The legal fight between ZA/UM and Disco Elysium original developers has taken a new turn. It appears that the game’s co-creators Robert Kurvitz and Aleksander Rostov have dropped their claims to the studio.
- As reported by GamesIndustry.biz, ZA/UM today announced that both Kurvitz and Rostov “have dropped their ‘unfair dismissal’ claims due to lack of evidence.”
- The studio added that it is still facing baseless allegations from former employees, but expects all future claims to “fall apart under legal and factual scrutiny.”
- Kurvitz and Rostov have yet to comment on the news. It is also unclear whether they will try to file new lawsuits against the company.
- On top of that, ZA/UM resolved its legal dispute with Disco Elysium producer Kaur Kender. He has now repaid all debts owed to the studio, including legal fees from a lawsuit he withdrew in December.
- Kender also divested all his shares in ZA/UM, saying that his lawsuit was “miguided”.
UPDATE (March 17): Robert Kurvitz and Aleksander Rostov responded to ZA/UM’s statement, saying that they won’t be silenced. The developers plan to continue to pursue their legal options, adding that “paying back stolen money does not undo the crime.”
Brief timeline of the legal drama around ZA/UM and Disco Elysium creators
- In October 2022, Disco Elysium editor Martin Luiga announced his decision to dissolve the ZA/UM cultural association (not to be confused with the game development studio).
- He added that three key developers of the game, writer Helen Hindpere, lead designer and writer Robert Kurvitz, and art director Aleksander Rostov, “involuntary” left the company. This information ended up raising concerns about the fate of the Disco Elysium sequel.
- Later that month, Kurvitz filed a lawsuit against ZA/UM, a studio he co-founded in 2016.
- He and Rostov then provided their own version of the story, accusing the majority shareholders of fraud and illegal takeover of the company. They also announced their intent to sue ZA/UM in both Estonian and UK jurisdictions.
- In response, ZA/UM management accused Kurvitz and Rostov of misconduct, saying they created a toxic work enviroment and “forced colleagues to compensate for their lack of effort.”
- In November, Disco Elysium producer Kaur Kender filed his own lawsuit against ZA/UM, shedding more light on the possible events. According to the documents, the company was taken over by Estonian businessman Ilmar Kompus who allegedly bought a story draft and four sketches made for the Disco Elysium sequel, resold them back to ZA/UM for €4.8 million, and used this money to acquire the majority stake in the studio. More details can be read here.
- Kender, however, withdrew the lawsuit in December, with Kompus returning the €4.8 million to ZA/UM.
- Kurvitz later commented on the news, saying that this repayment of this sum “does not erase the main consequence of the initial injustice.” He added that he will continue to consider his legal actions.