The PC version of Disco Elysium just got a collage mode. After a few Valentine’s Day themed tweets teasing him, ZA/UM studio dropped a fun diorama tool that lets you create custom scenes with your favorite Revachol-derived characters with added style like filters, zoom, stickers, and more. The free update weighs around 300MB and can be accessed from the main menu. It also features “Bonus Secrets to Find” related to Martinaise’s story—the in-game location—a new voiceover from deep-voiced narrator Lenval Brown, and five new unlockable Steam Achievements. This news comes amid ongoing litigation between the makers of Disco Elysium and studio ZA/UM.
Unlike photo mode, Disco Elysium’s collage mode doesn’t allow you to pause the game in the middle to take editable screenshots. Instead, it lets you create a setting from scratch – you can drag and drop characters, select locations from the game, adjust weather conditions and weather, add filters and frames, and even add text. The game takes place on a two-dimensional isometric plane, on which every element appears to be hand-drawn. Think of it as a scrapbooking tool with cutouts that you stick together to create your own scenes. Drag-and-drop controls let you place dozens of assets wherever you want, and even zoom to comically enlarge characters. You can put them in silly poses like backflips, ball curls, dancing or even making out.
Create the disco scenes of your dreams.
Introducing Collage Mode: the new functionality that gives you the creative freedom to stage almost anything in the game.
Available now for PC and Mac players, with a console release coming soon: pic.twitter.com/3dCZGmGzyQ
— Disco Elysium – The Final Cut (@discoelysium) March 16, 2023
There’s also a sticker collection for added flair, ranging from images of Disco Elysium inventory items to custom-made emoticon-like materials. It goes without saying that playing around with the collage mode before completing the game may reveal some spoilers – at least in terms of characters and environments. Heck, I discovered two new characters myself that I’ve never encountered in my six deep plays of Disco Elysium! Time to chase them down in my seventh, maybe? There’s also a dialogue reel that you can activate to introduce some wacky lines for your own detective story. The tool serves as a nice break from the heavy narrative of the game, as you can just mess around and create art while the beautiful music from Sea Power plays in the background. The images you create can be saved locally on your computer or even in-game for use/editing later.
The response to this update has been mixed, with some liking the content but others unable to show support for it due to the ongoing legal dispute involving Disco Elysium. At the end of last year Medium post by Martin Luigi, co-founder and secretary of the “ZA/UM Cultural Association”, confirmed that the main creators of Disco Elysium, the designer Robert Kurwitz, the artist Alexander Rostov and the writer Helen Hindpere, are not working for the company from the end of 2021. “.. .their leaving the company was involuntary. Which would seem like bad news for adoring fans waiting for the sequel to ‘Disco,’ the post said. “The reason for the dissolution of the cultural organization is that it no longer represents the ethos on which it was founded. People and ideas are meant to be eternal; organizations may be temporary.” Luigi serves as the game’s editor.
Studio ZA/UM answered to this, claiming that Disco Elysium “was and still is a collective effort” and that there was “no further comment” other than the promise of a new project from the team. Note that the aforementioned ZA/UM cultural association and ZA/UM studio are treated separately. This was followed by the release of Kurvitz and Rostov open letter to fans, in which they claim that the studio’s new owners took control by fraud and repeat that they have been kicked out of the company. Estonian businessmen Ilmar Kompus — now CEO of ZA/UM — and Tinis Haavel responded to the argument that employees were fired for bad behavior and creating a toxic work environment. Along with this, former executive producer Kaur Kender launched her own own legal battleclaiming that he too was fired after the new management took over.
Earlier this week, studio ZA/UM stated that the ongoing legal battle with Kender is resolved, but in a new statement to Eurogamer, creators Kurvitz and Sander Taal dispute many of the claims. “The press release quotes Kender admitting that he filed a ‘wrongful’ lawsuit against ZA/UM in late 2022. We disagree. Kender’s claim is based on the misuse of ZA/UM funds (€4.8 million) by the majority shareholders [and new owners] Kompus and Haavel to increase their own stake in the company,” the statement said.
“In the press release, Kompus and Haavel admit to this abuse, claiming only that the money was ‘returned to ZA/UM.’ However, the return of stolen money does not negate the crime; here it does not invalidate the majority that Kompus and Haavel illegally acquired in ZA/UM.’