (through his company, Telomer) and Studio ZA/UM. Notably, Kurvitz wrote the novel upon which the Disco Elysium video game was based.

Read: Disco Elysium devs have ‘involuntarily’ left studio ZA/UM

The lawsuit was seemingly confirmed to be legitimate by Martin Luiga himself, who posted the Tech News Space reporting on his Twitter page.

A deeper search for information by Kotaku Australia has revealed the court listing in its entirety – and the first hearing date of 28 November 2022. Details on the case are currently scarce, although the listing makes reference to a motion to ‘obtain information and review documents’ owned by Studio ZA/UM.

The natural assumption here is that Kurvitz is investigating his rights as the author of the Disco Elysium source material, which went on to inform the creation of the game. Studio ZA/UM is assumed to own the rights to the IP, given it was responsible for development of the award-winning adaptation – but whatever the situation, we’ll likely learn more in the coming months.

For now, the lawsuit filing appears to be an exploratory case. It’s unknown if the filings will be made public in future, and what this means for a potential Disco Elysium sequel.

Leah J. Williams is a gaming and entertainment journalist who's spent years writing about the games industry, her love for The Sims 2 on Nintendo DS and every piece of weird history she knows. You can find her tweeting @legenette most days.