'Disco Elysium' creators win President's Young Cultural Figure award

"Disco Elysium" gameplay. Source: ERR

Robert Kurvitz and Aleksander Rostov, creators of popular role-playing indie videogame "Disco Elysium", were awarded with the annual President's Young Cultural Figure award of €5,000 for 2020.

Meelis Oidsalu, board member of the Cultural Foundation, said: "It is a somewhat innovative situation on the role-playing landscape where the main character's personality and moods have to be developed, which is why [Disco Elysium] is also similar to an exercise in empathy and creativity."

Kurvitz and Rostov consider poet Arvi Siig as inspiration for their game. "Arvi Siig is the greatest Estonian poet. Without his modernism, Elysium - the world the game is placed in - would not be half of what it is," Kurvitz said, adding that Siig's vision of an international, radical and humanist Estonian culture lives on in "Disco Elysium".

In addition to financial success, the game has been awarded with many of its genres' most decorated awards. Time magazine picked it as one of the best video games of the decade and The Guardian, New York Times and New Yorker mentioned it as one of the best games of 2019.

Oidsalu said: "Expressing the game's success in film industry terms, we can say the game won a foreign language Oscar and the Vienna Film Festival main prize."

He emphasized that the global video game industry is three times the size of the film industry when it comes to financing, meaning the game's success is an extraordinary breakthrough. "It is also made more significant by the fact the game was created on Estonian capital," Oidsalu said.

The Young Cultural Figure award is given out annually to an Estonian cultural figure aged 35 or younger, whose artistic accomplishments have received wide-spread acclaim or have significantly helped introduce Estonian culture in the world. The winners of the award are chosen by the Council of the Cultural Foundation who will consult experts, if necessary.

Last year's winner of the cultural figure award was jazz-musician Kadri Voorand.


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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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