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Popular fan-made Blade Runner restoration relegated to controversial Enhanced Edition add-on

UPDATE: GOG has defended its delisting of the fan-created ScummVM version of Blade Runner in favour of a controversial new Enhanced Edition.

A statement from GOG to Eurogamer notes: “by buying the title on GOG you receive two versions of the game, the new and the original one, for the same price as the original was sold before.

“The now delisted original version is included with the purchase of Blade Runner Enhanced Edition not as an add-on, but it shows up in your GOG library as a separate game – and both versions will continue to be fully supported. This way GOG users can choose which version of the game they want to play.

“The decision to handle the release on GOG this way, in what we feel offers the greatest value for fans of this game, was made with input from multiple parties.”


ORIGINAL STORY:
Nightdive Studios has released its Enhanced Edition of Blade Runner on the GOG store, replacing the fan-created ScummVM version in the process.

This Enhanced Edition has been a long time coming, as previously reported, involving “reconstruction and upressing of original Westwood VQA Videos”.

However, it has replaced a fan-created version that’s now available only as an add-on, meaning it’s impossible to access without purchasing the Nightdive Studios edition first.

Blade Runner: Enhanced Edition trailer.

ScummVM is a fan-made programme with which a group of enthusiasts has been diligently updating and restoring the original 1997 adventure game adaptation of Ridley Scott’s sci-fi film.

Their version was already available on the GOG store, but is now only included as part of Nightdive Studios’ Enhanced Edition.

ScummVM member Thomas Fach-Pedersen, a.k.a madmoose, shared his disappointment on Twitter.

“Over a number of years, I, along with friends, lovingly reverse engineered Westwood’s Blade Runner for ScummVM, reviving the game and helping GOG to release the game for sale once again. For this we have asked for and received nothing but the honour of the work,” he explained.

“Now Nightdive Studios has released their ‘Enhanced’ version. It is, by all accounts, ugly and buggy, and offers no tangible benefits over ScummVM aside from very poor console support. They even forgot to credit me for the subtitles we let them use.

“Sadly, it is now no longer possible to purchase and play a digital copy of Blade Runner in ScummVM without sending money to Nightdive Studios. I’m sad to see GOG relegate our free work to a mere attachment on somebody else’s mediocre paid product.”

Eurogamer sister site Rock Paper Shotgun has published a detailed analysis of the new version, stating it “looks 25 years old, blurry, and unlike itself”.

In response, fans of the game have been posting negative reviews of the Enhanced Edition on the GOG site and recommending the superior ScummVM version instead.

“What the…? How is this even possible? Look at the font! Look at the menus! Look at those blurry backgrounds! Look at the…I mean, oh my God! I can’t believe this is a final product,” reads one comment.

It continues: “Please, don’t waste money and time on this ‘Enhanced’ joke. Go for the original with ScummVM emulator.”

Another comment reads: “What an utter disaster. The original is one of the greatest games ever, mostly thanks to the excellent atmosphere. This completely strips the atmosphere away, making it half the game the original was. Utter garbage.”

Over on Steam, where the Enhanced Edition is also available, the game has a “mostly negative” rating. “This is how the original game looks like when your eyes are full of tears in the rain,” quips one reviewer.

Eurogamer has contacted GOG for comment.

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