If you fancy whooshing to the impossibly far-off year of 2019 to revisit Blade Runner’s rainy Los Angeles, have a gander at the free beta of Blade Runner 9732. It’s a fan-made “virtual tour” of spacecop Rick Deckard’s apartment, faithfully recreating everything from his armchairs and kitchen appliances through to his ESPER machine and the view from his balcony. While it does take a few questionable creative leaps to fill in gaps (who knew Ricky D used Axe deodorant?), I have enjoyed pottering around. BR 9732 is due to officially launch in a few days but I would not be surprised if lawyers retire the project, so maybe give its free beta a go now?Blade Runner 9732 is a walking simulator set inside Deckard’s apartment building, from the lift through to his balcony. You can wander, look at stuff, poke things, and hit hotspots for a few interactions like tinkling the ivories or seeing the ESPER machine work its photomagic. Quentin Lengele has tried to faithfully recreate as much as possible, hunting down reference images and obscure props, though it does get a bit weird when he needs to fill in blank spaces – like Deckard’s bathroom cabinet containing six cans of various Axe deodorants.
You can see for yourself, as Lengele released a free beta version on Christmas. You can download that via Google Drive. It optionally supports HTC Vive cybergoggles (no Oculus version yet), for those already living in the future.
Lengele has gabbed on the devblog about having Rachael wander around the apartment too but she’s not in this version. He plans to add more things to find and fiddle with too.
The important thing is: yes, you can stand out on the balcony watching the city go past while listening to the rain and the Blade Runner Blues. That was always one of my favourite parts of Westwood’s Blade Runner game.
Blade Runner 9732 is due to launch free on Steam this Sunday, January 7th. However, unless I’ve missed a development, I’m pretty sure it’s unofficial and unsanctioned – the sort of project which lives at the mercy of legal departments. I would not be surprised if the lawmen object to its use of movie clips and sound samples, so I’d try sooner rather than later if you’re interested. I do hesitate to report on vulnerable fan games, knowing many last only as long as they’re below the radar, but a Steam release is hardly subtle.