Blade Runner: Enhanced Edition Delayed Indefinitely

Published: October 23, 2020 9:54 AM /


Ray McCoy, protagonist of Blade Runner: Enhanced Edition

Nightdive Studios' upcoming Blade Runner: Enhanced Edition has been delayed indefinitely. The game, which is a remaster of the classic 1997 adventure, was originally due to hit PC and current-gen consoles later this year, but now has a "TBD" release window.

Why is Blade Runner: Enhanced Edition delayed?

This news comes via an interview between Eurogamer and Nightdive Studios. According to Eurogamer, development on Blade Runner: Enhanced Edition has "run into a raft of challenges" that have made the process more complicated. In September this year, Nightdive released a trailer showing some of the work it's been doing on Blade Runner's cinematics. The video wasn't received well, with some fans claiming the game's original iconic look had been removed by Nightdive's update.

The reasons for Nightdive's difficulties remastering Blade Runner are rather long and technical, but they essentially boil down to a couple of different issues. First, the source code for the original Blade Runner has been lost, meaning Nightdive needs to reverse-engineer everything from scratch. The GOG release of Blade Runner already features a lot of this reverse-engineering work thanks to the ScummVM community, but Nightdive wants to release Blade Runner on other platforms besides PC, which would violate the open-source agreement and prevent them from using the ScummVM code.

In addition to this issue, there's also the fact that the original Blade Runner uses a rather unconventional animation technique for its character models. Character animation is broken down into individual models, rather than characters being single models that animate organically. This means each animation involves thousands of different models as each frame represents a different model. As you can imagine, that makes reverse-engineering a project like this rather difficult. This excellent Ars Technica interview features Westwood Studios' Louis Castle discussing the methods of production used to make Blade Runner in 1997. If you're into the technical side of things, it's insightful and well-crafted.

What's next for Blade Runner: Enhanced Edition?

Unfortunately, it looks like the game is on the rocks for now. Nightdive founder Stephen Kick says the coding work on Enhanced Edition is "mostly done", but that the developers are still "experimenting" with the visual aspect of the game in order to "[bring] it up in as high a fidelity" as possible. Kick also admits the above cinematic comparison video isn't a great showcase for the team's work. He says the devs will probably end up bringing the finished version down to 30fps from 60 and add a film grain to make the project look more like a movie. Kick says he and his team will be showing their work on Blade Runner: Enhanced Edition's engine "next", but that he "can't [say] when that's going to be".

Are you sad to hear about the Blade Runner: Enhanced Edition delay? Let us know in the comments below!

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Joe has been writing for TechRaptor for five years, and in those five years has learned a lot about the gaming industry and its foibles. He’s originally an… More about Joseph