A Blade Runner tabletop RPG is coming next year, set between the movies

A new Blade Runner tabletop roleplaying game is in the works from Free League Publishing, created by the team behind the much-beloved Alien RPG. The press release says it'll be "a neon-noir wonderland that’ll take your breath away. One way or another."

As someone who regularly forces close friends to sit through Blade Runner 2049 while I extol the virtues of Ryan Gosling's eye acting, yes I am quite excited. The RPG will cast players as blade runners in the streets of future Los Angeles, with each player's character having their own specialties, personalities, and memories.

(Image credit: Free League Publishing.)

Free League is pretty bullish about this one, reckoning that it will "push the boundaries of investigative gameplay in tabletop RPGs, giving players a range of tools to solve an array of cases far beyond retiring Replicants. Beyond the core casework, the RPG will both in setting and mechanics showcase key themes of Blade Runner–sci-fi action, corporate intrigue, existential character drama, and moral conflict."

The game's rules are based on the Year Zero Engine, which has also been used in the Alien RPG, Tales from the Loop, and Forbidden Lands, but has apparently been tailored anew.

Events begin in 2037, so between the two movies, though the story does involve the early years of Blade Runner 2049's Wallace Corporation and its new Nexus replicants. Players will be able to chooose to play as human or replicant blade runners, working for the LAPD's Rep-Detect unit.

(Image credit: Free League Publishing.)

"It is important for us to fully capture the Blade Runner experience and themes from all perspectives—even the city," says game director Tomas Härenstam. "One of the most fascinating characterizations in Blade Runner is Los Angeles itself, and we want LA to act and react differently based upon your character, specialties, and agenda. Yet regardless of what you are, you're always a Blade Runner first and foremost—the ultimate outsider who must walk alone in a complex city and system where everyone could be a threat and no choice is without its compromises or consequences."

Free League says that, after the core game launches next year, there will be expansions and further development of the setting over four decades, incorporating elements of both movies. Now, let's finished with some more lovely art from one of the truly great sci-fi settings.

(Image credit: Free League Publishing.)

(Image credit: Free League Publishing.)
Rich Stanton

Rich is a games journalist with 15 years' experience, beginning his career on Edge magazine before working for a wide range of outlets, including Ars Technica, Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, Gamespot, the Guardian, IGN, the New Statesman, Polygon, and Vice. He was the editor of Kotaku UK, the UK arm of Kotaku, for three years before joining PC Gamer. He is the author of a Brief History of Video Games, a full history of the medium, which the Midwest Book Review described as "[a] must-read for serious minded game historians and curious video game connoisseurs alike."