"Human issues are to blame" - Nightdive on the failure of the Blade Runner remaster

By: Vadim Osiyuk | 09.08.2022, 21:43
"Human issues are to blame" - Nightdive on the failure of the Blade Runner remaster

The Nightdive team has had a hand in remastering many classic games such as Quake and Turok. User ratings of all such projects of the studio fluctuate around 90% on Steam. Blade Runner: Enchanced Edition was supposed to complete Nightdive's list of triumphs, but something went wrong.

Larry Kuperman, the studio's head of business development, and Dimitris Giannakis, the game's lead producer, talked about the reasons for the remaster's failure in an interview with PCGamesN. In the conversation, Kuperman calls the failure of Blade Runner: Enchanced Edition "death by a thousand cuts" - at release, the project suffered from many minor flaws that ruined players' experience.

According to the developers, the updated version of Blade Runner found itself in a difficult situation because of a number of problems. The most important of these was the lack of source code - the team had to resort to reverse engineering and rebuild everything literally from scratch. According to Giannakis, this took thousands of hours.

The Blade Runner design was also a challenge. The testers had to look for bugs longer because of the random generation of events - with the same playthrough, a gamer can face different consequences. In addition, the project used advanced technology for 1997 - everything on the screen looked two-dimensional, but was actually rendered in 3D.

"Everything’s done in a 3D world, even though it looks like a 2D adventure game.... There’s lighting in there, there’s shadows, there’s depth of field – all sorts of 3D concepts before 3D became the norm." Dimitris Giannakis explains.

Coronavirus also contributed - many members of the testing department were away from work to recover from illness. Meanwhile, Dimitris Giannakis himself was moving from one country to another.

Nightdive timed the remaster's release to coincide with the 40th anniversary of Blade Runner - Kuperman admitted it was a big mistake. "The responsibility for the ship date and, in retrospect, the failure to change the ship date resides 100% with me" the executive said, stressing that the intention was to please fans. But interlocutors don't know why no one suggested to postpone the release.

"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." - Larry Kuperman.