Disco Elysium sequel reportedly axed amidst layoff risks

Disco Elysium sequel reportedly axed amidst layoff risks
Images via ZA/UM

Written by 

Joseph Kime


16th Feb 2024 10:55

The gaming industry is in a pretty terrible place right now, and we're less than two full months into 2024. So far this year, we've seen almost enough layoffs to rival 2023 as a whole. Xbox and Riot Games have led the charge, as 1,900 and 530 members of staff are losing their roles at each respective company.

It's brutal and devastating to watch - after all, what are our games without the people who make them? Video games as an art form should be protected, and the developers delivering on the experiences we have loved over the years deserve to at least hold onto their positions. Now, one indie champion is in serious danger.

Disco Elysium's ZA/UM is reportedly in trouble

A gun fight in Disco Elysium.
Click to enlarge

According to sources close to GLHF, around 24 members of staff at ZA/UM, the development team behind the quick-witted socialist detective game Disco Elysium, could be in trouble. Company CEO Ilmar Kompus wrote a letter that was sent to staff across the company and apparently seen by the publication.

Those affected are working in and out of development on the company's new project, as well as ZA/UM's non-development teams. News that employees are in danger of losing their jobs comes with the report that X7, the codenamed project that was intended to be an expansion or sequel to Disco Elysium, has been canned.

According to the source, a call with staff led ZA/UM president Ed Tomaszewski to announce that the now-cancelled game "was a game that was one to two years away from completion," and was likely to have taken "more time and effort than Disco Elysium."

The future of ZA/UM

Concept art for Disco Elysium, spotlighting the statue in the centre of the town square.
Click to enlarge

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According to the report, X7 is the third of many projects at ZA/UM to suffer cancellation or pausing, as a full Disco Elysium sequel was shut down in 2022 and a new sci-fi IP was "paused" in 2023. Two projects are apparently still in the works (codenamed C4 and M0), but none of these details have been confirmed by ZA/UM.

Here's hoping that the damage isn't as bad as the report makes it seem, as to leave staff members out in the cold with the few remaining at the company not working on much is dangerous. The gaming industry has struck once again, and it's come for one of the most promising development teams in the world. Nobody is safe.

Joseph Kime is the Senior Trending News Journalist for GGRecon from Devon, UK. Before graduating from MarJon University with a degree in Journalism, he started writing music reviews for his own website before writing for the likes of FANDOM, Zavvi and The Digital Fix. He is host of the Big Screen Book Club podcast, and author of Building A Universe, a book that chronicles the history of superhero movies. His favourite games include DOOM (2016), Celeste and Pokemon Emerald.

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