I was heartbroken by the state that Nightdive's Blade Runner Enhanced Edition released in (opens in new tab). As someone with long, fond memories of sitting at my dad's enormous grey Fujitsu PC and running around the original's rain-slick LA streets, I was excited for the surefire nostalgia hit that I thought Nightdive's remaster would be.
Well, the rest is history. The smudgy upscaling, unnatural framerate, and a litany of new bugs combined to make sure the remaster turned out a worse experience than the original. Those of us who were looking forward to stepping into Ray McCoy's gumshoes were sorely disappointed. But at least now we know why.
A new interview from PCGamesN (opens in new tab) with Nightdive's Larry Kuperman and Dimitris Giannakis—the company's director of business development and lead producer on Blade Runner Enhanced Edition, respectively—sheds some light on the "perfect storm" the project faced before it was released.
"If anyone thinks… that we sat around a table and said we're going to ship a game that’s not up to our Nightdive standards… that didn't happen," Kuperman told PCGamesN. Instead, the pair attribute the bulk of the blame to a confluence of factors, namely Kuperman's desire to ship the game in time for the original movie's 40th anniversary and an absence of QA staff because of Covid-19. With Giannakis taking time off to move across the country, there was no one around with the willingness to pull the handbrake on the project.
"Anyone who knows me knows I have a strong personality," said Kuperman, adding that, if Giannakis had been available, he might "have been the one that said, 'hey, we’re not ready’" and averted the game's disastrous launch. That certainly wasn't the only issue: the pair also spoke about problems caused by the absence of the original game's source code, and the difficulty of testing a game that relies so heavily on RNG to determine what players see. Nevertheless, it really does sound like the game would have done a lot better if someone had just been willing to slam on the brakes.
On the plus side, the pair confirm that another patch is in the works for the game following the substantial one that came out on June 4th, not long after the game's first release. Nightdive is planning on letting players toggle between the original and enhanced cutscenes, fixing UI issues, and otherwise chipping away at that big list of player complaints. I'm still excited about the prospect of a remaster that lives up to the original, so I have my fingers crossed they'll put it out of the bag eventually. After all, I'm still looking forward to that nostalgia hit.