A visual restoration of Blade Runner, perhaps Westwood’s best game, was published last week on Steam and GOG, and excitement for it was high—at least in the PCG offices. Sadly, the truth is that it isn’t really a remaster at all.
Nightdive had been working on this for some time, but one significant obstacle was that no one could locate the original source code. Unfortunately, the ScummVM version, developed by a group of volunteers in 2019, continues to be the best way to play this influential game.
This is an issue because, upon the introduction of the Enhanced Edition, the original was taken off GOG and included with the new one. The original version wasn’t at all accessible on Steam, but Nightdive has now released it in response to the Enhanced Edition’s reception which is presently resting on.
It is now possible to play the original Blade Runner using the Enhanced Edition, according to Daniel Grayshon of Nightdive. A recovered version of some original game content that was unused can also be utilised to play Blade Runner.
This “Classic” version is superior since the ScummVM crew added the recovered content, which was not present in the Enhanced Edition. The game’s first official patch is still under development and will be released as soon as it is ready, says Grayshon.
“We are looking at all of your comments for the game,” he continues. Blade Runner Enhanced Edition’s flaws don’t end there. The game has been refused classification in Australia and New Zealand on consoles, while it is supposedly still available via Steam and GOG.
You won’t find it there, we’re sorry. We’re unable to distribute this on consoles in Australia, wrote Nightdive engineer Edward850
Felling hype yet?— Nightdive Studios (@NightdiveStudio) March 12, 2020
“Blade Runner: Enhanced Edition brings the PC adventure to Steam and consoles later this year” https://t.co/gQeLPSt2k4
on Resetera. The ACB refused to classify it, as stated.
“We don’t understand why, given the IARC process, we never receive comments. We suspect it’s because the game makes reference to child exploitation.”
Although Nightdive will have the option to ask for the decision to be reconsidered, the automatic IARC procedure doesn’t leave much opportunity for nuance. Given that the game was first launched in Australia in the late 90s (with a “M” classification), it is more perplexing that it has been warned in 2022.
A classification struggle is certainly low on the priority list given the issues Nightdive is having with this title. Although there were high expectations, this remake of the classic adventure game falls short of the original in every significant regard. Most egregiously, the atmosphere has been lost in a game that is so unique because of it.
We’ll have to wait and see how much work Nightdive can get done on the Enhanced Edition while they’re simultaneously completing the System Shock remake. One day, it would be wonderful to be able to suggest it, but for now, we’ll simply have to settle for the excellent original.