After a long, indefinite delay, Blade Runner: Enhanced Edition from Nightdive Studios is coming much sooner than fans might have expected.
In 2020, Nightdive Studios, developer of the upcoming System shock remake, announced an ambitious remaster project for the 1997 cult classic for PC adventures Blade Runner† The project was intended to bring the much-loved Westwood Studios title, which pioneered many mechanics and elements used in later 3D adventure games, to consoles for the very first time, in addition to remastering and preserving it for new audiences. Blade Runner: Improved Edition ran into trouble and was indefinitely delayed from the 2020 release window, and now suddenly appears to be arriving on modern platforms next week.
Blade Runner is a 1997 3D adventure game based on the 1982 Ridley Scott film, inspired by the novel by sci-fi author Phillip K. Dick Do Androids dream of electric sheep? The game’s story parallels that of the original film, which also takes place in a dystopian Los Angeles in November 2019, but instead follows a Blade Runner named Ray McCoy tasked with chasing a rogue state of Replicants, just like the film’s protagonist, Rick Deckard. The game features some of the characters and actors from the film, such as Sean Young as Rachael, and uses parts of the iconic film score composed by Greek musician Vangelis.
Nightdive Studios, which has been responsible for many acclaimed remaster projects in recent years, including: doom 64† quakeand Shadow Man Remastered, announced in 2020 that it would be remastering Westwood’s original title and bringing it to modern platforms in partnership with Blade Runner film studio Alcon Entertainment. This announcement coincided with the release of an AI-unscaled 4K remaster of the game’s opening cutscene. Later, however, Blade Runner: Improved Edition was postponed indefinitely due to technical issues, which Nightdive’s CEO claimed was due to a lack of archived source code, forcing the developer to rebuild the game in its internal KEX engine used for previous remasters.
Now, after a brief appearance in the Limited Run Games LRG3 showcase, Blade Runner: Improved Edition has returned with a June 23, 2022 release date across all major digital storefronts. The game costs $9.99 and the Nintendo Switch file size is already confirmed at 3.7 GB. For those wanting a little more, the Limited Run Games physical edition costs $34.99.
The remaster is currently touting improved visuals across the board, including reconstructed and enhanced cinematics, which now also run at 60 frames per second as opposed to the 15 frames per second originals, modern gamepad support, anisotropic texture filtering, and SMAA Anti-aliasing. The PS4 Pro and Xbox One X versions have already been confirmed to support 4K output, and the trophies and achievement lists have also gone live.
Blade Runner: Improved Edition will be released on June 23, 2022 on PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One.
MORE: How Remasters of Classic Games Like Blade Runner Help Preserve Video Game History