The release of Blade Runner: Enhanced Edition on the Nintendo Switch in June should have been celebrated. Instead, it ended up becoming a living nightmare for the team at Nightdive Studios.
In a recent interview with PCGamesN, the company’s director of business development, Larry Kuperman, went into great detail about how this anticipated point and click adventure game, originally released by Westwood in 1997, went from excitement to disaster:
“The responsibility for the ship date and, in retrospect, the failure to change the ship date resides 100% with me. The ship date was picked because it aligned with the 40th anniversary of the movie – that seemed that it would be something that would be a really cool thing to do for the fans.”
He further describes the state of the game at launch as a “perfect storm” of challenges for the studio in the lead-up to its release. Several members of the QA team were on a break, others were recovering from Covid, and others were in the process of moving. He believes these “human issues” got the better of the studio:
“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.”
The Enhanced Edition’s lead producer, Dimitris Giannakis, further described the launch as “death by a thousand cuts”:
“We had a lot of small things that were kind of upsetting people or bothering people about the game. I wouldn’t say there was any one major showstopper – we heard feedback about things like, ‘we don’t like the border that you have, can we turn that off?’ Or ‘there’s no brightness settings in the game, can we have that?’”
Fortunately, Nightdive has been working around the clock to improve the state of the game across all platforms – with the studio rolling out the original version of the game after the poor reception towards the remaster. The game has also received a sizable patch – fixing a bunch of options and also adding in a number of improvements.
Another patch is also currently in the works – with Nightdive aiming to add features such as a toggle option for the original and enhanced videos, as well as improvements to UI, menus and more.