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Behind the messy launch of Blade Runner: Enhanced Edition

Deadlines and Covid amongst pressures faced by Nightdive Studios.

Two lead developers on Blade Runner: Enhanced Edition have detailed some of the factors that led to the game's disappointing state upon release.

Blade Runner: Enhanced Edition released on 23rd June, and received a negative reaction from critics and fans alike. The controversy didn't end there, with many also unhappy about the delisting of the fan-made ScummVM version of the original game on GOG. The ScummVM version, seen as vastly superior to Nightdive's remaster, was subsequently reinstated a week later, and was also then packaged with the Enhanced Edition on Steam.

Now, Nightdive Studio director of business development Larry Kuperman and lead producer on Blade Runner: Enhanced Edition Dimitris Giannakis have discussed the troubled development of the project with PCGamesN.

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The pair blamed "human issues", and described the released version of the game as the "result of a perfect storm of challenges" faced by the studio.

Kuperman took the blame for the game's release date, chosen to coincide with the movie's 40th anniversary.

"The responsibility for the ship date and, in retrospect, the failure to change the ship date resides 100 percent with me... Anyone who knows me knows I have a strong personality. Maybe Dimitris [Giannakis], if he'd been on board, would have been the one that said, hey, we're not ready. Maybe it was because of my personality, because of who I am, that nobody told us we weren't ready."

The studio had previously spoken to Eurogamer about the difficulties faced by developers who had to reverse-engineer the original's code due to a lack of source code. This process, Giannakis claimed, took thousands of hours to do.

The huge time and effort that went into reverse-engineering the game, as well as team members catching Covid, all contributed towards the game's subpar quality.

Kuperman also defended his decision to not push the game's release date back later in the interview.

"I can't say that if we had pushed it off a couple of months that things would have been better. We could have had a monkeypox epidemic. These are just the things that happen."

Given that Nightdive is currently working on the long-awaited System Shock reboot and System Shock 2: Enhanced Edition whilst the world continues to adapt to Covid and a monkeypox outbreak, I'll be keeping my fingers crossed that the studio has learnt from the experience of developing Blade Runner: Enhanced Edition in the same conditions.

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About the Author

Liv Ngan avatar

Liv Ngan

Reporter Intern

Liv is Eurogamer's reporter intern. When not playing games, she's trying to bring cats to her yard and be meme literate.

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