Disco Elysium

Disco Elysium is a role-playing game (RPG) developed and published by ZA/UM, an Estonian video game development studio. The game was initially released in 2019 for Microsoft Windows and macOS, with later ports for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and Nintendo Switch.


In Disco Elysium, players take on the role of an amnesiac detective who must solve a murder case in the fictional city of Revachol.

  • Skill System: The game features a unique skill system where the player's actions and dialogue choices are influenced by four main abilities (Intellect, Psyche, Physique, and Motorics) and 24 distinct skills that represent different aspects of the character's personality and expertise.
  • Dialogue and Choices: Disco Elysium places a heavy emphasis on dialogue, with players engaging in extensive conversations with NPCs to gather information and progress the story. The choices made during these interactions can significantly impact the course of the investigation and the game's outcome.
  • Thought Cabinet: Players can internalize certain thoughts and ideas, which can unlock new dialogue options, provide passive bonuses, or even alter the character's perception of the world.

The game features a distinctive art style, with hand-painted environments and characters that capture the gritty, neo-noir atmosphere of Revachol.

Story and Setting

Disco Elysium takes place in the city of Revachol, a once-prosperous metropolis still recovering from a failed communist revolution decades prior. The player character, a detective suffering from severe amnesia, must navigate the city's complex political and social landscape while investigating a murder case.

Throughout the investigation, the detective grapples with his own identity, the nature of reality, and the philosophical and ideological questions that define Revachol and its inhabitants.


Disco Elysium received universal acclaim upon release, with praise directed at its innovative gameplay systems, masterful writing, and thought-provoking narrative. The game was celebrated for its deep and nuanced exploration of politics, philosophy, and the human condition.

Disco Elysium won numerous awards, including Best Narrative and Best Role-Playing Game at The Game Awards 2019, and Best Storytelling at the Golden Joystick Awards 2020.

Fun Facts

  • Disco Elysium's developers drew inspiration from a wide range of sources, including classic RPGs like Planescape: Torment, the works of philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, and the music of British band Sea Power, who composed the game's soundtrack.
  • The game's unique skill system was inspired by the tabletop RPG system used in lead designer Robert Kurvitz's own tabletop campaign.
  • Disco Elysium: The Final Cut, an expanded version of the game featuring full voice acting, new characters, and additional quests, was released in 2021.

Disco Elysium stands as a landmark achievement in role-playing games, pushing the boundaries of what the genre can achieve in terms of storytelling, player choice, and philosophical depth. Its success is a testament to the vision and talent of the team at ZA/UM.