Blade Runner (1997 Video Game) Plot, Guide, and Timeline

IMPORTANT: Blade Runner (1997) is a point-and-click detective game centered around a rookie Blade Runner named Ray McCoy. His actions are dictated by the player and the game features more than a few different endings based on the decisions players make. With that, the timeline can go in a few different directions. I will be sure to note these divergences so that you may account for them in the Blade Runner timeline. I will also note lore explorations and details that may not involve the plot of the game, but help to world-build for your convenience.
These notes will be indicated by color and specialized tags; either GAME NOTES or LORE NOTES or CHOICE:

Los Angeles, November 2019

Early in the 21st Century, THE TYRELL CORPORATION advanced Robot evolution into the NEXUS phase – a being virtually identical to a human – known as a Replicant.

The NEXUS 6 Replicants were superior in strength and agility, and at least equal in intelligence, to the genetic engineers who created them.

Replicants were used Off-world as slave labor, in the hazardous exploration and colonization of other planets.

After a bloody mutiny by a NEXUS 6 combat team in an Off-world colony, Replicants were declared illegal on earth – under penalty of death,

Special police squads – BLADE RUNNER UNITS – had orders to shoot to kill, upon detection, any trespassing Replicant.

This was not called execution.
It was called retirement.

– Blade Runner Game Intro

Prelude

Some time prior to the opening scene of the game, a group of Replicants hijack a Moonbus on its way to Earth. These Replicants are led by Clovis, a quiet, brooding, and poetic figure. Alongside him are Sadik, a quick-to-anger explosives expert, Dektora, a beautiful woman who becomes an exotic dancer, Zuben – a former soldier (not the brightest of the bunch), and Lucy Devlin, an optimistic and kind child.

Lucy works for Runciter, an owner of an animal shop and implied pedophile. Before Runciter can exploit Lucy, Clovis and one other enter the shop – seizing Runciter. Clovis compares himself to the rare breeds stocked in the shop before killing the animals, including a tiger. This animal-killing sparks an investigation by the LAPD of possible Replicant involvement.

GAME NOTE: The game determines significant random variables before starting – notably, whether Sadik, Dektora, or Lucy are human or Replicant. Dektora and Lucy are determined to be human or Replicant in Act III, and therefore one of them is ALWAYS a Replicant from the start. Zuben is always a Replicant.

Act I

LORE NOTE: Much information of characters and motivation comes from McCoy’s own monologues and noir-like narration – mirroring the original intention with Deckard in the theatrical version of Blade Runner.

GAME NOTE: McCoy can access his clue database at any time from the main menu. Here, he can review what he had said about a particular clue, review interviews, and analyze suspects with appropriate clues attached. Give it a spin and check out all the different ways to organize your evidence.

LAPD Headquarters

We are immediately introduced to Ray McCoy, a rookie Blade Runner working for the LAPD, who is called in by Edison Guzza, acting captain while Harry Bryant is on sick leave. Ray pilots a police-issued Spinner to the police station and has a conversation with Guzza. McCoy comments that Guzza is not the kind of person you would not want to turn your back to if you were less than a friend. The captain explains that Holden is hospitalized and Gaff is investigating the Tyrell break-in. A veteran Blade Runner named Crystal Steele is working undercover. McCoy is given the animal murder crime to investigate due to lack of available veterans.

LORE NOTE: There are a few key points to note here. Namely, Bryant is on sick leave for the duration of the game. This must mean the game’s events happen after Deckard is sent to go investigate Roy’s group, as is mentioned in Guzza’s comment about Gaff. It obviously happens after Holden is shot by Leon as well, given he is mentioned by Guzza. Guzza also mentions that Runciter lost “a billion chinyen’s worth”, giving a name to the currency used in 2019.

McCoy encounters Crystal Steele

McCoy returns to his Spinner, but he runs into veteran Blade Runner Crystal Steele on the landing pad. There is implied sexual tension between them – as well as aggressive competition in bagging Replicants. Steele is known to be the best shot on the force and quite ruthless. She brags about dressing up as a nurse to bag “a couple of 4’s”, implying that there are still runaway older models (or perhaps reminiscing an old retirement). Steele boasts about possessing a feeling (called “The Magic”) that helps her detect Replicants without a Voight-Kampff test – frightening considering how human Nexus 6 Replicants can appear to be.

LORE NOTE: The game features many themes (that are briefly explored but not in-depth in the movie) that appeared in Dick’s novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? McCoy comments that real animals became very profitable after most were killed during the Third Terran War. There are many fake animals, McCoy mentions, that are run using rechargeable batteries – but “no self respecting human would own one of those frauds.”

Runciter’s – Exterior

McCoy can investigate for the following information outside of Runciter’s:

  • A chrome from a piece of a car.
  • From Officer Leary, he learns that there are over 30 counts of animal murder, including a tiger cub. Runciter is in shock and quite angry. The officer claims there were two perps given the footprints found in the shop. He asks Leary to canvas the gathered crowd.
  • Paint flecks on a fire hydrant from a car.
  • After finding all clues from the interior, Officer Leary will tell Ray that a person said Lucy was hanging around a “big fat guy” last week. Another person heard a crash late last night and saw a black Sedan leaving the scene.

Runciter’s – Interior

McCoy enters Runciter’s. The shop is akin to abstract art; animal cages are bent open and the creatures inside are either shot or chopped up. Animal corpses lie here and there, and the security cameras have been shot. There are bloody footprints strewn about the interior. Runciter is pacing quickly, now appearing with a broken arm.


McCoy can learn the following information inside Runciter’s:

  • He judges from the distance between the prints more details about their suspects – both large, one dragging their right foot, and the other very graceful.
  • In his interview with Runciter, he can learn that Runciter believes Lucy Devlin to be behind the attack. He can get the discs that recorded security footage to be analyzed later. Runciter exclaims that they must have been Replicants because “who else would be capable of such barbaric acts?” Runciter maintains that he does not buy artificial animals – and even says he sold Governor Maurice Kolvig a prized animal. He tells McCoy that Lucy came from a reference up north from a guy named Oglebee. McCoy recieves this reference letter from Runciter.
  • McCoy can explore near Lucy’s desk and find a toy dog, as well as debris from Howie Lee’s, a sushi bar. He also takes a candy bar and proclaims “yuck!”
  • Shell casings can be picked up near the entrance.

Upon exiting Runciter’s McCoy will comment that it didn’t add up – this crime seemed more like an act of vengeance and more deliberate than Runciter made it seem. Having gathered what he came for, McCoy takes off in his Spinner to Howie Lee’s.

GAME NOTE: McCoy can, at anytime, return to the LAPD. If he does often enough, he can learn much more information from the lab technicians that can significantly alter the game. I will include these stops when they happen based on my play-through and other YouTuber’s play-throughs, which will be referenced at the end of this work.

LAPD Headquarters

McCoy takes the elevator to the Third Floor laboratory. He speaks with Dino, the Lab Tech. If McCoy returns and speaks to Dino, he can learn the following:

  • The animal DNA taken from Runciter’s returns at 50% real, 50% artificial – meaning Runciter was using both real and fake animals in his business. His claims of all real animals was to avoid embarrassment and to charge higher prices. The quality of the fake animals is so good, remarks McCoy, that they must have come from high level manufacturers – not like the “crap you see on Animoid Row”.
  • The wounds indicate most were shot point blank, and slice wounds indicating some sort of meat cleaver.
  • The black paint from the fire hydrant was from a ground car experiencing a head-on collision with the fire hydrant – unlikely to be a Spinner in VTOL mode, mentions Dino.
  • The chrome piece McCoy found was from a 1995 Pontiac.
  • The shell casings found near the entrance to Runciter’s likely belong to an Off-world military weapon.

McCoy heads to the second floor – Mainframe and Shooting Range. On arrival, there is a newscast playing:

“Violent street crime in the city rose again last year by a whopping 26% according to the latest figures from the Department of Justice. Governor Kolvig attributed the change to the dramatic increase in the number of Specials registered as city residents and promised a tough new set of standards for the City Immigration Bureau by next month.”

– LA Newscaster, 2019

LORE NOTE: “Specials” is in reference to the people who have been affected by either radiation damage or some genetic issue, such as J.F. Sebastian’s condition. This is a lovely reference to Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, in which people who are severely effected by environmental damage are considered lesser, especially Chicken-Heads – people so addled by poisonous conditions in the air that they are near insanity. It seems that the powers that be in Los Angeles in 2019 are attempting to keep these Specials out of the city proper and using them as scapegoats for an increase in violence.

GAME NOTE: McCoy can, at any time, upload his clues to the Mainframe on Level 2 of the LAPD Headquarters. This can help the player better cross-reference clues, as well as add clues from other Blade Runners or police officers. Be warned – this action could have unforeseen consequences in the future… He can also use the LAPD’s Esper Analysis machine to take a closer look at any photos or security pictures gathered in his investigation. Don’t forget that McCoy has one in his apartment as well, as we shall see.

Uploading clues now will allow you to receive Steele’s notes about a factory bombing.

GAME NOTE: Although you will receive a recording of the factory bombing, it will be 1 of 3 randomly given to you.

If McCoy analyzes the 2 photos from the Runciter Crime Scene, he learns the following:
First Photo:
– McCoy finds a sushi menu from Howie Lee’s on Lucy’s desk (useful if McCoy missed this while inside the shop). He receives a hard copy.
– Zooming in on Lucy Devlin will allow you to view her face as well as her anklet located on her left leg. He receives hard copies of both of these.
Second Photo:
– McCoy can find Clovis’ profile. “He looks familiar.” McCoy remarks. He receives a hard copy.
– He can find muddy boots, indicating he is from out-of-town. He receives a hard copy.
– He can also find the black sedan outside, confirming make and model of the car mentioned by the officer on duty at the crime scene or by Dino at the Lab. He receives a hard copy.
– Zooming in on the car’s license plate will nab you another hard copy.

GAME NOTE: McCoy can also access the Shooting Range on this floor – and can attempt to beat Steele’s high score and talk to one of Guzza’s old partners while he’s at it.

If McCoy goes to Lockup, he can speak with a man named Spencer Grigorian – a Replicant sympathizer. McCoy speaks with Spencer for while, and can administer a Vought-Kampff test, the results of which always come back as human.

LORE NOTE: This conversation with Spencer results in McCoy learning about C.A.R.S. (Citizens Against Replicant Slavery) – a protest group of humans who seek to end the poor treatment of Replicants.

McCoy can go back to Guzza on the Ground Floor (if he is there) and get some extra chinyen from him.

McCoy finishes up at the Headquarters and prepares to go to Howie Lee’s to see if he can track down this Lucy Devlin…

Howie Lee’s – Exterior

LORE NOTE: McCoy remarks that sushi became a luxury reserved for the elite after the Third Terran War because most sea life became irradiated. New-Sush – soil mixed with Off-world lichen – became the only option for the less fortunate.

McCoy arrives in the middle of a busy street – a neon dragon spits neon fire down at the customers of an obviously popular sushi den – run by Howie Lee. There is an odd man sitting at the counter wearing a bright red jacket. He claims he doesn’t have time to chat with McCoy. McCoy attempts to speak with a large chef in the back, but is directed to Howie Lee instead, busy serving his customers. The large chef tromps into the kitchen. McCoy asks how long the chef has worked here – which is only a month. His name is Zuben. After confirming that the sushi menus were from Lee’s joint, McCoy enters the kitchen.

Howie Lee’s – Kitchen

McCoy finds Zuben cooking more foot in a large pot. Approaching him, McCoy says that Howie Lee calls him a master chef – to which Zuben replies that the air is bad here and he should leave. If he asks about Lucy, Zuben denies knowing her. When McCoy asks him to take a “routine test” (the Voight-Kampff), Zuben laughs and tries to push the boiling contents of his pot on McCoy.

CHOICE:
1. McCoy can dodge this, and continue his chase.
2. McCoy is not quick enough and slips in the soup, allowing Zuben to escape the scene.

Howie Lee’s – Alleyways

McCoy, sprinting around corners with his sidearm drawn, follows Zuben to the entrance of an abandoned warehouse. As he turns one of the corners, he comes across a man picking through the trash – and can seriously screw up here.

CHOICE:
1. McCoy can put his gun away and ask this man if Zuben came this way, to which his response is “do ya have any chinyen?” McCoy can root around in the trash the man was going through and find:
– A license plate, very useful if you missed this clue in the security footage from Runciter’s.
2. McCoy can also shoot this man – leading to another choice of either leaving his body there and fessing up to Guzza later OR putting his body in the dumpster. If you do this, you can no longer get the license plate.

Abandoned Warehouse

McCoy enters the warehouse cautiously. Broken engine parts are illuminated by the light of the city breaking through an open window. There are stairs leading to… where?

At the top, McCoy enters a hallway. Red neon lights paint pictures on the walls to the right – not unlike the blood all over Runciter’s. McCoy walks down the hall slowly, but is surprised to hear someone drop down behind him – it is Zuben! For someone so big, he was as quiet as a cat when dropping down.

LORE NOTE: I like to think that this is in reference to all the cut material of Leon hiding in his apartment in the movie. He stretches his arms and legs way out and hides in plain sight.

McCoy now has to make a significant decision.

CHOICE:
1. McCoy retires Zuben, having to shoot him 6+ times to take him down.
2. McCoy puts his gun away and tells Zuben to get out of here, allowing him to escape. Zuben runs past McCoy and locks the door behind him.

If dead, McCoy can loot a photograph from Zuben revealing that he was a soldier in an Off-world battle.

LORE NOTE: Zuben is revealed to be a soldier, specifically “Lightning Squad, Rep Unit, Battle of the Gemini.” McCoy solemnly accepts that he has “retired a war hero, someone who fought for the freedom of the Off-world colonists. The poor guy kinda reminded me of one of those buffalo soldiers – blacks who had killed and died for America, yet weren’t allowed to drink alongside whites. And maybe, just maybe, the photograph validated his own existence.

McCoy goes back down the stairs only to find the man with the red jacket standing there – this is Gordo Frizz, a nightclub comedian. McCoy points his sidearm at him and tells him to take his business elsewhere. “An excellent idea!” Gordo says, and walks off back towards the alley. McCoy can now exit the warehouse the opposite direction, where a Spinner awaits him…

Howie Lee’s – Abandoned Warehouse Exterior

McCoy is greeted with a familiar face – Officer Gaff. Gaff praises him for “earning his stripes”. Gaff says that the Replicants McCoy is hunting hijacked a Moonbus and are roaming free. He will praise McCoy fro retiring Zuben and warn him his career will be over if he retires a human. If McCoy let Zuben go, Gaff will ask why he didn’t give Zuben the test before being so sure. McCoy leaves the area around Howie Lee’s – and heads back to either the LAPD to pick up his paycheck from Guzza, or head home.

GAME NOTE: If McCoy slipped in the soup and let Zuben escape – he will ambush McCoy outside his apartment. If McCoy is a Replicant Sympathizer, Zuben will escape and not appear for a while. McCoy can come clean to Guzza at the station about murdering the homeless man in the alley as well, if he made that decision. McCoy can also encounter Gaff on the rooftop of his apartment if he missed him outside the warehouse.

McCoy’s Apartment

McCoy steps into the elevator and picks “88f”. As he steps inside, he is greeted with a friendly bark:

“I lived with the best gal I’d ever seen. She was two now and she was full of life and love. She cost me about a year’s salary, but she was worth it. It was good to have someone warm nearby after completing a dirty job and the retirement swag from this case would go towards getting her a partner.”

McCoy, about Maggie

McCoy can feed Maggie, to which she responds quite well. His apartment is a mess – papers and trash strewn about, the kitchen is unkempt, and is exemplary of a typical single Blade Runner’s apartment. His Esper Machine sits on a coffee table and can be accessed in place of the LAPD Headquarters variant. McCoy steps out onto the balcony to reflect among the city lights and Spinners zooming by as the constant rain provides some sort of peace for the tired man. He says the following no matter your choices:

“Zuben was the first Nexus 6 I’d come up against. There was something in his eyes; an almost primordial desire to live. Most of the 3’s, 4’s, and 5’s I’d seen would just give up when you had ’em. But these 6’s… they were a whole other breed.”

McCoy on the balcony

GAME NOTE: McCoy can find a message on his machine when he returns – if he retired Zuben, Clovis leaves him a poetic message about wrath – to which McCoy responds that the city is no stranger to prank calls – but this guy sounded like an English teacher. If he spared Zuben, Lucy leaves him a message thanking him.

Either way, McCoy looks at his bed and quickly passes out – his first job completed.

Timeline Summary

  • Sometime during the events of the original Blade Runner, a group of suspected Replicants led by Clovis hijack a Moonbus and crash land on Earth.
  • One member of the group named Sadik blows up a factory, while Lucy works at an animal shop run by a man named Runciter, Dektora works as an exotic dancer, Zuben works as a cook, and Clovis tries to figure out how to prolong their lifespans.
  • In November of 2019, Clovis and Zuben enter Runciter’s and commit animal murder as vengeance against Runciter’s treatment of Lucy.
  • A rookie Blade Runner named Ray McCoy is tasked with solving the animal murder case, beginning AFTER Deckard and Gaff are tasked with exploring the break-in at Tyrell Corporation by Leon.
  • McCoy either murders Zuben or lets him escape.

Act II

References