Disco Elysium - A Colossal Game

With Disco Elysium launching in a few weeks, we get a developer blog that outlines just how big this innovative detective RPG is going to be. The developers expect an average playthrough to take about 60 hours, with multiple playthroughs required to see most of the game's content that includes five distinct districts, roughly 100 quests and inventory items, and over 50 thoughts on top of that. You should also expect a total of 70 partially voice acted characters and over a million words of dialogue.

The blog post also shares a shortened version of the release date announcement trailer:

Some additional information:

Let’s talk content richness and playtime.

We’ve had enough people finish the game from start to end now. We can finally say how big the game is. And Disco Elysium is, in every sense of the word, a huge game. It’s bigger than *giant* and (a little) smaller than *gargantuan*, so I would say it is about colossus-sized.


How long is a colossal game? Well, it takes 60+ hours of continuous playtime to finish Disco Elysium if you’re a reasonably completionist player, as I am. It takes 90 hours if you’re absolutely savouring every detail. And 30 hours if you’re rushing it. Back-of-the-box, I would put playtime at: 60+ hours.

Map-wise, Disco Elysium takes place in one city district – Martinaise, in the city of Revachol. Martinaise is divided into five major areas – call them biomes if you like. Video game people love biomes:
  • Martinaise proper, comprised of modern, renovated buildings. A dilapidated cityscape.
  • The Industrial Harbour. Big machinery and containers upon containers of goods.
  • The wild, abandoned urban coastline, full of ruins from a long lost Revolution.
  • A plethora of underground areas meant to be explored with your flashlight.
  • And a fifth area that I won’t reveal here.
All four non-underground areas are one seamless, isometric open world that you can approach in any order.

The world is about the size of Planescape: Torment. Or a sizeable chunk of the first Pillars. A sizeable chunk of Fallout: New Vegas… But the resolution – the level of detail, content density – of these areas is, I would say, about 5 times denser than any RPG I’ve played. Disco Elysium is a detective game and thus you have to be able to put it under a magnifying glass. Any part of it. Every apartment, hallway, street corner, lamp, or even trashcan needs story, writing, details and interactivity that, to me, exceeds even the most detail-oriented adventure games.

None of these areas reuse assets or look the same like games that are asset-assembled do. Sure, people have the same radio every now and then, every little room is 100% unique when it comes to layout and art. And music, too.

There are four major weather states – snow, rain, mist and clear. And four times of day – morning, day, evening, night. These all combine to make an unpredictable, moody city where time moves in a very realistic manner. Getting through one day is a massive thing. Shadows fall. Sodium lights flicker. The music changes. Tomorrow brings new NPC’s to old locations, as the world changes each day. It takes about one real life day to complete one in-world day, if you’re being meticulous.


Disco Elysium has about 100 “quests” – or whatever you call them. We call them “tasks”. Tasks range from minor to-do’s a la “have a bath” to side-adventures that take a whole day to complete. We don’t differentiate between side-quests and main quests, by the way. It’s all one big thing — the story of your life in another world, as a detective of the Revachol Citizen’s Militia.


You have about 100 inventory items to mix and match from. These include tools – crowbars, guns, a boombox, a magnum sized bottle of wine… – and a plethora of clothes and even shiny armour to protect yourself with. Then we also have over 50 thoughts to choose from. These go in your head, they’re a kind of special item that evolves over time, giving you all manner of perk-like effects and role playing options. So – you’re playing physical and mental dress-up, draping your detective in ceramic armour, disco duds or tracksuit trousers – all the while filling your head with notions like: poetry, technology, para-natural nonsense, or trying to remember how old you are.

40 original pieces of music play as you explore the city. Some 6 different psychoactive substances get you high as you do so. Wine, beer, smokes, anti-radiation drugs… some good old fashioned trucker speed. And so on.

Jesus, and then there’s the skills! There are 24 of them and I swear to god – the least used has around 50 cases where it does something. The really active ones have (I’m not even kidding) around 500 uses. So yeah… There are thousands of skill checks. There are literally too many to count, for various technical reasons I won’t go into it right now. Safe to say, this is the skilliest game ever skilled. The skill list of 3.5 edition d’n’d is but a baby compared to Disco Elysium.


There are 70 characters, all have partial VO. Each you can spend hours talking to, each has hours of secret content.

Aaaaaand you’re gonna have to play the thing from beginning to end three times to get to see most of it. To see all of it… I don’t think a single human being can. But the internet has proven many a boast wrong, so let’s see.

It’s honestly inconceivable how we managed to do this. I guess time is the answer. Disco Elysium took 5 years to produce. We only managed to make it so fast because we had a head start with worldbuilding. A whopping 13 years worth of D&D style pen and paper games in the Elysium setting beforehand.