Disco Elysium reveals the Physique skill tree

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Disco Elysium is my secret side infatuation in 2018. First the game was operating under the name “No Truce With The Furies” which the devs didn’t think stood out enough (!!) and then each new look I get at the game reveals a more complicated and exciting RPG about crime solving and I just want to be playing it now. Not even for first play-though; I want to be on my third play-through where I’m deliberately trying to break the game. Bonus: there’s an original score by the rock’n’roll band British Sea Power. What isn’t to like here? Well, depending on how upset you are by complicated moral choices, this new set of skills listed for player development might be your cut-off point — because it gets dark.

Disco Elysium is a blend of isometric RPG and hardboiled cop show with a unique urban fantasy setting. You play a disgraced lieutenant detective in Revachol West, a shore town where corruption’s out of control, murders go unsolved, and the kids just wanna dance. The game allows you to build you detective using 24 different sets of skills, and branch out into everything from a smashmouth battlehound to a cunning master of the human psyche.

We’ve given the game just… a lot of coverage here at the site. Alice wrote up why the game took longer as the team realized the potential to expand the scope of the game. Dominic wrote up a breakdown of the psyche skill tree last month, showing how you can be everyone from a Lynchian empath to Columbo to a descendant of Sherlock. For a game where you manage your memories as their own inventory, allowing a Sherlock-type to take control of your mind-palace isn’t the worst plan of action.

Now we’ve got the list of comparable skill sets, not for the brain, but for the body. And they all over the gosh darn place with their pros and cons.

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The Physical Instrument path defines some of your punchy-traits while also influencing you emotional by pushing you from mean vibes into cruel masculinity. Electrochemistry, one of the most unpredictable skill sets in the game, allows you to activate powerful sets of magical talents, but often can also wind up turning you into a full-on drug addict, which results in non-optional quests as you begin a relationship with dependency. Endurance makes you last longer but also twists your gut feelings and cool cops in this world can only survive a few heart attacks. Half Light is your flight of flight responses, which can make you both more and less aggressive as paranoia or terrifying concepts begin to plague you. Pain Threshold keeps you going but also keeps you an unhealthy person for longer, putting you in real danger. Finally, there’s Shivers: a set of skills that are secretive (as they’re tied to the game’s story) but it puts you in tune with the general vibe of the city.

You can check out the entire, very detailed post on these skill sets right here. Putting high or low amounts of points into each of these categories sounds like it creates a horrifying balancing act and I am keen to roll those magical dice.

The game is available to start following on Steam.

29 Comments

  1. Hakkesshu says:

    I think you’re confusing procedurally generated with cop procedural.

    • April March says:

      Indeed. As if it hadn’t been difficult enough to clear up this confusion last time…

      • Shuck says:

        To make matters worse, there’s at least one procedurally generated police procedural game under development right now. So by falsely describing this one as procedurally generated, it risks being confused with those.

  2. poliovaccine says:

    Aw, I kinda like the original title better haha. Whatever, still has my interest – which is an accomplishment all on its own when it comes to the isometric perspective. No clue why, but I’ve always balked at it, ever since Morrowind. Up until then I was pretty damned cool with it, and it’s not even like I think all or even most isometric games would be improved by a full-3D world/perspective. Some, yeah – I think the GTA series, for example, benefits from that immensely (I know it was straight top down but some of its mobile releases go for the slant and it just doesn’t work, not for me anyway) – but not all games are like that. Diablo wouldn’t make much sense first person, and even if Fallout made a fluid transition from one to the other, the top-down method almost suits the actual design of the game better. That, and I can’t exactly imagine Planescape Torment or Dungeon Siege or Starcraft being played any other way… (though I do always hope for an extreme zoom and tilt to any isometric perspective, like the ones you got in Black & White or Empire Earth, which let you crawl right down to ground level.

    Anyway, this game seems to wanna allow me to play as the fat sleazebag from the first section of Vampire Bloodlines, so I’m way fucking in haha. I want to be either that or Harvey Kietel in Bad Lieutenant, naked, crying, screaming, clutching his crack stem… actually I should be careful how I phrase these things, lest my subconscious scan these words and think I actually mean it…

  3. Chorltonwheelie says:

    There’s a fine cafe in Manchester called British Tea Power. Carry on.

  4. Stevostin says:

    I am excited. Next: let us define our character by goals, traits, affinities and/or ethics, not line by line discussion options. Then make discussion a matter of using those memories on the person discussed and those driving parameter.

  5. 9of9 says:

    Played this at Rezzed, it’s the real deal. The writing is amazing, the voice acting is great, the music and art are all spot on.

    I found both my crocodile leather shoes, at which point my character rolled a skill check for “conceptualisation”” and successfully formed a simile, saying it’s “like wearing tiny baby crocodiles” in his internal monologue.

  6. April March says:

    This is pretty great. They’re really going where no one went before.

    The new name is pretty bad though. And I’m going to say why. It uses an Adjective-Noun Noun structure, which is one of the most common ways to name a videogame. Assassin’s Creed, System Shock, Team Fortress, Tomb Raider, Metal Gear, Saints’ Row, Crusader Kings, Killing Floor… I guess PlayerUnknown’s BattleGrounds does count… anyway, it’s an incredibly common structure, for a game with an incredibly uncommon structure. FIRE YOUR PUBLICIST

  7. Hoot says:

    No Truce With The Furies was definitely a better name. If a movie called Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri can win a couple of Oscars (it’s actually a really good movie) then I’m sure a game with a long name has as much of a chance.

    • Someoldguy says:

      I’m guessing the risk of people mixing up furies with furries may have prompted a rethink. That’s a whole different genre with adult overtones.

      I must have missed the news about this when it came along before, not hard to do now that RPS produces so much copy onto a page style not designed to cope with it. It looks like just the kind of thing to draw me in. Planescape: Torment in Copland.

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        Earl-Grey says:

        After skimming the article and watching the clip with the sound off, I was convinced it was called No Truce With The Furries!

  8. Nucas says:

    this new title is so dumb my eyes kind of just.. slide over it.

  9. DeepSleeper says:

    I question “your hit points and ability to endure make you a fascist”. I don’t understand the connection there, whereas all the others are very clear and understandable. It seems the one questionable misstep in an otherwise excellent range of risk/reward setups.

    • Nelyeth says:

      It’s not as much “makes you a fascist” as it is “makes you listen to your gut feelings and instincts without questioning them”. Tribalism is one of them, and if you don’t balance it with reason and logic, saying it can lead to a racist/intolerant state of mind isn’t that much of a stretch, in my opinion.

      • DeepSleeper says:

        “This guy’s a fascist” is the exact text used in the link.

        That does make a bit of sense, though. The writeup could have clarified further.

        • reosarevok says:

          I think the idea is that *the skill* is a fascist. Not necessarily the character, although it might be, if the character lets the skill take over.

    • SaunteringLion says:

      The way it’s laid out, increasing your Endurance coupled with how you play “MAY” turn your cop-figure in to a fascist.

      Specifically it’s laid out that Endurance correlates with gut feeling, instinct, action as opposed to contemplation.

      Emphasizing those things in an individual doesn’t make them necessarily a fascist of course, but in actual fascist texts and speeches (from Mussolini or Gentile) gut, instinct and action are all held in much higher regard than reason or intellect, so combining the two here isn’t out of left field.

  10. caff says:

    This sounds superb. Got a lot of love @ Rezzed.

  11. Wednesday says:

    Reading their website:

    “Suggestion is also what people in Brittain call a slimey-limey”

    u wot mate?

    Unless “Brittain” is some in universe thing.

    • Someoldguy says:

      Always the problem if you try and do slang from another country. It’s a minefield trying to get the right slang and use it in the right way. This one is just a flat no.

    • Heimdall2061 says:

      It likely is. The writing in this doesn’t seem like the kind to have random, odd errors in slang and place-name spelling. I have to assume that’s probably a reference to something we don’t yet know about.

  12. milligna says:

    Stop getting procedural generation wrong.

  13. hughie522 says:

    I’m not completely sold on the new name, but at least it’ll stop me reading the title as, “No Truce With The Furries” and thinking it’s some kind of fursuiter apocalypse :P.

  14. bonuswavepilot says:

    Today’s editorial void-howling:

    “And they all over the gosh darn place…”
    – Think you want “they’re” there

    “…while also influencing you emotional by pushing you…”
    – Either “emotionally” or “your emotions”

    “Half Light is your flight of flight responses…”
    – The phrase is ‘flight OR fight’

  15. vahnn says:

    RPS, you really need to step up your editing game lately.

    Can’t wait for this game.

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