The classic Blade Runner game is making a triumphant and official return this year. Following years of legal troubles and some interesting mishaps, the folks at Nightdive Studios — the group responsible for the Turok and System Shock restorations — have now found a way to remaster the classic 90’s adventure game for modern-day hardware. You can learn more about the backstory and the upcoming Blade Runner remaster down below.
The OG Blade Runner Game
Originally releasing back in 1997 on PC, Blade Runner was developed by the now-defunct Westwood Studios — a company best known for its Command & Conquer series which just so happens to also be getting the remaster treatment. After selling over a million units worldwide, receiving critical praise, and putting a series of awards on the shelf, believe it or not, Westwood Studios lost the game’s source code. In a move from Las Vegas to Los Angeles as part of the studio’s merger with EA LA, the code was somehow lost making a remaster of the game next to impossible (at the time) without spending millions.
Above you’ll see a screenshot from the original 1997 release.
That disappointing series of events almost left the game on ice with no chance of a remaster, not to mention how difficult it became to run it on modern PCs. However, over the course of the last eight years, a dedicated group of fans in conjunction with the GOG PC game platform got Blade Runner 1997 up and running once again. But there was still no way for a proper remaster until Larry Kuperman and the rest of the folks at Nightdive put some of its technical prowess to work.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Nightdive’s head of business development said the company “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.”
Blade Runner Remaster
Nightdive says the remastered Blade Runner game will feature a “polished and premium restoration” using the company’s aforementioned KEX engine. Nightdive considers the original to be a “jaw-dropping achievement,” and will stick to simply updating the experience for current generation hardware, as opposed to making any major changes to the actual content. More specifically it says the Blade Runner remaster will feature widescreen resolutions as well as updated character models, animations, and cutscenes, along with the ability to customize your keyboard and controller layout, among other things.
The game, as you can imagine, is based on Ridley Scott’s iconic 1982 Blade Runner film which starred Harrison Ford as protagonist Rick Deckard — a sort of detective tasked with hunting down rogue replicants (extremely intelligent robot-like creatures). The game itself doesn’t actually follow the events of the film, but rather is based on them with players taking on the role of detective Ray McCoy.
What was once a classic gem stuck in yesteryear will now be making a glorious return to current-generation gear. All things considered and despite the recent fan revival, this is n experience many younger gamers might not have ever heard about if Nightdive and KEX engine didn’t get involved, especially those outside of the PC gaming space. While only time will tell if the remaster turns out the way hardcore fans will appreciate, it sounds as though the once-forgotten adventure game is finally in good hands.
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