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Gearbox Own Blade Runner IP, Game Too Risky

Felix Kemp
Blade Runner, Gearbox Software
Blade Runner

Gearbox Own Blade Runner IP, Game Too Risky

Who owns the rights to a Blade Runner videogame? Gearbox, that's who. The developers of Brothers in Arms and Borderlands - not to mention the recent custodians of Duke Nukem - could move forward with an adaption of Ridley Scott's seminal sci-fi spectacular; but they won't. According to studio head, Randy Pitchford, investing in a Blade Runner game isn't a "rational business model".

"Blade Runner was on the list," Pitchford reveals to the Official Playstation Magazine via CVG when discussing a slew of dream properties the studio had sought and secured. "We had it too and we were like, 'No, we can't.' That game would've cost like $40m to make and sold about 600,000 units - and that would have been the end of us".

While one could argue the cross-generational popularity of Blade Runner - it's still considered a classic, even amongst younger sci-fi lovers who download it off Pirate Bay - film adaptions don't often yield much fruit. "There's no rational business model that would have allowed that to make sense," explains Pitchford. "If we'd made it with a business model that did work, it would not have been the Blade Runner game we all would have wanted".

However, spare the tears; Gearbox is at least working on one title set in a universe Ridley Scott created. Or, to be more precise, a universe Scott created, and James Cameron built atop. The long-in-development Aliens Colonial Marines, a direct sequel to Cameron's xenomorph classic, is back on track and due for release next year.

And who knows, maybe Gearbox will give the Blade Runner IP a shot one day. Hollywood is actively developing a sequel - sigh - so why not start developing a proper tie-in, rather than a slap job cash-in? [CVG]

Add a comment4 comments
ste333  Jul. 1, 2011 at 15:13

Seems to me that LA Noire's engine would be pretty much a shoe-in for an update of the PC adventure game released by Westwood Studios a few years back. Travel round the city, examine locations for clues, put the pieces together and interview the suspect. You could modify that sequence to include use of the ESPER reader (I think that's what it was called...). It's even a noir setting (albeit future noir)...

My imagination is now on overload on just how good a game that could be...

CarlPhillips  Jul. 1, 2011 at 15:39

@ste333 If you skip down to the last bit of my picks of 2010 article you'll see you're not alone in those thoughts. I absolutely loved that game, and the fact it changed who was a replicant every time I played it had me go through it numerous times.

I think the problem for Gearbox lies in that it never sold well, and adventure gaming needs an action hook to draw in the majority of the gaming crowd (as L.A. Noire demonstrated.) The possibilities are mouth watering though. Imagine the Voight-Kampff test with Motion Scan technology involved... I'd actually cry with joy if that ever happened.

emmajk42  Jul. 1, 2011 at 15:46

@ste333, imagination overload, yeah! I just don't think any game could live up to the book and film.

FelixKemp  Jul. 1, 2011 at 16:07

Personally, I disagree. With the right team, the right concept, a Blade Runner game could be FANTASTIC. Just like ste333 describes, the LA Noire precedent, along with maybe a Bioshock-esque model, with a little sci-fi shooting thrown in and some hover-car racing. DO IT ROCKSTAR!


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