The Hollywood Reporter has revealed Alcon Entertainment and Nightdive Studios are working on Blade Runner: Enhanced Edition.
Originally published by Virgin Interactive and developed by Westwood Studios, the 1997 point-and-click adventure originally launched for Windows PCs.
Now a report from The Hollywood Reporter claims that publisher Alcon Entertainment (along with Genuine Entertainment) and developer Nightdive Studios (System Shock: Enhanced Edition, and System Shock 2020) are bringing the game to modern Windows PC, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.
The original game was not based on the titular film, but its own story running along-side the film’s plot. In the distant future of 2019, detective Ray McCoy hunts down replicants who have gone renegade in Los Angeles. The original game won the first ever Interactive Achievement Awards (later known as the DICE Awards) for Computer Adventure Game of the Year.
In 2015, Westwood Studios Co-Founder Louis Castle revealed that the source code for the game had been lost. In an interview with YouTube channel RagnarRox that it was lost when the company relocated from Las Vegas to Los Angeles in 2003 when they merged with EA’s Los Angeles studio. Castle also suggested a remake would be almost impossible due to its cost of recreating it.
Nonetheless, Nightdive Studio’s Head of Business Development Larry Kuperman states Nightdiver undertook the task. Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, Kuperman stated “It’s true that the original Blade Runner source code was lost. We painstakingly reverse-engineered the code, importing it into our own KEX engine, a powerful tool that allows us to do console ports of classic titles, even in the face of quite challenging situations.”
The Hollywood Reporter states the game will feature a “polished and premium restoration” using the company’s KEX game engine; also used for ports of Turok: Dinosaur Hunter, System Shock, and more.
In The Hollywood Reporter’s words “The game will feature updated character models, animations and cutscenes, as well as widescreen resolution support, keyboard and controller customization and more. The original foreign language translations (which include German, French, Italian and Chinese) of the original game have also been sourced for the Enhanced Edition.”
Nightdive Studios CEO Stephen Kick stated high praise for the original, along with the studio’s intention to preserve how the original was presented.
“Blade Runner is still a jaw-dropping achievement on every level, so while we’re using KEX to upgrade the graphics and respectfully elevate the gaming experience in a way you’ve never seen before, we’re still preserving Westwood’s vision and gameplay in all its glory. While you can enjoy the benefits of playing the game on modern hardware, the game should look and feel not as it was, but as glorious as you remember it being.”
Genuine Entertainment’s Joe LeFavi helped broker the partnership between Nightdive Studios and Alcon Entertainment. Coincidentally, he produced the art book for Blade Runner 2049.
We will keep you informed as we learn more.
Blade Runner: Enhanced Edition is coming soon to Windows PC, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.