Surreal detective thriller Disco Elysium sounds too good to be true, so weird and clever and fascinating that I’ve been happy for it to live in the dream space of what might be rather than face it in the real world as an actual concrete game I can actually play and potentially be disappointed by. That bliss will soon end, as developers ZA/UM today announced a release date of October 15th for the game formerly known as No Truce With The Furies. God, I hope it’s truly glorious. It might just be. Here, see a bit more in this new trailer.
Love that brushstroked look.
So here we are, a cop in a seaside city. Maybe you want to be an ace detective capable of genius intuition. Or a tough-but-fair cop who’s not afraid of cracking skulls. Or a bit of a weirdo attuned to the stranger side of the world. Or a shambling fuck-up who can’t even bear the sight of his own face in the mirror. Or to hell with this cop stuff, just get out there and see what’s around. Supposedly we’ll have a whole lot of freedom in this open-world RPG.
Even aside from the setting and writing (which seem wonderful), Disco Elysium is built on fascinating foundations for an RPG. Plain ol’ attribute points are double-edged, becoming compulsions and defining traits we might struggle with. We keep an inventory of thoughts we can rearrange to change our beliefs and open new opportunities. Skills develop personalities and identities of their own. You might lack the willpower to follow through on your own intentions. You might find all sorts of mysteries off the beaten path. You might not find your shoes.
“This game has layers. Peel another one back and find more: when I played as a more imaginative detective I saw only that the bar’s menu board had been wiped clean after MONDAY; when I played as an intellectual I noticed details about the handwriting. I found a girl outside a book shop and she told me it was cursed. Her mother said she was lying. I tried to break through a mysterious locked door in the back room, but could not. Neither could I persuade the mother to open it. That door consumes my thoughts. I spoke to two old men playing boules in a crater left over from an old war they’d fought in. I roundhouse kicked a giant man. I failed to assert dominance over a horrible child who was high on drugs and throwing stones at a body.”