If you, like me, left the theater after watching Blade Runner 2049 completely blown away by the modern return to Ridley Scott’s sci-fi universe, then you’re probably desperate to revisit K and Deckard’s perilous cyberpunk world again. If that’s the case, then there are a variety of video games that have taken inspiration from the original Blade Runner’s setting that are available to play today. Here are our 10 favorites:
A spiritual successor to the ’90s RTS Syndicate, Satellite Reign envisions a dystopian cyberpunk world in which an oppressive government keeps its citizens in check by any means necessary. Playing as a team of cyborg agents, you’re tasked with guiding your ragtag group of highly trained androids throughout its neon-lit world, pulling off increasingly difficult heists in a sprawling city where more-or-less everything wants you dead.
Thankfully not as difficult as the Syndicate series, which was notoriously brutal even for its generation, Satellite Reign blends XCOM-esque cover-based tactics with Blade Runner‘s perennially rain-soaked visual direction, with its roguelike gameplay also making your android player-characters just as depressingly disposable as the Replicants.
BioShock: The Collection
The original BioShock‘s plot centered around choice, namely whether or not its protagonist (and by extension the player) had any. Spoiler alert: he didn’t. The illusion of free will also serves as the main driving force behind Blade Runner 2049, with K’s unfortunate duties as a new model of blade runner requiring him to hunt down the older, sentient models. “A man chooses, a slave obeys” was a motto that represented the core philosophy of BioShock antagonist Andrew Ryan, with K’s inner turmoil regarding his own sentience (or lack thereof) continuing to unravel as he explores deeper into the mystery of his own existence. The first BioShock game shares a similar theme, albeit one that takes place 2000 meters under water, and the other two games in BioShock: The Collection are pretty darn good to boot.
Observer is a highly unique survival horror game from the creators of the equally creepy Layers of Fear, which foregoes the genre’s typical haunted house settings in favor of taking place in bleak, cyberpunk future. The game wears its Blade Runner influences on its sleeve, with its Polish creators Bloober Team even hiring the talents of actor Rutger Hauer, who played replicant Roy Batty in the original film, to provide the voice and face of its protagonist, investigator Daniel Lazarski.
Lazarski is tasked with finding clues by way of infiltrating the minds of unconscious suspects, playing out their thoughts with often terrifying results. Though Observer‘s similarities with Blade Runner 2049 really end at its aesthetics, there are few games that nail the look of Ridley Scott’s sci-fi world better than this, with it also being one of the most compelling horror games in recent years, too.
Supergiant Games’ isometric action RPG is a complex little game that complements its compelling and mysterious plot with a combat system devoid of hand-holding, requiring players to figure everything out for themselves in its gorgeous sci-fi world. The game’s visual direction takes obvious cues from Blade Runner along with Japanese animation like Cowboy Bebop and Ghost in the Shell, combining to make one of the most of the most distinct looking games in recent years. There’s a lot of layers to Transistor, and its players will want to uncover them all.
In many respects, Gemini Rue feels like a spiritual successor to the 1997 Blade Runner point-and-click adventure, with lone developer Joshua Nuernberger heavily influenced by the sci-fi film’s visual direction. Placing players in the shoes of Azriel Odin, an ex-Assassin turned law enforcer, and his pilot Kane Harris, they must guide Azriel through an investigation regarding the mysterious disappearance of his brother.
The mind-wiping antics of the facility at the core of the game’s investigation, Center 7, causes each character to reevaluate their stance on what makes them human, while Azriel certainly has more than an air of Deckard about him. If you want to play a game that looks like Ridley Scott’s magnum opus with a story like Christopher Nolan’s Memento, then this 2011 point-and-click throwback is for you.
Remember Me divided opinion upon release, though despite its problems with its muted story and claustrophobic level design, its futuristic Parisian setting and excellent protagonist are enough to get Blade Runner fans to give it a shot. Though Remember Me didn’t quite live up to expectations, for those looking for fun, combat-focused adventure in a bright cyberpunk future, this is worth the time investment.
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is far more action-orientated than Blade Runner 2049, so if you found yourself enjoying the film but also wishing that K would shoot a few more guys, then maybe Eidos Montreal’s stealth shooter is for you. A sequel to the critically acclaimed Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Mankind Divided sees the world, er, divided as a result of consumer cybernetic augmentations, allowing people to effectively become part android through a variety of enhancements.
Mankind Divided isn’t exactly subtle regarding its references to real-world issues — its pre-release marketing featured concept art displaying the words ‘Aug Lives Matter’ — but its eye-popping sci-fi setting, and the increasingly ludicrous power fantasy that hero Adam Jensen allows players to live out, make it a worthwhile experience.
Though Team Bondi’s detective game features a completely different setting to Blade Runner 2049, after spending both Denis Villeneuve’s sequel and Ridley Scott’s predecessor wondering who’s a human and who’s a replicant, then LA Noire‘s investigative gameplay might be for you. LA Noire‘s impressive facial animal technology saw players having to deduce the facts from the fiction when interviewing crime witnesses and suspects, with progress dependant upon how well they’ve examined their expressions and body language. With Blade Runner 2049 focusing far more upon intrigue and mystery than action and firefights, an anomaly when it comes to Hollywood sequels, fans of the new film should feel right at home with LA Noire.
Blade Runner 2049: Replicant Pursuit
The most obvious addition to this list, Blade Runner 2049: Replicant Pursuit is a virtual reality experience based upon the new movie. Tasking players with piloting a spinner through a thrilling chase in Los Angeles 2049, Replicant Pursuit transports players into Blade Runner 2049‘s using the magic of VR. Those who have access to an Oculus Rift or Gear VR won’t want to miss it.
Tesla Effect: A Tex Murphy Adventure
The Blade Runner universe is relentlessly bleak, but while the Tex Murphy series has always used it as a clear source of inspiration, it has also always infused it with a significant dollop of cheesy ’80s dialog and charming humor. Tesla Effect: A Tex Murphy Adventure saw Big Finish Games revive the classic franchise in a full-motion video sequel, with not much changing since its initial entries throughout the late ’80s and early ’90s. Though it isn’t much like Blade Runner 2049 in terms of its themes, for those looking for a game that’s more lighthearted while still set in a similar cyberpunk world, this is the game for you.