As many fans are no doubt aware, the sequel to Ridley Scott’s 1982 sci-fi classic Blade Runner is finally on its way next year. Arrival director Denis Villeueve will bring Blade Runner 2049 to theaters, along with stars Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford, Jared Leto, and Mackenzie Davis, to re-establish the replicant-hunting adventures of Ford’s character Rick Deckard. And although the film is currently in post production, and won’t be released for another 10 months, fan interest has already led to at least one tech-based experience worth checking out.
For those who have always wanted a closer look inside Ridley Scott’s iconic sci-fi world will now have their chance, as Blade Runner mega-fan and software engineer Quentin Lengele has taken his love for the film to a whole new level and digitally recreated protagonist Deckard’s apartment in VR for anyone to experience.
According to Engadget (via CBR), Deckard’s abode was built using the Unity engine and walks the viewer through each room, as seen in Blade Runner, and out onto the balcony to observe 2019’s Los Angeles cityscape. Fans of the movie will recognize several iconic pieces of architecture as they gaze out over L.A. The program is named “Blade Runner 9732” and pairs the VR experience with an auditory one as well — “Memories of Green” by Vangelis from the film’s original soundtrack accompany the viewer on their apartment tour.
Lengele built his “Blade Runner 9732” using only a first generation Oculus Rift developer kit, leaving the question of how well the experience will hold up on more updated versions of VR technology. It also stands to be a potential competitor for the “Blade Runner 2049” VR experience that is apparently in development according to the initial report, likely to coincide with the release of the second film this October.
The inclusion of details such as the Vangelis music, the careful crafting of the Los Angeles skyline in 2019, the in-continuity advertisements running throughout the experience, and exactly which types of liquor bottles populate Deckard’s home speaks highly of not only Lengele’s skill as a designer, but to the reverence with which he holds Blade Runner. “Blade Runner 9732” epitomizes what fans can do as a “labor of love.” The version that can be watched in the video above isn’t even the most up-to-date footage. This apparently comes from build 694, with the latest VR edition boasting: “finetune particle systems, city mod & texturing enhancement, new Police spinner animation & textures and better global fog settings.”
“Blade Runner 9732” is a tremendous example of participatory media. It is fan art taken to a new height. In the past, fans have created derivative works based on their favorite properties and then been brought on by the creators or production houses in order to harness their talents in an official capacity (fun fact: this is how the 8th season of Doctor Who got their title credits). It also highlights the cultural impact that Ridley Scott’s original has had to this very day.
However, it does once again blur the lines of participatory media and copyright infringement that seem to have studios jumpy. With the competing VR experience coming out from the official Blade Runner source, there is a chance that Lengele will have to keep “Blade Runner 9732” all to himself and out of the public’s hands.
Source: Engadget (via CBR)
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