Blade Runner: Enhanced Edition will be coming to PC and consoles later this year, thanks to video game restorers Nightdive Studios.
This is an updated version of the 1997 point-and-click adventure that made a surprise return to PC when it was re-released on GOG towards the end of 2019. The Enhanced Edition will be heading to Steam and will hopefully provide the definitive way for you to hunt replicants — machines that look exactly like humans — across a Los Angeles as soaked by neon as it is by rain.
More life, father
The Blade Runner game was originally released in 1997 and was developed by Westwood Studios, a team perhaps more famous for Command & Conquer. It was a cult classic, and time hasn’t much diminished that status. Barring the stunning recreation of the film’s look and feel, it had branching paths and randomized the identities of the replicants you were hunting, and it let you feel like you were doing genuine detective work rather than trying to use a rubber chicken on everything in sight. Unfortunately, for the next two decades, it seemed like it would be lost in time like tears in the rain. Blade Runner was trapped in rights hell for the longest time, and last year’s GOG release was a genuine surprise.
Blade Runner: Enhanced Edition is a further step forward from that GOG release. Graphically, we’re promised updated character models and animations, as well as cutscenes that have been upscaled via machine learning algorithms. Widescreen resolution support is promised, as are customizable controls — whether you want to play on mouse and keyboard or via a gamepad. Nightdive has even managed to find the original foreign-language translations, so it’ll have full support for German, French, Italian, and Chinese. To quote Nightdive’s CEO Stephen Kick, “The game should look and feel not as it was, but as glorious as you remember it being.”
The one wrinkle is that, right now, we don’t actually have any screenshots of this. The only asset that’s been released is the logo, so anything and everything else you see on this page is from the 1997 original.
Blade Runner casts you as Ray McCoy, a rookie Blade Runner assigned to track down and execute a group of replicants who attacked an exotic pets store and murdered the animals within. Naturally, things get murkier and more muddled from there. You’ll need to track down leads, find clues using the three-dimensional ESPER photographs, apply Voight-Kampff empathy tests to suspects, and determine whether to kill, arrest, or release those you come across. And hopefully not kill any humans along the way. The game advances in pseudo-real time, with your actions triggering some minor randomized plot developments, like other Blade Runners uncovering evidence and adding it to the database to assist you.
Blade Runner: Enhanced Edition is due out later in 2020. That should give you plenty of time to take a Voight-Kampff test and make sure you’re not a replicant.