Blade Runner‘s cyberpunk world is making its inevitable leap into virtual reality.
Blade Runner: Revelations is a new game meant to serve as a narrative bridge between the events of the original film and Blade Runner 2049. It’s the product of a collaboration between Seismic Games, Alcon Media Group, and Google, built exclusively for the Google Daydream platform.
Seismic co-founder and Chief Creative Office Eric Gewirtz described Revelations as a kind of “throwback to classic adventure games” in an email exchange.
“Most of the gameplay involves exploring the environments, interacting with other characters, gathering clues, and making choices on how to proceed,” Gewirtz wrote. “There are some action shooter elements and some puzzle solving gameplay as well.”
The story itself is roughly two hours long, though the world is built for exploration, with hidden easter eggs and nods to familiar Blade Runner touchstones scattered throughout. The story itself is built to encourage multiple playthroughs, giving players the option to shape the views of the main character, Harper, through the choices they make.
“Harper is a hard-nosed Blade Runner, top in his field. He is trying to keep the peace in Los Angeles at a very volatile time,” Gewirtz wrote. “Tension between humans and Replicants is at an all time high, and everyone is taking sides. Harper is focused on preventing an all-out war between Replicants and humans, while simultaneously trying to solve a crime and stop a major conspiracy.”
You can probably see where this is going. Throughout the game, different situations create a choice between backing up one side or the other, and the direction you pick influences the story and its eventual outcome. “You can play him as an aggressive ‘pro-human’ Blade Runner hunter, or as a sympathetic ‘pro-Replicant’ peacekeeper,” Gewirtz wrote.
Ultimately, the goal with Revelations is to drop players into their own Blade Runner adventure. Environments are built with the same “Art Deco” feel as the movies, the soundtrack is awash with ’80s-style synths, and the feel of the whole thing is meant to emulate the dark, moody vibe of the two neo-noir mystery movies.
When Seismic sat down to start plotting what Revelations would be, a checklist quickly came together. Five ideas that the studio felt were essential to capturing a first-person Blade Runner experience (per Gewirtz).
Fly through future noir L.A. in a Spinner.
Give and take a Voight-Kampff test to determine if you’re a human or a Replicant.
Draw Deckard’s hand cannon and have a shootout in Chinatown in the rain.
Use my detective skills to solve a crime.
Question what makes someone human while simultaneously questioning the nature of my existence and the authenticity of my own memories.
Revelations is built to capture each of those moments and ideas.
The game is built exclusively for the Daydream platform, working with both the Daydream View headset and the higher-tech Lenovo Mirage Solo headset. While we haven’t sampled the game yet, the latter device’s enhanced motion sensitivity should provide a more immersive experience.
“You can move your head within the game space to see around corners, track moving objects, or gain a new perspective on a scene,” Gewirtz said, adding that other characters will also respond naturally to keep looking at you as you move your head.
“This takes interacting with characters to a whole new level,” he continued. “It feels like the character are actually paying attention to you, responding not only to your decisions, but to your movements as well. These technologies add so much potential to the VR experience. We’ve only begun to scratch the surface with the types of experiences we can make in this medium.”
Blade Runner: Revelations will be available for $8.99 in the Google Play store starting on Friday, May 4.