Blade Runner: Enhanced Edition, the remaster of the 1997 classic point-and-click adventure made by Westwood Studios, is now stuck in development limbo. Previously it was planned for 2020 release for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, and PC. Nightdive CEO Stephen Kick confirmed the delay is caused by “old technology” in an interview with Eurogamer.
There have been some obstacles we’ve had to overcome in terms of the old technology the game uses. And our hunt for the original source code and assets have come up empty.”
Nightdive Studios, known for its System Shock and Turok: Dinosaur Hunter rereleases, managed to secure the license from the current rights holder of the Blade Runner IP, film production company Alcon Entertainment, back in December 2019. While EA managed to find old “Westwood content” during and helped the development of the Command & Conquer Remastered, it seems the Blade Runner source code is still lost to time like tears in rain, Kick added.
We’ve had some discussions with EA about what else is in the [Westwood] vault they found regarding Blade Runner, and we haven’t been able to get a clear answer […] I’ve been led to believe that there’s some stuff but no-one will ever know.”
Although Blade Runner: Enhanced Edition now carries a “TBD” release date, fans have managed to reverse-engineer the original release using ScummVM. A program that supports over 250 classic adventure games. This fan-made release has been available on GOG.com since late 2019, even packed with cut content. If you’re wondering why Nightdive didn’t just use the ScummVM version, Eurogamer thought the same as well.
According to Eurogamer, Nightdive originally intended to base their work on the fan reverse-engineered codes but the fact that the program used the open-source agreement ended up preventing that idea. Simply put, Nightdive would have had to release Blade Runner: Enhanced Edition along with accessible source code of the game to anyone who bought it. It’s completely doable on PC, sure, but the logistics are impossible for console releases.
Still, Kick and his team believe that this is just “taking a bit longer than they anticipated”. They still believe they will be able to release Blade Runner: Enhanced Edition soon.
We’re in a really difficult middle ground where we can’t really do what is typically done in a remaster […] So yeah, it’s been a real challenge.”
It’s a shame that Blade Runner: Enhanced Edition is delayed to an unknown date. Still, at least PC players can enjoy the fan rerelease right now. What are you hoping for the remaster? Share your thoughts in the comments below.