Disco Elysium follow-up would have been ‘the most hardcore Disco since Disco’ if not for ZA/UM implosion

Before being shelved by ZA/UM executives, the Disco Elysium spin-off project, codenamed X7, was on track to be “the most hardcore Disco since Disco.”

This comes from a June 13 PCGamer report where current and former staff of ZA/UM, the studio holding the rights for the Disco Elysium IP, talked about how almost the entire X7 team—headed by Disco Elysium writer Argo Tuulik—faced surprise layoffs after the sudden cancelation of the project. As Project X7’s lead writer, Dora Klindžić, says in the report, this was doubly bizarre as the X7 demo had a largely positive reception internally.

Disco Elysium screenshot featuring Harry Dubois and Kim Kitsuragi walking through the slums in Martinaise
The mask of humanity falls from capital. Screenshot by Dot Esports

“It was something no one else but Argo could have done, and it would have been 110% authentic, most hardcore Disco since Disco,” Klindžić said. She went on to tell the publication that X7 “would have advanced the story, the emotional threads, and gameplay elements all at once to truly evolve the genre of psychological RPGs[s].”

According to the report, X7’s development started in 2022 and was a likely candidate for release in 2024 or 2025. “Everyone was looking forward to its development,” one ZA/UM developer told PCGamer. “Its internal announcement lifted a lot of spirits after a rough time of bad press around the studio.” 

Another developer went so far as to call X7 “exactly the sort of game [the studio] needs to put out,” which would potentially “reassure fans that ZA/UM is not a husk, that the IP is in safe hands and that the studio is full of talented people with a genuine love for the world of Revachol.”

As multiple ZA/UM staff attested, the project’s cancellation and the substantial layoffs in February this year reportedly occurred despite explicit assurances from ZA/UM president Ed Tomaszewski in December 2023 that the studio’s robust financial situation would protect them from the industry’s ongoing layoff crisis.

ZA/UM has been on the receiving end of several controversies since Disco Elysium’s 2019 breakthrough release. It started with the ousting of three of the most influential developers of the legendary RPG—the setting’s original creator Robert Kurvitz, lead artist Aleksander Rostov, and Final Cut lead writer Helen Hindpere. This was followed by a legal dispute between Rostov and Kurvitz and the studio, which has since been “resolved”. Then there was the alleged usurpation of the Disco Elysium IP by producer Tõnis Haavel, who was found guilty of investor fraud in Estonia in 2014.

Project X7 will likely never see the light of day, so we can only imagine what this hardcore Disco spin-off would have been.

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