Report: 24 ZA/UM employees face layoffs as studio cancels unannounced Disco Elysium expansion

Dozens of ZA/UM developers are at risk of losing their jobs. The Disco Elysium developer has reportedly shut down one of the unannounced projects that was a few years from shipping.

ZA/UM could reportedly lay off 25% of staff after canceling unannounced Disco Elysium expansion

GLHF (Sports Illustrated) broke the news, citing sources familiar with the matter. ZA/UM CEO Ilmar Kompus announced the cancellation of a game codenamed X7 in a message to staff.

Not much is known about X7, which is described as a standalone expansion for Disco Elysium. According to Ed Tomaszewski, Private Division co-founder who was appointed as president of ZA/UM in 2022, the project was “one to two years away from completion.”

As a result, around 24 employees, or roughly 25% of the staff, might be laid off. In the internal message obtained by GLHF, Kompus noted that the job cuts will mostly affect the X7 team, in addition to ZA/UM’s non-development teams and devs working on other projects. Roles at risk of redundancy include 2D/3D/technical artists, animators, as well as production and IT employees.

“With the cancellation of X7 we are proposing to reshape our team to support our two remaining games,” the message reads.

Those two remaining titles are codenamed C4 and M0, which are currently in “active development.” According to GLHF, ZA/UM has also shut down two other projects over the past two years:

  • Project Y12 — a sequel to Disco Elysium, which was canceled in 2022;
  • Project P1 — a game based on a new sci-fi IP, which was put on hold in 2023.

The latter is most likely a project previously referred to as Pioneer One. The unannounced game first came to light November 2022 as part of a story about the alleged illegal takeover of ZA/UM by Kompus, who was accused of purchasing the rights for the projects, in the form of text document and several sketches, for £1 and then reselling the IP back to the company for €4.8 million.

MORE: Inside all aspects of Disco Elysium drama: ZA/UM shareholders, “mega crunch”, toxicity, and IP stealing allegations

One of the sources told GLHF that ZA/UM had “turned into the very thing that Disco Elysium was against,” adding that “brilliant people work there and I want only the best for them but […] I hope it’s somewhere else.” Another anonymous employee blamed the problems on mismanagement, also claiming that the company prefers to hire new people instead of promoting existing talent.

Write a comment...
Related news