The Blade Runner franchise is being turned into a tabletop role-playing game, and Free League Publishing is charged with bringing it to life. The first in a series of new products is expected in 2022. The announcement was made on Thursday.
The Blade Runner tabletop RPG will cast players in the role of Replicant Blade Runners, hard-boiled detectives on the hunt for artificial humans. The Core Rules book will help game masters to create storylines in and around Los Angeles in 2037, smack dab in between the events of the original film starring Harrison Ford and Blade Runner 2049.
“It is important for us to fully capture the Blade Runner experience and themes from all perspectives — even the city,” game director Tomas Härenstam said in a news release. “One of the most fascinating characterizations in Blade Runner is Los Angeles itself, and we want LA to act and react differently based upon your character, specialties, and agenda. Yet regardless of what you are, you’re always a Blade Runner first and foremost — the ultimate outsider who must walk alone in a complex city and system where everyone could be a threat and no choice is without its compromises or consequences.”
The lead writer on the new TTRPG is Joe LeFavi, the CEO of Genuine Entertainment. The brand management company has been central in unlocking multiple licenses for the tabletop, including Dune, Alien, and Altered Carbon. His brand management company’s work has directly led to the re-release of the 1979 strategy game Frank Herbert’s Dune, Dire Wolf Digital’s Dune: Imperium, and the Blade Runner: Enhanced Edition video game.
“It’s easy to get mesmerized by the noodle-slurping, blaster-shooting neon spectacle of it all, but Blade Runner is a retrofitted world with many layers, and at its core, it’s always been such an evocative yet relatable human drama to me,” LeFavi said in the news release. ”In classic noir fashion, it’s never afraid to challenge everyday people to make extraordinary choices and sacrifices, and really delve into that dark and delicious moral gray. That’s why Blade Runner continues to make such a distinct impact on pop culture — not just for its iconic vision of the future, but for its themes and the pursuit and perseverance of humanity at the heart of science fiction at its best.”
Free League has been on an incredible streak of late, pulling down multiple industry awards for its Alien, Tales From the Loop, and Symbaroum tabletop RPG franchises. This partnership with license holders Alcon Entertainment and Alcon Television Group opens up a huge new opportunity for the Swedish company. Also in its pipeline is the second edition of The One Ring, another TRPG based on the works of J.R.R. Tolkien, which is expected to be released to Kickstarter backers before the end of this year.