An Estonian court record and reporting by Tech News Space indicates that Robert Kurvitz, lead writer and designer on Disco Elysium, is potentially involved in a lawsuit filed against his former company ZA/UM Studio.
The Estonian Ministry of Justice’s website has a record of the upcoming court session, which has an English translated session title of “Telomer OÜ’s application against Zaum Studio OÜ to obtain information and review documents.” According to Kotaku AU, Kurvitz has been a board member of Telomer OÜ since its establishment in January 2020. The court session is set for Nov. 28, 2022.
This comes after Martin Luiga, a member of the ZA/UM Cultural Association that was involved in creating numerous works in Estonia including Disco Elysium, announced that the Cultural Association was being dissolved and that several key creatives such as Kurvitz, writer Helen Hindpere, and art director Aleksander Rostov were no longer at Disco Elysium developer ZA/UM Studio. The Cultural Collective predated the establishment of ZA/UM Studio, the latter of which was created to develop and fund the game. Luiga said, “The reason for dissolving the cultural organization is that it no longer represents the ethos it was founded on.”
While the full details of what occurred at ZA/UM Studio remain unclear, a report citing internal documents claimed that Kurvitz’s departure involved threats of legal action against him. When Luiga was asked in an interview about what happened at the studio and what caused many of its core creatives to leave, he said, “It happened late last year. They were fired on false premises and the entire ordeal has been very traumatizing for both them and people close to them.”
Disco Elysium is set in a world envisioned by Kurvitz for his novel A Sacred and Terrible Air. While there is no confirmation on what ZA/UM studio will be working on next, many assume it is a sequel. This has led to speculation that the lawsuit may be over Kurvitz attempting to get the rights back to the world he originally created.