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Editor's take: A remastered version of point-and-click adventure game Blade Runner will miss its planned 2020 launch. Fortunately, you can still play a DRM-free version of the original courtesy of GOG, the result of eight years of hard work.
In an interview with Eurogamer, Nightdive Studios CEO Stephen Kick said there have been some obstacles that they’ve had to overcome in terms of old technology the game uses. Worse yet, their search for the game’s original source code and assets has thus far turned up nothing.
Blade Runner was developed by Westwood Studios and launched on the PC way back in 1997. When EA purchased Westwood the following year, the game’s source code was lost. As Eurogamer highlights, EA reportedly found some old Westwood content during the development of the Command & Conquer remaster but it is unclear if any Blade Runner material was among the find.
“We've had some discussions with EA about what else is in the vault they found regarding Blade Runner, and we haven't been able to get a clear answer,” Kick said. “And even if there was something, it's very unlikely they would release it to us for legal reasons, mostly, which is a bit of a disappointment, because we were hoping to at least get the original audio recordings.”
Instead, Nightdive has to reverse engineer the game’s code. They also have to deal with highly compressed content and work around other tricks that Westwood employed to create a shippable product.
“It's just taking a bit longer than we originally anticipated,” Kick said.
Worse yet, all of the reserve engineering work has already been done by the team at ScummVM, a process that took roughly eight years to complete. Nightdive attempted to work out a licensing deal with ScummVM to use their code in its remaster but stipulations around open source work prevented this from happening.
As it stands today, Nightdive Studio’s remaster of Blade Runner has a “TBD” release date.