Get Familiar With Disco Elysium, An Urban Fantasy RPG

After changing the name from No Truce With The Furies, the developers are unraveling some of the details on this deep detective RPG.


No Truce With The Furies, an intriguing RPG that made my Most Anticipated Games of 2018 list, has a brand new name: Disco Elysium. As the scope of the urban fantasy detective drama expanded, the name had to change encompass more of the full tale’s purview.

Let’s set the stage. Disco Elysium blends a hardboiled cop show into an isometric RPG for an experience that allows players to shape exactly what kind of cop they are. Even in the very early build I tried at SXSW 2017, the deep RPG system felt like something that could only be rivaled by the recently released Torment: Tides of Numenera. I got a taste of the open-ended structure of the game and the internal inventory of thoughts I could unravel the pertinent details of a situation.

I didn’t get to see the skill system explicitly, but I witnessed its effects on conversation. Since then, I’ve craved details on the inner workings and the development team, ZA/UM, has started rolling out the breakdowns for the four skill trees. Psyche, Intellect, and Physique are all below with Motorics coming soon.  Just from the descriptions, I can tell that the writing for Disco Elysium is going to be incredible. Check out the official website for the lengthier breakdowns of what each skill offers.

Psyche Skill Tree Breakdown

Volition - is the foundational skill for Psyche, as Logic is for Intellect. However, while Logic may sometimes succumb to the temptation of intellectual arrogance, Volition is more consistent in getting you out of trouble. It’s your inner good guy.

Inland Empire - is your unfiltered emotions, dreams, and forebodings. Basically, Inland Empire has a lot of interesting (read: wrong) ideas about the world. It lets you know when there might be something mysterious or spooky going on. Why would you want to be just a regular old cop when you could be a para-natural detective, groping your way through invisible dimensions of reality? it asks you. (Inland Empire is, after all, the Lynchian skill.)

Empathy - is your ability to pick up on subtle cues that indicate that something is happening beneath the surface of other characters. Not that they’re lying to you, exactly — Drama (under Intellect) is your go-to for picking up on lies. Rather, Empathy lets you know when there’s more to the story than meets the eye. Perhaps a hidden sadness that a good detective should be able to coax out of the people he’s questioning. Or hidden resentment toward the detective himself.

Authority - is the skill that likes to fly into a rage when it feels like you and your profession aren’t being RESPECTED. It constantly urges you to reassert your dominance over those around you. Was there a hint of sarcasm in that elderly scientist’s “It’s a pleasure to meet you, officer?” Demand that he change his tone, or else!

Suggestion - is the skill of manipulators and charmers. Need to talk someone into something or out of something? Suggestion will hint at the right approach to take.

Esprit De Corps - is your “meanwhile, back at the ranch” skill. It’s distinct from all the other skills in Metric in that it supplies the player with information that is beyond the scope of the protagonist’s present experience. Not in a para-natural way – rather, as literature. Esprit de Corps produces flash-sideways mini novellas of your cop friends, doing their cop stuff while you do yours.

Intellect Skill Tree Breakdown

Logic - is raw intellectual power. If you want to analyze the living daylights out of the case, take Logic. Formulate theories about what happened, or detect inconsistencies in the statements people make to you. It’s useful for not getting bamboozled.

Rhetoric - is your ability to debate. Nitpick, make intellectual discourse. It doesn’t need to be an argument, you can just shoot off your mouth and take hearty pleasure from it. But let’s be honest – mostly Rhetoric just bickers. About politics.

Encyclopedia - is your knack for trivia. It’s perhaps the talkiest of all the skills, pulling out drawers of fascinating if questionable tidbits of knowledge. Sometimes real nuggets of gold too. It’s up to you to discern between the two.

Drama - is a god damn liar. Deliver believable deviations from reality, sometimes with the goal to deceive people, but not necessarily. You may just want to entertain as well.

Conceptualization - is your capacity for original thought. Make fresh associations, really delve into the concepts of the world – from Jan Kaarp’s postmodernist karperie, to Revachol’s arabesque architectural style dideridada, or even the concept of hardcore as deployed by the burgeoning dance music scene – then add your own contribution to these works! It’s your general purpose cultural theorist, used for both criticism and creation.

Visual Calculus - is your forensics skill. It represents your grasp of the laws of physics, motion particularly. Create models of past events in your mind’s eye, trace dotted lines across the room, read tire tracks to recreate an automobile accident. Even notice tactical opportunities in combat situations – then take advantage of them. (Perception + Visual Calculus = the ultimate sniper)

Physique Skill Tree Breakdown

Physical Instrument - your primary corporeal tool: your muscles and your skeleton. Physical Instrument is your hand to hand combat skill, your inner coach. He likes to be addressed as “Coach Physical Instrument”. You can call him Coach, or you can call him Coach Physical Instrument.

Electrochemistry - nothing compared to Electrochemistry, who turns you into a lecherous drug addict. I’ll level with you – it’s one of the funnest skills in the game. Not only does it crave for any and all substances on Earth, it’s also a treasure trove of knowledge on each of them. For some reason, this cop knows exactly what GABA receptors do, what serotonin syndrome means, and what kind of cocaine the Filippian kings did four centuries ago.

Endurance - your metabolism and your circulatory system. It’s what keeps you alive. Endurance determines the amount of health points you have. Health is our primary resource pool, in addition to morale. Run out of health and you have a heart attack. Have too many heart attacks and you die. (It’s a known fact that cool cops can shake off one or two cardiac arrests like it weren’t a thing).

Half Light - Fear! Aggression! Half Light is your fight or flight response. This one’s definitely the chattiest of the bunch. Not only does he mix well with a high Physical Instrument, telling you to smash everyone in the face before they strangle you in your sleep, Half Light also has some pretty keen observations.

Pain Threshold - lets you shake off that heart attack I mentioned, like it was nothing – a pinprick. It’s your get out of jail free card for physical damage – it’s what makes you crawl forward, bloodied, ready for revenge.

Shivers - is the strangest one out there and it’s proven to be a favorite for many people who’ve had the chance to play the game for longer. You know those hair follicles you have on your arm, on the back of your neck? Notice how they stand up sometimes? Accompanied by a cold sensation? Shivers controls that – your shiver response. It’s a residual leftover from hundreds of thousands of years ago, when you had a use for it…

Stay tuned to Shacknews for more Disco Elysium updates, the next likely being the Motoroics skill tree breakdown revealing the details rest of the 24 skills: Hand/Eye Coordination, Perception, Reaction Speed, Savoir Faire, Interfacing, and Composure.

News Editor

Charles Singletary Jr keeps the updates flowing as the News Editor, breaking stories while investigating the biggest topics in gaming and technology. He's pretty active on Twitter, so feel free to reach out to him @The_CSJR. Got a hot tip? Email him at

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