Disco Elysium puts its political themes front and centre because the creator didn’t want to be ‘like J. K. Rowling’ and externalise them from the work (via PCGamesN).
Robert Kurvitz, the lead designer and writer on the game, was interviewed by Edge magazine on his creative process and how he explored the heavier themes in Disco Elysium like fascism, substance abuse, and corruption. ‘I think to give advice, I would have to add my personal opinions to the artwork we’ve made. We worked incredibly hard to make it self-sufficient [as a representation],’ he answered.
Kurvitz elaborated that employing his ‘author’s position’ would let him sway individual experiences of the game, and if he did that, it would upset the ‘balance’ between author and audience. ‘I don’t want to be like J. K. Rowling – I don’t want to add politics later to my work,’ he explained. ‘Our Dumbledore is already out, if you play the game correctly.’
The creator means J. K. Rowling’s choice to add again and again to her Harry Potter series after its publication, most famously saying that Dumbledore was gay and in love with the antagonistic Gellert Grindelwald. This was never mentioned in the books, but the fact that Dumbledore has a scar on his knee in the shape of the London Underground map made it into the text as a key characterisation. Anyway, Kurvitz assured that he would not be following in her footsteps and that Disco Elysium’s political messages were unmistakably and comprehensively contained within the work.
Disco Elysium is out now on PC, and will be coming to consoles in the future.