Disco Elysium's art director and game director have released a statement in regard to their being fired from developer ZAUM, where they accuse the studio's new majority shareholder, Tütreke OÜ, of taking control of the studio through fraud.
Last month, it was revealed that several key developers behind Disco Elysium had "involuntarily" left the company, based on a statement made by Martin Luiga, a founding member and Secretary of the ZA/UM Cultural Association. Although no statement was released by any of the developers who worked at ZAUM, it was then revealed that game director Robert Kurvitz was suing the studio, thanks to records posted on Estonia's Ministry of Justice website.
Now, Kurvitz has broken his silence and released a statement alongside art director Aleksander Rostov. In the statement, Kurvitz and Rostov reveal that their stakes in the game exist "in the form of minority shareholdings in an Estonian company called Zaum Studio OÜ". In 2021, that studio was bought out by an Estonian company Tütreke OÜ, led by Ilmar Kompus and Tõnis Haavel.
Kurvitz and Rostov allege that as soon as Kompus and Haavel became majority shareholders, the pair were "excluded from daily operations, our employment was terminated and our access to the company’s information was shut off". The pair were fired just weeks after asking for documents and financial data.
Next, Kurvitz and Rostov allege that Tütreke OÜ took control of Zaum Studio OÜ by fraud. They say, "We believe the money used by Tütreke OÜ to buy the majority stake was taken illegally from Zaum Studio OÜ itself, money that belonged to the studio and all shareholders but was used for the benefit of one. Money that should have gone towards making the sequel."
It appears that this is the reasoning behind the lawsuit that Kurvitz had filed on Estonia's Ministry of Justice website. Kurvitz and Rostov's statement ends by thanking the fans for all of their support, before referencing Disco Elysium and its protagonist Harry du Bois. It reads, "We also believe in what Harrier du Bois calls “the law”. It’s not perfect, but it’s there to protect those who create from those who take. And so it will."
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