Two lead developers on Blade Runner: Enhanced Edition have detailed some of the factors that led to the games disappointing state upon release.
Blade Runner: Enhanced Edition released on 23rd June, and received a negative reaction from critics and fans alike. The controversy didnt end there, with many also unhappy about the delisting of the fan-made ScummVM version of the original game on GOG. The ScummVM version, seen as vastly superior to Nightdives remaster, was subsequently reinstated a week later, and was also then packaged with the Enhanced Edition on Steam.
Now, Nightdive Studio director of business development Larry Kuperman and lead producer on Blade Runner: Enhanced Edition Dimitris Giannakis have discussed the troubled development of the project with PCGamesN.
The pair blamed “human issues”, and described the released version of the game as the “result of a perfect storm of challenges” faced by the studio.
Kuperman took the blame for the games release date, chosen to coincide with the movies 40th anniversary.
“The responsibility for the ship date and, in retrospect, the failure to change the ship date resides 100 percent with me… Anyone who knows me knows I have a strong personality. Maybe Dimitris [Giannakis], if hed been on board, would have been the one that said, hey, were not ready. Maybe it was because of my personality, because of who I am, that nobody told us we werent ready.”
The studio had previously spoken to Eurogamer about the difficulties faced by developers who had to reverse-engineer the originals code due to a lack of source code. This process, Giannakis claimed, took thousands of hours to do.
The huge time and effort that went into reverse-engineering the game, as well as team members catching Covid, all contributed towards the games subpar quality.
Kuperman also defended his decision to not push the games release date back later in the interview.
“I cant say that if we had pushed it off a couple of months that things would have been better. We could have had a monkeypox epidemic. These are just the things that happen.”
Given that Nightdive is currently working on the long-awaited System Shock reboot and System Shock 2: Enhanced Edition whilst the world continues to adapt to Covid and a monkeypox outbreak, Ill be keeping my fingers crossed that the studio has learnt from the experience of developing Blade Runner: Enhanced Edition in the same conditions.