For decades, one of the major goals for many video game RPG studios has been to capture the freedom of tabletop role playing games. Without the walls of developer-created player spaces, pre-written dialogue, and inflexible rules, tabletop adventuring is so freeform that it’s practically expressive art. Within a tabletop RPG’s imaginary world, you can be whoever you want to be.
The latest milestone in this pursuit has been laid by the most unlikely of studios: a tiny team called ZA/UM. It has just released the critically acclaimed Disco Elysium, a murder mystery detective game that beautifully captures the freedom of roleplay by presenting a world that feels as if it has few rules.