The Blade Runner: Enhanced Edition released last week to a cacophony of audience disapproval. Originally released in 1997, Blade Runner is a point-and-click adventure game set in the same universe as the films, giving fans an opportunity to live out their Blade Running dreams in the shoes of a different character than Ford’s iconic Rick Deckard. Fueled by nostalgia, Nightdive Studios had the not-so-simple goal to modernize the game and bring it to a modern platform (Steam). Unfortunately for Nightdive, which is also working on a System Shock remake, the original code for the 1997 Blade Runner has been lost. As a result, the studio had to create the game from scratch, introducing a whole host of problems that hadn’t been present in the original code.
As evidenced by the poor audience score (34% at time of writing) and copious negative reviews, these new bugs include a long list of graphical errors caused by the game’s new 60 FPS status. However, this “update” to quality is ultimately game-breaking, since the game looks much worse at the higher framerate, according to many reviewers. Additionally, the developers seem to have removed a variety of features present in the original, from menu options to the character’s ability to walk around in several scenes. More reviews point to audio issues, graphical downgrades, and disappearance of subtitles or international language options. While many on Steam recognized the studio’s attempt to preserve a past favorite, most reviews referenced the sloppy approach to such preservation, comparing the game to an emulator and considering it an “insult to the original game.”
Then, to add true insult to injury, Nightdive Studios released the classic edition of the game alongside their “enhanced” edition. This was a clear attempt to quell audience disapproval and maintain a playerbase until their post-release patch can fix a variety of the release’s bugs. However, as mentioned, the original game’s code is lost to time – but thanks to the ScummVM project, accessible on GoG, a port of the classic has been available for some time now, even including some content that was cut from the original release. Yet, in a blatant disregard for the port’s creators, Nightdive ripped ScummVM’s classic version to release alongside their own post-launch, immediately associating the poor “enhanced” edition with the faithful tried-and-true port. One of ScummVM’s developers told Kotaku:
Any mention of ScummVM has been removed from the page. Our version is now referred to as ‘the original version of Blade Runner’ and is listed as a free add-on in an apparent attempt to calm down upset customers.
While Nightdive has yet to comment on the controversy, many of the Steam reviews have begun to reference the injustice, shining a light on the problem and discouraging many from putting money into the pockets of “thieves” like Nightdive.