Blade Runner Video Game Re-Release

Blade Runner will be making a surprising comeback in video game form thanks to Nightdive Studios, the company known for restoring classic video game favorites like System Shock and Turok: Dinosaur Hunter. The classic 1982 sci-film noir directed by Ridley Scott was turned into a point-and-click computer game in 1997 that follows an original story running parallel to the film starring Harrison Ford, occasionally intersecting with it and featuring some of the same famous locations and characters. Now it has been remastered and will be re-released this year.

The Hollywood Reporter has the news on Nightdive Studios working on the Blade Runner video game re-release. Titled Blade Runner: Enhanced Edition, the game will be re-released on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and of course, PC.

If this is the first time you’re hearing about the Blade Runner video game, the story isn’t remarkably different from the movie, but it just features different main characters. Players control detective Ray McCoy, a man tasked with tracking down renegade replicants in Los Angeles 2019. Among them is a philosophical leader called Clovis, who wants to find a way to extend his factory-provided four-year life span.

What made the game interesting is the way your character moves through the story would result in one of over a dozen different endings. For example, if you sympathize with the replicants throughout the game, you turn out to be one, a story element that has been hotly debated among fans of the Blade Runner movie. Stick to your mission, and you earn commendations from your superiors. Some reviewers of the game’s original release felt that the multiple endings allowed for too many loose ends, but others liked that it left some things unresolved.

Nightdive CEO Stephen Kick said in a statement:

“Blade Runner is still a jaw-dropping achievement on every level, so while we’re using KEX to upgrade the graphics and respectfully elevate the gaming experience in a way you’ve never seen before, we’re still preserving Westwood’s vision and gameplay in all its glory. While you can enjoy the benefits of playing the game on modern hardware, the game should look and feel not as it was, but as glorious as you remember it being.”

This feels like a purely nostalgic re-release, especially since point-and-click gameplay isn’t nearly as popular these days. It’s a far cry from the kind of popular video games we have today, even the far more involved role-playing games with extensive character rosters and long storylines. But at the same time, the fact that this game is returning at all is kind of a miracle.

The original source code for the Blade Runner video game was lost when the now-defunct game studio Westwood Games lost it when they relocated from Las Vegas to Los Angeles as part of a merger with EA Los Angeles in 2003. So how did they remaster the game? Larry Kuperman, head of business development at Nightdive, explains:

“It’s true that the original Blade Runner source code was lost. We painstakingly reverse-engineered the code, importing it into our own KEX engine, a powerful tool that allows us to do console ports of classic titles, even in the face of quite challenging situations.”

The result is a “polished and premium restoration” that will have updated character models, animations and cutscenes, and even though the game was created for the 4:3 screen ratio monitors of the late ’90s, it will be presented in widescreen resolution with keyboard and controller customization.

There’s no specific release date for Blade Runner: Enhanced Edition, but it’s expected this year. Take a look at some of the original game from 1997 below for a taste of what you’re in for:

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