Developers ZA/UM Studio have been showered with praise since the release of Disco Elysium for their razor-sharp wit and novel reinventions of familiar RPG mechanics. Disco Elysium already has plenty of potential for replayability, but with great games like these there will always be a portion of the audience that wants to tinker with the inner workings and find ways to extend or alter the experience—and now, one modder has done some of the heavy lifting that others can benefit from.
At NexusMods, the page for Disco Elysium is still light on entries, but the two uploads from modder Castar may help get the ball rolling. The first submission, DiscoAPI, is a "barebones modding framework" that Castar has already used to create the second: a Disco Elyisum "Advanced Character Creation" mod.
Castar's mod overhaul's Disco Elysium's character creator to make it more similar to those of conventional RPGs. Rather than create your amnesiac cop through just assigning them ability scores, you get to fine-tune your build by directly assigning points to each of Disco Elysium's 24 skills from the outset. Castar's mod does take game balance into consideration, but you can also configure it yourself to pump up or diminish your skill array as you see fit. Want to make the world's greatest detective? Do it. Want to make the worst cop possible and see if you can even survive the first few minutes of the game? Go for it.
"At this point in time, the API is a collection of existing Unity modding frameworks and plugins, and a generated file which provides the API hooks into the Disco Elysium code," Castar tells me over Nexus' messaging service. Installing DiscoAPI and Castar's mod is as simple as extracting the files into the game directory, but the API requires a refresh each time ZA/UM updates Disco Elysium. Castar plans to keep updating the API to stay in step with the game.
Castar says that since Disco Elysium is built on Unity, everything a modder can touch is packaged either as assets (graphics, text, UI, sound), or scripts (game logic). While Castar hasn't cracked the former—hence why the UI for character creator mod "looks like crap"—the dialogue and text "can definitely be modded."
Since Disco Elysium has the potential to influence and reshape RPG design moving forwards, it'd be a shame not to see it develop a healthy modding community. ZA/UM set high bars for design and narrative that modders and developers alike should start chasing after. For what it's worth, Castar welcomes any requests or questions from fellow modders that want to join in on the fun.
ZA/UM is planning a 2020 console release for Disco Elysium on PlayStation and Xbox. For more on Disco Elysium, read Caty's feature on how ZA/UM got the hosts of Chapo Trap House to become voice actors for the game.