Back when Blade Runner: Enhanced Edition launched on consoles and PC earlier this year, it's safe to say fans were a little disappointed.
Complaints were leveled at the game's visuals, which seemed to be even worse than the original 1997 Westwood Studios release, not least because of the weird AI smoothing effect and choppy framerate. It made us wonder how it could all go so wrong. Well, now it seems we finally have an answer, thanks to PCGamesN and reporter Ian Boudreau.
Speaking to PCGamesN, the producer of Blade Runner: Enhanced Edition Dimitris Giannakis described the game's development as "a death by a thousand cuts", while the head of business development at Nightdive Larry Kuperman highlighted several "human issues" that impacted its progress. This included, for example, an undeclared number of QA testers getting COVID-19, during production.
All of these challenges meant the game was not ready for its June 23rd release date, with Kuperman also admitting in the interview that it was ultimately his decision not to delay the game so as to ensure it came out around the release of the 1982 film's 40th anniversary. Regardless, Kuperman tells PCGamesN that it wasn't a conscious decision to release the game in such a terrible state:
"If anyone thinks that there was ever a decision, that we sat around a table and said we’re going to ship a game that’s not up to our Nightdive standards – because of economic reasons, because of indifference on our part, or any of those things – that didn’t happen. The root causes of this going out were in great measure because of human issues. And I can’t say that if we had pushed it off a couple of months that things would have been better. We could have had a monkey pox epidemic. These are just the things that happen.”
He also says Nightdive has learned its lesson for future releases:
“As opposed to the 40th anniversary [of Blade Runner], we’re going back to our old standard of saying the second patch will be out when it’s ready. When it passes through to QA, and when we’re sure that it fixes as many bugs as we possibly can.”
Since its release, Nightdive has been slowly fixing the game. After complaints, Nightdive added two ScummVM emulated versions of the game to the Enhanced Edition, marking the first release of the original Blade Runner on consoles. A later patch released on July 4 also addressed flickering issues, memory leaks, progression locks, and other issues with the menus not using updated resolution settings.
Another patch is apparently being worked on as we speak, with Kuperman telling PCGamesN that it will let players quickly toggle between the original PC version and the Enhanced Edition and further improve the UI and menus. If you want to give the Enhanced Edition a try, even in spite of all these issues, you can find it on most digital storefronts, including Steam and GOG.