You know how you look back at an old game or TV series and how it still looks great for what it is? Well, I’ve just had that double take when looking at Night Dive’s Blade Runner remaster.
The studio posted an updated intro for Blade Runner: Enhanced Edition. Instead of the 15fps 480p cinematic, the Enhanced Edition brings everything into slightly more glorious 4K/60fps.
However, that poses a particular challenge. Blade Runner‘s models and environments were never built for such a high resolution, so Night Dive has naturally needed to call in some AI backup.
The end result … isn’t as good as you might suspect. Rather than the exceptional machine-learning powered upscaling for The Witcher 2, the higher resolution and frame rate looks a bit off for Blade Runner.
The way it’s been upscaled looks maybe a little too blurry — kind of like the noise removal filter in Photoshop has been turned up too high. And the smoothing on the frame rate is maybe a bit much. It makes you wonder what the remaster would have looked like if the cinematics were capped at 30fps — or even a cheeky 24fps for the full cinematic look.
AI-powered upscaling has come a hell of a long way. To be clear, Night Dive hasn’t expressly said if they’re using machine learning or some other AI-based algorithm, but given that the original source code was lost in 2003, it’s hard to see how else it’s being done.
Still, I’m not letting this sour my happiness that a remaster is going ahead nonetheless. It’s been an incredible journey just getting Blade Runner playable again. The release of Blade Runner 2049 pushed back the recent re-release due to complications over the IP ownership, so you have to give Night Dive credit for persisting nonetheless.
Also, if anything, this whole video is just a reminder of how incredibly well Blade Runner still holds up today. That’s the power of clear, precise art direction for you.
The Blade Runner: Enhanced Edition is in development with no scheduled release date. There’s no site or official listing yet, but we’ll keep you posted.