For a sequel to Disco Elysium, PC Gamer’s 2019 Game of the Year, punk developer and erstwhile industry underdog Studio ZA/UM continues to grow and hire fresh talent. The information in these job postings may provide some insight into the studio’s upcoming project.
The most recent job postings, discovered by Reddit user An Italian Meal, are seeking an environment concept artist, a lead environment artist, as well as a sales and monetization specialist. ZA/UM hired new writers a few months ago. The two artistic positions’ references to “sci-fi,” the environment concept artist position’s references to “new worlds” and “space,” and the arresting statement that any new hire should “understand that there are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in philosophy,” are arguably the most eye-catching things about this.
The obvious assumption could be that ZA/UM is departing from Disco Elysium’s mid-20th century alt historical setting with its upcoming game, but I don’t sure it is that simple. TheFrankofTurducken, a cleverly named Reddit user, notes that ZA/UM is heavily engaged in the world of Elysium because the main crew has been building it intermittently for about 20 years. Additionally, Good Frank draws attention to the language’s figurative potential: “The sci-fi, non-earth stuff seems to imply they want somebody who is imaginative/creative in environment creation—not necessarily that the game will be intergalactic in nature,” they say.
I can certainly support that sentiment, and it is consistent with the tantalizing public remarks made by ZA/UM regarding its upcoming plans. Lead writer Robert Kurvitz says in a fantastic 2020 GameSpot video focusing on Disco Elysium’s interface: “I’d like to do what Baldur’s Gate 2 did for Baldur’s Gate 1.” Kurvitz then goes on to describe more intense, pitched scenarios that Disco Elysium’s tabletop-like skill system could be used in, and had previously mentioned ways he wanted to expand the game’s world.