Blade Runner Enhanced Edition is unfortunately far from enhanced

Yesterday, Nightdive Studios released Blade Runner Enhanced Edition, and while some effort was made to upscale the original game’s assets — despite the lack of source code — the results have failed to impress fans of the original Westwood Studios classic.

The Enhanced Edition involved reconstructing and upscaling the original Westwood VQA Videos and further improvements include a modern HD display, an enhanced KIA and clue UI, subtitle support, gamepad support and graphical updates. Lastly it featured playability on most modern machines of our generation.

Sadly, once fans were able to get a hold of the game itself, they found out that the Enhanced Edition of the game wasn’t up to snuff. The atmosphere in the game seemed to have evaporated, the UI doesn’t feel good to use, there are audio desynchronization issues, pre-rendered backgrounds seemed to have lost some detail and much more.

The worst part is that a pretty good representation of the game was already available in the first place through ScummVM, a program that allows you to run older games on newer systems. One of the developers on the ScummVM version of the game, Thomas Fach-Pedersen, expressed their disappointment on Twitter towards GOG because their hard work was essentially replaced by a poor recreation of the game.

“Over a number of years, I, along with friends, lovingly reverse engineered Westwood’s Blade Runner for ScummVM, reviving the game and helping to release the game for sale once again. For this we have asked for and received nothing but the honor of the work.” begins a thread on Twitter by Fach-Pedersen.

“Now Nightdive Studios has released their “Enhanced” version. It is, by all accounts, ugly and buggy, and offers no tangible benefits over ScummVM aside from very poor console support. They even forgot to credit me for the subtitles we let them use.”

“Disappointing, but hardly surprising. This would all be “fine” if hadn’t decided to replace our version of Blade Runner with this so-called “Enhanced Edition”, now offering the ScummVM original only as an add-on.”

Blade Runner Enhanced Edition
Look how they massacred my boy!

“Sadly, it is now no longer possible to purchase and play a digital copy of Blade Runner in ScummVM without sending money to Nightdive Studios. I’m sad to see relegate our free work to a mere attachment on somebody else’s mediocre paid product.”

Fans of the game have taken to posting negative reviews of the Enhanced Edition on the GOG website and on Steam. They recommend firing up the superior version of the game that runs on ScummVM. I’m inclined to agree as well, this might not be the best way to enjoy your nostalgia trip at the moment.

Nightdive Studios hasn’t acknowledged the backlash yet but hopefully they’re listening and will make plans of some kind to address these issues.