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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
btw if anyone's interested, on the all-time bestselling list, Blade Runner's almost to page 20, currently at the top of 21 - https://www.gog.com/games?page=21&sort=bestselling

(ScummVM commission link again)
Post edited December 19, 2019 by tfishell
Would be nice if I could buy it . GOG won't take PayPal or CC . The payment box is faded out . Ublock.org is turned off & no script blocking .
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biscuithound: Would be nice if I could buy it . GOG won't take PayPal or CC . The payment box is faded out . Ublock.org is turned off & no script blocking .
I just bought a game with paypal without a problem.
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biscuithound: Would be nice if I could buy it . GOG won't take PayPal or CC . The payment box is faded out . Ublock.org is turned off & no script blocking .
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athineos: I just bought a game with paypal without a problem.
I too just bought Blade Runner with Paypal with zero issues. Also from the USA, as it appears the two of you are as well. I have no idea what your problem might be, @biscuithound. In any case, I hope you get it sorted soon. Best wishes!
Post edited December 19, 2019 by GilesHabibula
Well done, GoG, very well done. Time to retire that CD case. ^^
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AltMagOnline: 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! :)
Thanks for pointing out the second part and adding an update to the first, it was a little confusing reading the first part, as it looked like a teaser for the actual article but there was nothing following below.
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Swedrami: From https://www.usgamer.net/articles/how-westwoods-long-lost-blade-runner-adventure-game-landed-on-gog:

Alcon, as it turns out, was happy to help. It had the legal rights for Blade Runner, and entered a publishing agreement with GOG. Though it took a few more years to get everything in order-when asked how GOG and Alcon navigated the licensing issues, Hill says, 'If you knew I would have to retire you'-everything slid into place and GOG turned to the people working on ScummVM, a program for running classic point-and-click adventure games on modern computers, to get Blade Runner running."

"Luckily, one community member had already started the recreation process eight years ago. 'He started by tinkering with the code and digging up unused or cut out content, like dialogue lines or entire story branches,' Hill says. The final team was a group of four people who collaborated to make the game playable on modern operating systems, but even then, you would need the original discs.

Once the legal obstacles cleared, the ScummVM team helped get a version put together that could go live on GOG. ScummVM had already worked for past games like the Monkey Island series, Broken Sword, and Myst. Blade Runner was fully in the ScummVM team's wheelhouse. Though the current build is based on the original box edition with applied fixes-the source code is, as far as anyone can tell, still lost-ScummVM allowed the team to apply fixes and get the game working on Windows 7, 8, and 10, as well as Linux and Mac OS X."
Thanks for copying the whole text, so you can now compare it to the current version after sev contacted them with corrections. The ScummVM developers were contacted by GOG.com after version 2.1.0 was already released and only helped with the packaging, there was no collaboration with getting Blade Runner.. running.

Yesterday they also got 10 game codes from GOG.com, a little redundant but eh? There was no compensation from Alcon AFAIK but that's the same for all publishers that have been re-releasing their games with ScummVM, sadly.
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biscuithound: Would be nice if I could buy it . GOG won't take PayPal or CC . The payment box is faded out . Ublock.org is turned off & no script blocking .
Don't know which browser you're using, but ensure that content blocking in your browser settings is turned off for GoG, including cookies. This may very well be what's causing payment options to be greyed out: something in your browser privacy settings is probably what's causing you grief. It goes without saying that if you use PayPal as payment option, you need to do the same with Paypal; probably would be a good idea to first log onto your PayPal account to ensure there are no access issues there as well.
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AltMagOnline: 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! :)
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Lightkey: Thanks for pointing out the second part and adding an update to the first, it was a little confusing reading the first part, as it looked like a teaser for the actual article but there was nothing following below.
No problem! I always loved the first part and wished Mark had written more, so I was delighted a few years ago when I realised that he HAD - it was especially strange because he never mentioned it at the time! I'm really pleased that this game is now widely available again and Mark's performance will continue to be appreciated.
Post edited December 19, 2019 by AltMagOnline
Wow, cool.
Instabuy ofcourse.

Il probably also donate a few bucks to scummvm when im able too.
Post edited December 19, 2019 by Lodium
I never even dared to deam.

Thank you so damn much!!!!
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chandra: We're so happy to finally release it DRM-free. Enjoy! :D
Any chance of other Westwood games appearing here?
A cryptical hint would suffice, but please, something!
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Klumpen0815: Any chance of other Westwood games appearing here?
A cryptical hint would suffice, but please, something!
Given the fact that they succeeded with Blade Runner, we can expect everything. :) So it's now more possible than ever.
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tfishell: btw if anyone's interested, on the all-time bestselling list, Blade Runner's almost to page 20, currently at the top of 21 - https://www.gog.com/games?page=21&sort=bestselling

(ScummVM commission link again)
34th on Page 18 of the all time best sellers. Not bad seeing as its held the #1 spot on GOG's main page for over 24 hours now. And only came out a few days ago.

https://www.gog.com/games?page=18&sort=bestselling
thanks for getting the game guys... it sucks a bit that you couldn't take 5 mins to test it works on galaxy 2 but I assume you had other things to do and its only a minor repair