Both sides of the now-dismissed legal case regarding Disco Elysium are currently claiming victory and are planning for future legal battles, according to PC Gamer. The game’s executive producer, Kaur Kender, has withdrawn a lawsuit filed against producer ZA/UM‘s current CEO and majority shareholder, Ilmar Kompus.
Kender’s suit had been claiming that Kompus had purchased four of the studio’s sketches for €1 and resold them to the company for €4.8 million in a scheme to control majority share stakes in the development studio, as decribed by GamesIndustry.biz. That money had reportedly been set aside for future projects, such as a sequel to the 2019 open-world RPG. In the now-dismissed lawsuit, Kender had reportedly been seeking €913,000 (more than $961,000 USD) against Kompus and fellow Disco Elysium Executive Producer Tonis Haavel, according to GameDeveloper. In response, Kompus had accused his allegers of attempting to illegally sell ZA/UM property, in addition to creating a hostile work environment through the use of verbal abuse and discrimination based on gender.
“The facts and the law led to this outcome,” Kompus told Game Developer following the lawsuit’s dismissal. “We are pleased that Kender and his attorneys have chosen to withdraw their lawsuit — one that should never have been filed in the first place.” Kompus denied any inappropriate behavior in his role at ZA/UM and claimed that the allegations against him have “no basis.”
The initial fraud allegations began back in early November, when Disco Elysium Lead Designer Robert Kurvitz and Lead of Art Aleksander Rostov spoke to Medium, bringing the company’s allegedly illicit takeover into the public light. Going even deeper, this came after a report from October that three key members of the development team behind the game —Kurtwiz, Rostov, and Disco Elysium Writer Helen Hindpere — had been involuntarily ousted from the company at the end of 2021. That report came from Martin Luiga, who had helped to found the ZA/UM Cultural Association, which he also announced had been disbanded during his reveal of the three involuntary departures.
According to reports, Kompus has already paid back the €4.8 million to the studio. That does not seem to satisfy Kurvitz, who is reportedly still considering his legal options moving forward. Kurvits is quoted by PCGamer as saying that Kompus’ repayment of the money “does not erase the main consequence of the initial injustice — which is that Kompus remains the majority owner, a position that he was only able to attain by using the company’s money as his own.”
Despite its legal battles, the studio looks to be continuing moving forward with development of future games, and job postings for artists on the company’s official Website are still active.
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