In another episode of Capitalism ruining that thing you love, recently the key leads behind 2019’s masterpiece “Disco Elysium” were forced out of Za/Um. A few days ago, Martin Luiga posted the news on his Twitter which was later confirmed by Aleksander Rostov, the art director for Disco Elysium.
- Disco Elysium’s world was going to be significantly bigger.
- Writing for the game’s world started as early as 2002.
- Key leads forced out of Za/Um.
The reason for dissolving the cultural organization is that it no longer represents the ethos it was founded on.
Recently, fans have pointed out a statement made by the lead writer of Disco Elysium “Robert Kurvitz” in the Disco Elysium art book. A passionate statement addressed to the game’s dedicated community about the future of the game and the broader world and scope of Disco Elysium.
It goes into detail about how much blood, sweat, and tears were poured into creating this game. The changes that had to be made and the 20 years of effort it took to get where the game was as we saw it. Most importantly, however, it shows just how much potential there was left in this world.
According to Kurvitz, the game went through a ton of rewrites and changes in its world design. Initially meant to be set in a medieval fantasy setting with magic and spells playing a huge factor in the game’s world, which was a premise that didn’t last long.
It was later shifted into a more modern setting as we saw in the full game after it was deemed “weak“. Replaced with “modernity: plastic telephones, cops, communism, the international currency.” The concept of magic removed almost altogether, pushed into an unknown and unfamiliar concept.
So far we’ve only managed to show you a tiny, insignificant corner of it: the district of Martinaise in Revachol west, on Insulinde. I cannot begin to tell you how introductory it is. (Disco Elysium means “I learn Elysium”). It’s small. A matchbox world. It’s all we had money for.
To say that Disco Elysium’s world felt beautifully realized is an understatement for the quality of its craft. It doesn’t just feel alive, it beats with a heavy heart. It’s an organism whose intestines churn and twist with every change. It’s indifferent, it’s cruel.
Even the moments of levity meant to illicit a laugh feel like a shrug that serves as an acknowledgment of the intangible misery its characters are thrust into.
Its world is funny, tragic, broken yet oddly with more soul than almost anything we’ve seen in multiple decades of video game storytelling and world-building.
Elysium was always going to be massive. Large enough to blot out our entire reality. Messianic. Transatlantic.
It really is impossible to paraphrase the sheer passion that gushes out of every word and sentence of Kurvitz’s heartfelt statement. To see this world choked into silence by the very system it set out to criticize is an ironic tragedy and injustice of a scale that many will likely never forget.
Disco Elysium is a masterpiece, and even if the sequel lives up to the promise of the original. The original game will still go down in gaming history as not only the gem that it is but also a cruel reminder of what the gaming industry has been reduced to in the modern day.
Usually, the intention is to end these things on an optimistic note as much as possible, but art choked by corporate greed is nothing new in this industry, yet it always ends up hurting the same.
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