The Skills of Disco Elysium

Disco Elysium is a game I only recently got around to playing, despite it sitting at the bottom of my steam list since the beginning of 2022. There is an abundance of articles praising the art direction, incredible storytelling, and captivatingly realistic characters already, so I’d like to turn your attention to just one aspect of it. 

Disco Elysium has a system of skills, each sorted into one of four attributes which can vary drastically between playthroughs. As I played the game for the first time, I was curious as to whether it would be possible to map cognitive functions to each skill. I’d like to attempt just that today, so let’s get into my thoughts on this idea! 

Despite the names giving a suggestion of likely function pairings (logic for thinking, psyche for feeling, etc) there is a surprising amount of variety to what certain skills could represent. 

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Logic is a fairly straightforward Te/Ti skill, since it involves analyzing evidence, finding contradictions, and making deductions. You could argue that this skill refers more to Te since there is a focus on objective measures, but I think Ti still fits nicely because figuring out inconsistencies is a strong suit.

Encyclopedia was the skill I decided to specialize in for my first run, which makes a lot of sense looking back as it mostly closely aligns with Ne, and Ti to a lesser extent. The entire concept of encyclopedia is the ability to draw seemingly useless facts out of nowhere, which sounds a lot like Ne’s constant brainstorming and Ti’s detailed exploration of new concepts.

Rhetoric refers to your ability to debate and pick apart other peoples testimonies. This is fairly cut-and-dry as Te’s objective-forward logic as well as Si’s capacity to catch small details.

Drama is our first skill which doesn’t correspond to any cognitive functions, with its main feature being the ability to lie and detect the lies of others.

Conceptualization’s specialty is in the appreciation of art and ability to contribute meaningfully to such work; this lends itself well to Ne’s affinity for novel concepts as well as Fi’s focus on preferences and pull towards deeper meaning. 

Lastly in this category is visual calculus, which is a mixture of skills that are typically useful for crime forensics like reconstructing scenarios and spatial reasoning. Ti and Ni are loosely connected to this skill, since the former is adept at exploring inner workings and the latter can confidently extrapolate from a small amount of data.

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At its core, volition is your willpower and sense of stability. This works well with Si and Ni which both crave consistency and prefer what they know over treading into new territory. 

Inland empire is your foresight, intuition, and imagination. Accordingly, both Ne and Ni fit nicely into this skill with Ne’s appreciation for the absurd and Ni’s gut feelings and hunches.

Empathy is very similar to Fe as a whole, seeking to truly connect with and understand other people and notice slight changes in their demeanor.

Authority allows you to intimidate others and command respect; the leader-like qualities of this skill meld fully with Te and Fe.

Esprit de Corps is an interesting skill, with the ability to understand the culture of your fellow in-game officers and their intentions. This is very similar to the skills of authority, and therefore shares the same equivalent cognitive functions.

Suggestion is a gentler approach to authority, boasting charisma and good rapport with others. Like empathy, Fe is well suited to these kinds of flattery and charm. 

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There isn’t much to say about most of the physique; these are skills that translate directly to physical ability which only has loose connections with cognitive functions. Despite that, I think shivers is a prime candidate for the sensory-focused Se. 

Shivers gives you an incredible perception of the city around you, including its history and culture. Although no cognitive functions can possess supernatural abilities, Se is still fairly similar with its innate merging into the environment.

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Motorics can be given the same treatment as physique, seeing as how it also deals with physical prowess. However, there are still small connections to Se and Si. Interfacing can also be somewhat linked to Ti since users are often good at making sense of machines.

This is by no means exhaustive and I’m always open to speculation around what other people think! I hope you all can get something out of this list; I find a lot of fulfillment in entertaining the silly ideas I think about when engaged in my interests.


  • February 7, 2023
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