Thursday, 28 Sep 2023

1997’s Blade Runner game is finally available digitally thanks to GOG

Blade Runner is back. After 22 years, the classic PC adventure is available to download for the first time ever on digital storefront. You can get the game from GOG right now for $10.

Blade Runner is a 1997 game adaptation of the 1982 film. You take on the role of detective Ray McCoy in the futuristic setting of 2019 Los Angeles. Like in the movie, it’s McCoy’s job to hunt down and “retire” rogue, human-like androids called replicants. The action happens across various and detailed point-and-click scenes. And the story branches off down unique paths depending on your choices.

And now, you can experience all of that on modern Windows, Linux, or Mac systems.

Blade Runner returns

This is a major win for game preservation.

Blade Runner was well received by critics and fans when it originally debuted on CD for Windows. But by the time that digital-distribution platforms like Steam were popular, Blade Runner fell into something of a legal limbo.

To make this happen, GOG worked with Alcon Interactive Group — the gaming division of Blade Runner 2049 production company Alcon Entertainment. Together, the companies sorted out the labyrinthine legal issues. This probably involved putting legal documents in a computer and telling it to “enhance” specific details.

ScummVM to the rescue

But the rights weren’t the only problem. The original game doesn’t run all that well on modern systems. So even if you had tracked down the original CDs, you would have a lot of problems getting it operating correctly.

To overcome that obstacle, the team of community developers responsible for the ScummVM program came to the rescue. ScummVM is a popular program that makes it easy to run classic adventure games on almost any device. I’ve even used it to play classic LucasArts PC games on a hacked Nintendo DS.

But that team updated ScummVM to fully support Blade Runner. That ensures the game works on Windows 7, 8, and 10 in addition to Linux and Mac.

So now everyone finally has an easy way of playing this excellent take on the Blade Runner universe. You can see for yourself how the upcoming Cyberpunk 2077 from GOG’s sister-company CD Projekt Red is channeling that game.

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