It seems that you're using an outdated browser. Some things may not work as they should (or don't work at all).
We suggest you upgrade newer and better browser like: Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer or Opera

×
It remains one of the best adventure games of all time, yet due to the lack of a digital version, Blade Runner from Westwood Studios slowly faded into oblivion for years. Until now. Thanks to the hard work of devoted fans and GOG.COM, the game is making a big comeback on modern PCs.

Los Angeles. November, 2019
The original Blade Runner movie from 1982 is without a doubt an all-time sci-fi classic. It took director Ridley Scott over two years and a lot of trouble to make the film based on Philip K. Dick’s novel “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?”. The final result was breathtaking. Syd Mead’s futuristic design, a score composed by Vangelis, and performances from actors Harrison Ford, Sean Young, and Rutger Hauer all combined to make the film a timeless masterpiece.

Police detective Rick Deckard’s hunt for android replicants posing as human beings was viewed by some as a sci-fi version of a noir crime story. But at the same time, the film’s plot reflected contemporary concerns about the quick development of computers and artificial intelligence. For the rising number of video gamers, those same concerns were actually what made Blade Runner a symbol of the new digital era.



Memories! You’re talking about memories!
The first Blade Runner game adaptation was released on the ZX Spectrum in 1985. It didn’t get much attention, but as they say - the first pancake is always spoiled. The release of the film’s director’s cut in 1992 renewed people’s interest in making a new, proper video game adaptation. By that time, the initiative even had legal representation - called the Blade Runner Partnership. One question remained, however - who would accept the challenge of adapting such a cult movie?

The Blade Runner Partnership approached a few companies, like Sierra and Electronic Arts, on this project, but they all declined. Finally, after much searching, it was Virgin Interactive which decided to undertake the task. One of the reasons behind the decision was a successful business relationship with Westwood Studios. If anyone could make a magnificent Blade Runner video game happen, it had to be the studio behind Lands of Lore and the Command & Conquer series.

I didn’t know how long we’d have together. Who does?
Even considering all of Virgin and Westwood’s assets, making a game on such a cinematic scale as the Blade Runner title proved to be a huge undertaking. Obstacles arose even before the actual work started. For example, securing all of the rights to the Blade Runner franchise took several years by itself. In the end, the creators side-stepped some legal issues by declaring they were making a game set in the Blade Runner universe, not the actual film’s adaptation.

Of course, the game would have to address Ridley Scott’s film in some way. That’s why the Blade Runner video game story, written by David Yorkin and David Leary, runs parallel to the movie’s plot. Blade Runner’s hero, an LA detective named Ray McCoy, conducts his investigation on missing replicants at the same time as Rick Deckard - their paths even cross from time to time, albeit never directly. The idea was to create a 3D real-time adventure game, in which the story progresses according to the gamer’s choices, resulting in many different endings.

To increase the near-cinematic experience, some of the actors from the original 1982 film like Sean Young and James Hong were hired as voice actors. Although Ridley Scott and Harrison Ford didn’t take part in the game project, Blade Runner heavily borrowed from the movie’s aesthetic design and music. For example, original concept art created by Syd Mead was used in the game’s design and Westwood’s main composer Frank Klepacki (author of the famous Hell March from C&C Red Alert) based his score on earlier work from Vangelis.



I want more life
All legal and writing issues were nothing in comparison to the technical challenges that Blade Runner developers faced. The game’s main director and lead artist, Louis Castle, admitted in one of the later interviews that due to the lack of a suitable engine, the whole game had to be made from scratch. And creating a futuristic, noir atmosphere of Los Angeles AD 2019 was not something that developers could achieve by half-measures.

To meet fans’ high expectations, Westwood programmers introduced a few innovative solutions. For example, instead of using polygons to create characters, they decided to use so-called voxel technology. This enabled them to give characters a more realistic, detailed look. Moreover, designers used additional hidden graphic layers on every location, so that the character’s appearance could be affected by light, shadows, and smoke.
Post edited December 17, 2019 by emter_pl
high rated
avatar
adam.mt: Nobody has yet mentioned so thought I'd point out that there was actually a later DVD-ROM release of the original. It's so long ago I can't remember if it was just the CDs slapped onto one disc or if there were any enhancements. I'll have to try and see if I've still got it. It was included with a DVD-ROM drive or writer if I remember correctly.
The DVD release contains no enhancements over the CDs version. We (the ScummVM team) checked for and can verify this.

avatar
adam.mt: Also, the OP says they couldn't use the film soundtrack? Um, did they not listen to their YouTube clip? Some of Vangelis' work is clearly there remixed by the games composer.
Westwood developers (eg Louis Castle) mention this in interviews about the development of the game. Frank Klepacki (the composer for the game) had to write pieces that resembled Vangelis' compositions and a few new ones. I guess they may have got rights to reuse / recreate segments of the original soundtrack too, I'm not sure.
I was going to instabuy, but decided to check out the forum for it here on gog, and people are reporting there is some heavy audio sync issues. Makes me really hesitant..
avatar
tomimt: I did a review of Blade Runner long before GOG had it. Here's my ancient blog entry about the great game that has stood the test of time remarkably well:

https://playernone.blogspot.com/2015/11/great-games-blade-runner.html
Nice review, thanks for sharing :-)
avatar
lubwak: Why is it called Project November on the front page?
They probably wanted to release this in November, because the game is actually set in November 2019 (as is the movie). I don't know what caused the one month of delay - technical problems or legal issues.
Post edited December 18, 2019 by toxicTom
high rated
Thank you for sharing my guest post with the main voice actor earlier in the thread toxicTom!

For anyone who is interested, Mark Benninghofen (who voiced Ray McCoy in Blade Runner: The Game) actually wrote two guest posts for Alternative Magazine Online - but the second part wasn't published until 7 years later!

https://alternativemagazineonline.co.uk/2010/10/13/feature-article-bladerunning-some-reflections-on-blade-runner-97/

https://alternativemagazineonline.co.uk/2017/10/24/feature-article-bladerunning-some-reflections-on-blade-runner-97-the-final-cut/

I also reviewed Blade Runner for Adventure Classic Gaming many moons ago:

http://www.adventureclassicgaming.com/index.php/site/reviews/477/

I'm delighted that this classic point-and-click adventure is now readily available again. Have a better one! :)
OMG!

Holy Grail of gamers finally found!

Well done GOG!
avatar
AltMagOnline: Thank you for sharing my guest post with the main voice actor earlier in the thread toxicTom!
Gladly, I found it a very interesting read. Thanks for posting the follow-up too.
high rated
avatar
HedonisticActor: Most interested I'm to know how they managed to do the at the time ambitious idea of randomizing the guilty ones each play through.
The people at Westwood were among the most talented and creative we saw the likes of in the 90's, even to this date! And, they even made games in several genres; Educational, Adventure, PnC, Detective, Action, Simulator, RTS, RPG, etc...

https://arstechnica.com/gaming/2019/12/video-to-make-1997s-blade-runner-westwood-first-had-to-create-the-universe/

http://deadendthrills.com/future-imperfect-the-lost-art-of-westwoods-blade-runner/
Post edited December 18, 2019 by sanscript
avatar
armitom: I still can't believe this happened, No One Lives Forever 1&2 is next, right?
Please....
avatar
guppy44: I'm currently playing No One Lives Forever Game of the Year Edition for the first time ever. It's quite fun and I just finished the Morocco mission. I have No One Lives Forever 2 to play next. Man are these expensive from eBay! Would love to be able to get them here.
NOLF 1 & 2 are really one of the best (if not the best) FPS ever made. You can download them free from one site on the net but I also wish to buy them DRM free via GOG.

But most of all - I wish they made a good sequel:)
WOW!, Thank you GOD for this opportunity.

I never played this game.
Post edited December 18, 2019 by GuarD_u
avatar
tomimt: I did a review of Blade Runner long before GOG had it. Here's my ancient blog entry about the great game that has stood the test of time remarkably well:

https://playernone.blogspot.com/2015/11/great-games-blade-runner.html
avatar
toxicTom: Nice review, thanks for sharing :-)
avatar
lubwak: Why is it called Project November on the front page?
avatar
toxicTom: They probably wanted to release this in November, because the game is actually set in November 2019 (as is the movie). I don't know what caused the one month of delay - technical problems or legal issues.
So we share this perspective. I'd love to see some confirmation tho.
Instabought yesterday but forgot to sign my name in this thread.
wow, thank you gog. finally I can relive this childhood memory again before 2019 is gone. a super delightful Christmas present for myself xd
avatar
Jinxtah: I was going to instabuy, but decided to check out the forum for it here on gog, and people are reporting there is some heavy audio sync issues. Makes me really hesitant..
I am going to wait myself for a few days to see if there are any serious issues with the GOG version
This is the best release this year GOG! And you had a couple of excellent ones like Diablo+Hellfire, Warcraft 1+2 and Warlords 2!
Post edited December 18, 2019 by GlorFindel
I Can't wait for RED ALERT II and III to come on GOG next.