The highly anticipated remaster of Blade Runner has launched today on all major platforms, including on Xbox. Blade Runner is the 1997 point-and-click adventure game based on the now iconic film, and has been upscaled and modernized by Nightdive Studios.
When Blade Runner was developed and released by Westwood Studios (Command & Conquer, Lands of Lore) it was unlike many other licensed computer game adaptations, a remarkable piece of interactive entertainment. It captured the neon-drenched atmosphere and moody noir attitude of the film while telling a story that ran parallel to it.
While the game absolutely shows its age, thanks to some stilted voice acting and adventure game tropey-ness, Blade Runner broke ground with a heavily randomized adventure that tasks you, as ‘rep-detect’ Ray McCoy, with identifying and hunting down replicants, whose identities are determined randomly with every new game. The game subtly alters the behaviors of NPCs to account for this.
The remaster was announced back in 2020 and slated for release in the same year, but technical issues added considerable delay to the project. In a conversation with the Hollywood Reporter, Larry Kuperman of Nightdive explained that the original source code for Westwood’s game was lost and had to be reverse-engineered and imported into their KEX engine, which had been used in previous Nightdive ports and remasters such as Turok and System Shock.
Blade Runner Enhanced Edition boasts reconstructed and up-rezed cinematics with frame rates boosted from 15 to 60 fps, enhanced subtitle support, support for controllers and gamepads and various modern post-processing techniques such as anisotropic texture filtering and SMAA anti-aliasing. The Enhanced Edition also adds a clue user interface into the game’s Knowledge Integration Assistant (KIA) to provide tips and hints.
Blade Runner: Enhanced Edition is available on the Microsoft Store for Xbox One and Xbox Series X and S consoles.