Disco Elysium’s situation has become even more complicated as its former directors accuse ZA/UM’s majority shareholders of gaining control of the company through fraud, as the company claims these employees were fired for misconduct.
In October 2022, Disco Elysium editor Martin Luiga shared that key members of ZA/UM, including lead writer and designer Robert Kurvitz, writer Helen Hindpere, and head of art and designer Aleksander Rostov, had left the company “involuntarily”. Later that month, Kurvitz filed a lawsuit against the company, and now we have a bit more detail about his allegations against ZA/UM.
Kurvitz and Rostov took to Medium to share more details about the current situation at ZA/UM, and they made strong claims against current majority shareholders, Tütreke OÜ.
Tütreke OÜ, an Estonian company carrying Ilmar Kompus and Tõnis Haavel, became the majority shareholder of ZA/UM after buying out Margus Linnamäe’s shares. Kurvitz and Rostov said everything was fine under Linnamäe, but everything changed when Kompus and Haavel took over.
“As soon as they became majority shareholders, we were quickly locked out of day-to-day operations, our jobs were terminated and our access to company information was cut off. Our dismissal came weeks after we began asking documents and financial data, which is always kept from us.”
The two then allege that “Tütreke OÜ must have obtained control of Zaum Studio OÜ by fraud”. They claim to have illegally used the money from Zaum Studio OÜ itself to become the majority shareholders with the help of another minority shareholder named Kaur Kender.
Kurvitz, Rostov and their lawyers believe this justifies up to three years in prison and that Haavel, who they claim is the “ringleader”, is again committing fraud after an incident in 2007.
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ZA/UM, on the opposite side, confirmed to GamesIndustry.biz that an Estonian press report alleging mismanagement and misconduct among “former senior executives” is true. ZA/UM did not specify any names in the statement, but the news follows the current situation with Kurvitz, Hindpere and Rostov.
ZA/UM says these employees “had limited or no commitment to their responsibilities and jobs, created a toxic work environment, engaged in misconduct towards other employees, including verbal abuse and discrimination sex, and attempted to illegally sell ZA/UM’s intellectual property”.
Speaking to Estonian Ekspress, Kompus explained the alleged toxic environment these employees fostered and spoke about them by name.
“They treated their colleagues very badly,” Kompus told the Ekspress. “Despite speaking to them several times, things did not improve. As a result, the company was forced to fire them. Robert [Kurvitz] is known to have put women and co-workers down in the past, but this was previously unknown to the company. It would be very myopic for a growing international company to tolerate such behavior.”
GamesIndustry.biz sources spoke of a “clash of visions between the Kompus and Kurvitz, claiming it was “a scheming corporate CEO on the one hand, a toxic author of the other “.
It’s clear there’s bad blood on either side, and only time will tell how the story will unfold. IGN will continue to update the story as developments occur.
This all surrounds a game that we’ve given a 9.6/10 rating, saying it’s a “unique, deep, well-written blend of crime thriller noir and traditional pen-and-paper RPGs.” “. Additionally, we said that Disco Elysium – The Final Cut elevates the game “from an already phenomenal RPG to a true must-have masterpiece,” and awarded it a rare 10/10.
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Adam Bankhurst is a reporter for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter @AdamBankhurst and on Tic.
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